Healthy and happy relationships help us feel better about ourselves and our place in the world. Unhealthy relationships can make us feel unhappy and unsafe. If something doesn't feel right in your relationship or the relationship of someone you know, you’re not alone. The truth is many people find themselves in hurtful, unsafe, or violent relationships at some point. Anyone can find themselves in an unhealthy relationship, no matter their age, gender, or sexual orientation.
Because relationships exist on a spectrum, it can be hard to tell when a behavior crosses the line from healthy to unhealthy or even abusive. Use these warning signs of abuse to see if your relationship is going in the wrong direction:
- Your partner is checking your cell phone or Facebook without permission
- He or she is constantly putting you down
- They have extreme jealousy or insecurity
- They have an explosive temper
- Your partner isolates you or doesn’t let you freely see your family or friends
- They make false accusations
- They try to control many aspects of your life like where you go, what you wear, or who you hang out with
- Dishonesty. He or she lies to you or keeps information from you.
- He or she often disrespects you. They might make fun of your opinions and interests or make you feel less worthy than you are.
- They are physically hurting you in any way
- They are pressuring or forcing you to have sex
Ending an unhealthy or abusive relationship is not like ending a healthy one. Your abusive partner may not accept the break up or respect your boundaries. They may try to control you through guilt trips, threats or insults. It may be very difficult to have a peaceful or mutual breakup with an abusive partner. Just know that as long as YOU are ok with the decision, it’s ok if your partner is not. If you’re thinking of ending your relationship, consider these tips:
- If you don’t feel safe, don’t break up in person. It may seem cruel to break up over the phone or by message but it may be the safest way.
- If you break up in person, do it in a public place. Have friends or family wait nearby. Try to take a cell phone with you.
- Don’t try to explain your reasons for ending the relationship more than once. There may be nothing you can say that will make your ex happy.
- Let your friends or parents know you are ending your relationship, especially if you think your ex will come to your house or confront you when you’re alone.
- If your ex does come to your house when you’re alone, don’t go to the door.
- Trust yourself. If you feel afraid, you probably have a good reason.
- Ask for help. Talk to someone you trust and whose advice is valuable to you.
- If you’re in an unhealthy relationship, always know that you’re not alone and you deserve better. If you have an emotionally, physically, or sexually abusive partner, know that you are not at fault.