According to an article by Charity Julius in the August 2003 issue of Educator’s Report, a publication of Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin’s Community Education Department, healthy relationships make people happier, ease stress, are realistic and flexible, and use fair fighting techniques. The first step, however, is recognizing the difference between health and unhealthy relationship. Unhealthy relationships come in many different forms, and may have begun “positively and lovingly.” Unhealthy relationships generally involve some form of abuse. Abuse can negatively affect your life, making you feel trapped, worthless, or scared, among other emotions. Different forms of abuse include physical abuse, emotional abuse, isolation, intimidation, and sexual abuse. Watch for the following warning signs that may indicate an abusive relationship: “extreme jealousy, controlling behavior, quick involvement (the relationship moves forward too fast), mood swings, or explosive anger.” By comparing characteristics of healthy verses unhealthy relationships, and choosing only to enter into only healthy relationships, you will help yourself life a happier and safer life.
Nine Suggestions for Healthy Relationships
(List taken from Educator’s Report, August 2003)
- Keep expectations realistic – Accept your partner as he/she is.
- Talk with each other – Ask questions, share information, and be ready to listen.
- Be flexible – Allow room for growth and change.
- Take care of yourself – Remember your needs are important, too.
- Be dependable – Follow through with plans and promises and allow your partner to trust you.
- Fight fair – Don’t just criticize or assume things, stay with the topic, and apologize when you’re wrong.
- Show your warmth – Express your emotional warmth and let your partner know how you feel.
- It’s a process – Healthy relationships can be learned and practiced and will keep getting better.
- Be yourself – Be honest, be true. Healthy relationships are made of real people, not images.
**If you believe you are in an abusive or unhealthy relationship and feel that you need help getting out of it, or if you have questions about the relationship you are in, please contact Family Advocates at (608) 348-5995 or toll free at 1-800-924-2624.
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