Being in a relationship is exhilarating. The lulls of everyday life are replaced with entertaining memories of your crush’s smile, style, and the prospect of seeing them again. You plan your schedule around them because you believe integrating them into your life is what will make you happiest. But what if you aren’t sure if your relationship is healthy? What if deep down you knew that you weren’t overreacting, and that something could be seriously wrong? I decided to explore that topic when I met with a psychologist at the UCF Counseling Center.
Here are some basic red flags to look out for. In an unhealthy relationship there is…
- Name calling that is condescending
- Pressure to make a drastic change
- Conflict between you and your loved ones
- Constant bickering on an almost daily basis
- Pointing out differences to hurt the other’s feelings
- Controlling the beliefs of each other
- Abusive language
- Invalidation of feelings
Some groundbreaking advice I learned from the Counseling Center included ideas centered not around the partner, but of yourself as an individual. I will share with you some ideas that sparked a change in my outlook on how to approach a relationship and life.
- Safe: In a healthy relationship, both partners are able to effectively communicate, especially when it is of great importance to one partner. The environment is “safe” as in there is trust within the relationship that anything could be discussed without fear of ridicule.
- Identity: Including a partner in your life is like adding sprinkles to a fabulous ice-cream. You have your own interests, life goals and beliefs, and they have theirs. Although you do not need a relationship to be happy, this companionship should be of positive value. You are your own identity and it’s wonderful to share life with eachother.
- Self-worth: “He is not the sun. He is great, but he is not the sun.” If you’ve recently broken up, watch this: Your life will be a thousand times better if you have a great relationship with YOURSELF! Your partner is not in charge of your happiness, but should be promoting your growth and not hindering you. Love yourself, you are a wonderful person to be with. You deserve happiness and a good self-image.
- Thoughts: Sometimes your thoughts may be the one damaging your relationship. Should you find yourself overanalyzing what “Joey” is doing, hanging out with Suzie, or feeling insecure about whether you can measure up to being the only one for your partner. Know that you can redirect your thoughts in your favor. I am not advising for you to ignore hurtful verbal/physical abuse, or accept rude comments as OK. Simply accept what you are thinking and ponder if it is true or false.
- Feelings: Your feelings are NEVER wrong. It is okay to feel what you feel because it is natural for everyone. In fact, the psychologist suggested that your feelings can be a product of your thoughts. For example: If you are feeling sad, maybe explore that further by analyzing your thoughts, responsibilities and environment. Perhaps you are sad because your significant other planned a weekend with his/her buddies and didn’t include you. Instead of allowing yourself to spend your day with these feelings, realize that it could be because you think your partner forgot you, which may not be the case. Maybe you are currently alone and so you feel lonely. The best thing to do is to take control of your outlook and choose to be happy.
Please contact these organizations for more resources:
The National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233
The University of Central Florida Counseling Center: 407-823-2811