Are you someone who looks forward to Valentine's Day or someone that dreads it? There are different times in our lives when this day and celebrating love can be so exciting, or it can be heartbreaking and hurtful.
Whatever this day may look like for you, its good to know what healthy relationships and unhealthy relationships consist of and how to navigate them. Because even when we put dating relationships aside, we are all faced with different relationships on a regular basis like friendships, family, coworkers and more.
INFATUATION VS. LOVE
Something important to differentiate if you're just beginning to date, is the feeling of infatuation versus the action of love.
Infatuation is intense, but typically a short-lived passion for someone or loving the thought of someone. It's not necessarily knowing or accepting a person for who they are. Some examples of infatuation statements can be..
-"He is so perfect!"
-"I would do anything to keep you, no matter what!"
-"It was love at first sight!"
-"He is my whole life!"
Love, on the other hand, can take more work is a choice to show loving actions on a daily basis. Love is offering concern, comfort and encouragement. Love is putting others' needs before you won. Love is both a physical and emotional expression. Some examples of love statements can be..
-"We are open and honest with each other."
-"He doesn't compromise my values and standards."
-"He trusts me and encourages my other interests."
SIGNS OF HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS
Regardless of where you may be in the dating world, knowing what makes up a healthy relationship and the characteristics to look for is important in navigating all relationships.
Qualities like kindness, respect and honesty are essentials for a healthy relationship. The other person should make you feel good about yourself and positive about your relationship, and you should feel free to express your feelings without retribution.
Some other characteristics of a healthy relationship should include:
-You like to spend time together
-You care about what the other person enjoys
-You feel safe to be yourself
-When you fight, you can talk about it
-You are willing to say "I'm sorry"
-Both of you are flexible to changes
-You have similar ideas about what's important in life
-You are honest with each other
SIGNS OF UNHEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS
On the other hand, being aware of what an unhealthy relationship looks like and recognizing abusive behavior is also important as you navigate your different relationships in life.
A relationship can be unhealthy when it involves mean, disrespectful, controlling or abusive behavior. When another person uses verbal insults, mean words, gets physical by hitting or slapping, or forces someone into sex - it's a sign of verbal, emotional and/or physical abuse.
An unhealthy relationship and potentially abusive relationships can look like...
-Demanding access to your phone and social media
-Controlling what you wear, eat or do
-Casting blame for things you didn't do or not taking responsibility for own faults
-Statements like "No one else will love you like I do."
-Feeling guilt for spending time away from partner
-Constant fear of upsetting the other person
-Belittled by other person's insults or actions
YOU ARE WORTHY
No matter your relationship status, know that you are worthy. You are worthy of love, kindness and respect. At the minimum, we hope you can celebrate that this Valentine's Day and perhaps spread that message to someone else who may need to hear it.
If you find yourself in a potential unhealthy/abusive relationship, please reach out to someone and know there are options available to get help. You can contact us at 712-224-2000 and we would be happy to get you connected to the resources you need.
Her Health Women's Center also offers Healthy Relationships Education for students in Siouxland. For more information, contact our Director of Healthy Relationships, Stacy, at email@example.com.