Love. It can be a tricky emotion. We are taught love is irrational, spontaneous and can make us do crazy things. It can difficult to tell what is healthy, head over heels, and what or when it becomes unhealthy. There are a series of questions we can take a look at to begin to assess the impact of a relationship.
Are you justifying their actions too much?
Do you find yourself making excuses to yourself or others for your partner’s behaviors? Or maybe you find yourself in an endless battle of justifications. If you are finding that every time you are “explaining away” behaviors “oh, he’s just having a rough week again” “well, she doesn’t get like usually, unless she’s drunk” but drunk happens every night at 8pm, then perhaps it’s time to take a step back. What would it mean to you and the relationship if you were to look at your partner without the excuses? There’s a big difference between having a stressful day at the office and coming home grumpy verses having a permanently snappy partner who always dismisses your feelings.
Is it hurting your self-esteem?
Do you reminisce about “the old me” or maybe you wonder where your voice went? Does your relationship hurt more than it supports? Ask yourself what is it about this relationship that is hurting your self-worth. Are you being put down or ignored? As people, our brains are physically wired to connect. We process physical pain and social rejection in the same brain pathways, so when we are lonely, the hurt becomes all too real.
Is it physically, verbally, or financially hurting you?
Does your partner use their fists or bullying as leverage in the relationship? If you notice your partner is hitting you, using love as a means of manipulation ( “If you REALLY loved me, you would do this for me”) these are red flags of an abusive relationship. It is important to remember abuse does not just include hitting. If you are in an abusive relationship, please seek out professional help or call a domestic violence hotline such as 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). Other red flags of being in an abusive relationship can include (but certainly are NOT limited to) one partner isolating the other from any previous support systems, friends or family members, in addition to controlling finances and monitoring/dictating who you are and are not allowed to speak to. Love should never hurt physically, nor should it prevent you from reaching your own personal goals or make you unsafe.
Is this meeting my needs?
Yes, we all must compromise on some things. Be it the endless compromising with your alarm clock, or compromising on eating dinner at that place you hate but your partner likes so much. What is important it to take a look and see if your basic relational needs are being met- what do you need from a relationship ( respect, affection, recognition, someone who values and reflects your morals) and is this being met?
Love, relationships, friendships, families, none of these are seamlessly easy and all take effort from both parties. If you feel you are making unhealthy allowances for your significant other, or find yourself in an unhealthy relationship, please know it is never too late to start putting yourself and your wellbeing first again.
National Domestic Hotline (Toll Free 24/7) 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).
Alexis has been a part time contributor to the online website Patientworthy which is dedicated to education and awareness of rare and serious diseases. Links to articles written by Alexis: