I have written many articles about signs of abuse to be aware of and most other articles seem to have a negative tone to them. I decided this week that we would look at some signs of what a good, healthy relationship should include.
1. I think the most important to be mindful of is respect. Your new partner respects the fact that you are a separate and independent person. You are treated as an equal, not less or superior to your partner. He/She respects the limits or boundaries you set and honors your right to privacy.
2. He/She wants to hear how you are feeling, your opinions, and interests without making you feel insignificant. He/She wants to be a part of your life and will make an effort to meet your family and friends. They should also be willing to open this side of their life to you as well.
3. Your partner asks for your opinion with decisions that may affect you. He will consider them, knows they are legitimate, and values them even if you have a disagreement.
4. He/She is emotionally supportive when you are having a problem or some kind of stress in your life. He/She does not use the weakness or secrets you confide to manipulate or take advantage of you. You should not be made to feel guilty about your feelings.
5. He/She wants a sexual relationship with you that you both can feel comfortable with.
6. When there is an argument or disagreement, your partner is more interested in finding a resolution you both can come to rather then being the “winner” of the argument.
7. He/She encourages you to be successful and achieve your goals. He/She is proud of the accomplishments you have made, not threatened by them or jealous of what you have done.
8. He/She can deal with their negative emotions without threatening physical harm to you, him/herself, or anyone close to you.
9. He/She is financially responsible.
10. Your partner should have a separate identity from you but is also able and willing to share himself and life with a partner.
After going through an abusive relationship, you may feel you will never be able to allow yourself to open up to a new lover or possible life mate ever again. Most experts will tell you to give yourself at least a year to heal before jumping into another relationship. This will allow you time to heal yourself and get on the right track of life.
If you do become interested in someone else, go slowly. Open up and share what you feel is appropriate about your past so he/she knows where you have been. They will also be aware of what might cause a flash back in your mind and, hopefully, help you work through it.
I was fearful that after all I had been through, I wouldn’t know what a healthy relationship should be like. I keep a print out of the above list in my journal so I can refer to it when I need it. I encourage you to do the same.