Monthly Archives: October 2016
We talk a lot about the importance of trust and setting boundaries in a healthy relationship. Your boundaries help define what’s important to you and help you feel safe. It’s really important for partners to talk about and be aware of each other’s boundaries, and to be able to trust that the other person won’t cross or ignore them.
When certain boundaries are crossed in a relationship, it’s sometimes called “cheating.” What people consider cheating can be a range of things; it’s really about what each person considers a violation of trust and boundaries. You and your partner may decide that one of your boundaries is not seeking out or forming sexual relationships with people outside of your relationship. If that type of physical boundary is violated, it’s considered cheating.
Some people also believe that it’s possible for a partner to cheat emotionally. The idea of emotional cheating can be a little more complicated. Emotional cheating implies that one partner has created and pursued a deep, emotional connection or emotional bond with someone who is not their partner by sharing certain things (feelings, activities) with them.
At loveisrespect, we hear from people who believe that their partners are cheating “emotionally” because they have deep or important relationships with others. This idea of emotional cheating can have strong roots in the belief that once someone has a romantic partner, that person should be the priority over everyone else and that relationship must be the deepest and most intimate. But this belief is problematic for a few different reasons.
To start, it is important to keep in mind that every relationship is different, and every person is comfortable sharing different things with different people. It’s healthy for people who are in a romantic relationship to also pursue and maintain deep friendships with others who are outside of the relationship. Depending on the person, that could be a great friendship with a co-worker, a strong relationship with family members or a friendly connection with a teammate. In a healthy relationship, it’s totally okay for someone to prioritize different people at different times. If a romantic partner takes issue with this and believes that they must be the only deep connection in their partner’s life, that is a red flag because it can lead to behaviors that isolate their partner.
This belief about emotional cheating can also stem from jealousy or insecurity, as oftentimes some people don’t believe their partners should have any kind of relationship with other people they could potentially be attracted to (for example, a girl in a same-sex relationship might not think her girlfriend should be friends with other girls). However, trying to control who your partner talks to or spends time with is an unhealthy behavior that can become abusive. A healthy relationship is built on trust, and trust is a choice we make. We either choose to trust someone or we don’t. When trust is the foundation of a relationship, those who are in the romantic relationship believe that their partner will choose to respect the boundaries that have been previously agreed upon, regardless of who they are around. Jealousy and insecurities may crop up from time to time for some people, but they are not excuses to try and control what a partner does. If a romantic partner is using their personal insecurities as a reason to try to dictate who their partner is allowed to build friendships with, that is also a red flag.
If you’re feeling uncomfortable about something in your relationship, you have the right to bring it up in a respectful way. Try to use “I” statements (like, “I feel uncomfortable when…” or “I would like for us to…”) rather than attacking, accusing or making demands. It’s important for this to be a conversation; you and your partner should feel free and safe to express your feelings. It’s also important to think about and discuss each other’s needs and boundaries. Remember: a healthy boundary is one that protects and respects a person; an unhealthy boundary seeks to control or harm another person.
Both partners in a healthy relationship should feel free to live their own lives, and that includes having friends or forming emotional connections with other people outside the relationship. If you feel like you can’t trust your partner and need to check up on them, or if you feel extremely jealous of their friends and how they spend their time, then you may want to reconsider whether the relationship is right for you.
Being raised in a religious home can have some powerful effects on your life and relationships. Religious institutions can provide moral and ethical education, emotional support and social interactions. Often, they also teach specific ideas about gender and the types of relationships that are “acceptable” and “not acceptable.” Unfortunately, sometimes these ideas lead to attitudes of control and dominance in relationships, and those aren’t healthy parts of any relationship, regardless of your religious affiliation.
These ideas stretch across multiple religious traditions and denominations, and are often based on belief in and adherence to religious texts and ideals. However, prooftexting, (the practice of using one part of a text while ignoring others to support one’s position), valuing one ideal of a faith above others and mistranslations of original texts help make the case that excerpts of religious texts cannot be viewed on their own. Instead, they must be more deeply examined within the context of the Holy Book and religious teaching so that religion can be a source of comfort and empowerment in navigating intimate relationships.
In an abusive relationship, one partner believes they have the right to control the other in various ways. This might include telling them how they should speak, who they’re allowed to spend time with or how they should dress. An abusive partner might use a victim’s religious beliefs to guilt them into feeling like they deserve to have these decisions made for them, or that they are not being a good follower of their faith if they don’t agree to their partner’s decisions. However, the Higher Power of most religions gives people freedom of choice. Many major religions teach that followers should strive to model their lives after their Higher Power, which is partly accomplished by treating each other as the Higher Power treats them. That means not controlling your partner’s choices just as the Higher Power does not control anyone. If your partner attempts to control you, it’s important to think about the fact that they are not modeling their behavior after the Higher Power.
Healthy relationships include open and honest communication. However, in an unhealthy or abusive relationship, one partner may try to use religious beliefs to control how and when the other communicates. Interpretations of some religious texts place more value on men’s words and opinions than on those of women or other marginalized groups. These ideas can be reinforced by the fact that the majority of leadership positions or visible roles in religious institutions are often restricted by gender or other identities. These beliefs can also be used to create an environment where one partner believes they are entitled to power, and the other is made to feel like their thoughts and concerns aren’t important. However, research has shown that these ideas are the result of mistranslations and ignoring some parts of religious texts. It’s important to separate religious institutions and human interpretations of text and symbolism from your own experience of the Higher Power, as both are often limited. Additionally, many religions encourage individuals to feel like they can communicate with the Higher Power about anything. In a healthy relationship, both partners should also feel they can do the same with each other.
Another decision often influenced by religion is the type of clothing a person wears. Clothing choice is a very important part of one’s personal expression of themselves. For some people, the way they choose to dress is a representation of their commitment to their faith. Others may choose to dress in ways that are not direct representations of their faith, but that make them feel most comfortable, which can be connected to their religious upbringings. All of these choices are normal and valid. What’s important in healthy relationships is that each person feels free to make this choice for themselves and does not feel forced into them or punished by their partner for making any particular choice.
Religion can be such an important part of many people’s lives. Faith centers can be a source of comfort and guidance, a place to make friends, a place to become more educated about your religion’s history, and even a place to meet a partner who shares your beliefs. But religion should never be used to control or abuse another person. Abuse is never okay or acceptable, regardless of your religious beliefs.
In a solid relationship, openness is of the utmost importance. When you impart successfully, you comprehend your accomplice better and make your relationship more grounded. When you can resolve clashes effectively, you are building up a solid, develop relationship.
While strife is ordinary, it can likewise be an indication that parts of your relationship aren’t working. In the event that your contention depends on which motion picture to see, what companions to hang out with or who ought to do the dishes, then utilize the tips beneath to help settle these contentions strongly
- Set Boundaries. Everyone deserves to be treated with respect — even during an argument. If your partner curses at you, calls you names or ridicules you, tell them to stop. If they don’t, walk away and tell them that you don’t want to continue arguing right now.
- Find the Real Issue. Typically, arguments happen when one partner’s wants are not being met. Try to get to the heart of the matter. If your partner seems needy, maybe they are just feeling insecure and need your encouragement. If you’re angry that your partner isn’t taking out the trash, maybe you’re really upset because you feel like you do all the work around the house. Learn to talk about the real issue so you can avoid constant fighting.
- Agree to Disagree. If you and your partner can’t resolve an issue, sometimes it’s best to drop it. You can’t agree on everything. Focus on what matters. If the issue is too important for you to drop and you can’t agree to disagree, then maybe you’re not really compatible.
- Compromise When Possible. Easy to say but hard to do, compromising is a major part of conflict resolution and any successful relationship. So your partner wants Chinese food and you want Indian? Compromise and get Chinese tonight, but Indian next time you eat out. Find a middle ground that can allow both of you to feel satisfied with the outcome.
- Consider Everything. Is this issue really important? Does it change how the two of you feel about each other? Are you compromising your beliefs or morals? If yes, it’s important that you really stress your position. If not, maybe this is a time for compromise. Also, consider your partner’s arguments. Why are they upset? What does the issue look like from their point of view? It is unusual for your partner to get this upset? Does your partner usually compromise? Are you being inconsiderate?
Still arguing? If you try these tips but still argue constantly, consider whether the relationship is right for both of you. You both deserve a healthy relationship without constant conflict.
Dating misuse is an example of dangerous practices used to apply power and control over a dating accomplice. While we characterize dating brutality as an example, that doesn’t mean the primary occurrence of mishandle is not dating savagery. It just perceives that dating brutality as a rule includes a progression of oppressive practices over a course of time.
Warning Signs of Abuse
Because relationships exist on a spectrum, it can be hard to tell when a behavior crosses the line from healthy to unhealthy or even abusive. Use these warning signs of abuse to see if your relationship is going in the wrong direction:
- Checking your cell phone or email without permission
- Constantly putting you down
- Extreme jealousy or insecurity
- Explosive temper
- Isolating you from family or friends
- Making false accusations
- Mood swings
- Physically hurting you in any way
- Telling you what to do
- Pressuring or forcing you to have sex