Category Archives: relationship
We first learn about loving and caring relationships from our families. Family is defined as a domestic group of people with some degree of kinship – whether through blood, marriage, or adoption.
Ideally each child is nurtured, respected, and grows up to care for others and develop strong and healthy relationships. This does not mean that it is always easy to make and keep friends; it just means that we share the goal of having strong relationships.
“Family” includes your siblings and parents, as well as relatives who you may not interact with every day, such as your cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and stepparents.
These are probably the people you are closest to and with whom you spend the most time. Having healthy relationships with your family members is both important and difficult.
Families in the 21st century come in all shapes and sizes: traditional, single parent, blended (more than one family together in the same house), and gay and lesbian parents – just to name a few. No matter the “type” of family you have, there are going to be highs and lows – good times and bad.
Many times, however, families become blocked in their relationships by hurt, anger, mistrust, and confusion. These emotions are natural and normal, and few families do not have at least a few experiences with them. The worst time for most families, is during a divorce.
By making a few simple changes in the way we look at the world and deal with other people, it is possible to create happier, more stable relationships. Families need to be units of mutual caring and support; they can be sources of lifelong strength for all individuals.
It is never too late to begin the process of improving family relationships – even if they are already of good quality – by developing some simple skills.
Whereas in other situations you can step back and assess the relationship, it is often hard to do this with your family. Your family may be a constant presence in your life, so when an argument or issue arises, it may seem impossible to handle.
Remember that communication is key to resolving conflict. While it may seem that your siblings are constantly present to annoy you or boss you around, they are also there to communicate.
To begin a new relationship on the healthiest footing, there are three simple aspects to consider.
First, give some thought to prediction. What sort of relationship would predictably yield a positive outcome for you and the other person?
Some partners will be predictably poor choices, while others will be amazing choices. If the prediction is weak from the get-go, it’s wise to hold out for a better match.
Suppose you meet someone who tells you about her past relationships, and each one of them was a trainwreck that ended with hurt and resentment. Would you want to get involved with such a person, knowing that you’ll be next? If you’re in the mood for some drama, then go for it. Otherwise you may want to look for a more sensible partner who begins and ends relationships honestly and compassionately and who has a track record of choosing decent partners who’ve treated her well.
Some people won’t date anyone without a stable income since they know from experience where that leads. Some people won’t date anyone who eats fast food every day since the long-term health problems are predictable. Some people won’t date anyone with an overly clingy family since the boundary issues and privacy violations are predictable.
It’s wise to base your predictions on a person’s past behavior and circumstances, not on what they say they’ll do. Be careful about being overly influenced by someone’s words. Pay more attention to their long-term pattern of actions.
If you like to travel, and you meet someone who’s been traveling regularly, it’s predictable that you may travel together if you get involved. If you’re a long-term vegan, and you meet a fellow long-term vegan, it’s predictable that you’d reinforce your vegan lifestyle together. If you like to drink a lot, and you meet someone similar, it’s predictable that you could be alcoholics together.
Predictions aren’t always accurate of course, but do pay attention to them. We make predictions automatically, but we don’t always listen to them, much to our detriment.
Second, think about which desires you’d like to explore with a new partner.
To filter for your best matches, share your most important desires as early as possible. Don’t be afraid of turning people off. If someone isn’t compatible, then sharing your desires will indeed turn them off, and that’s a good thing. It shows respect for everyone’s time. Don’t jerk people around by encouraging them to invest in you if you’re unlikely to be a good match for them.
When you share your desires with someone who isn’t compatible, you’ll usually get a cold or indifferent response. But when you do this with someone who is compatible, you may find yourself talking for hours and not even noticing the time pass because you’re both so in tune with each other. Don’t deny yourself this delightful situation by wasting time hiding your desires or projecting false desires.
Invite the other person to share their desires with you. Do those desires align well with what you’d like to explore? If not, move on, so each of you can find more compatible matches. Otherwise you can talk about what you’d like to explore together, and if it’s possible to do so, dive into one of those explorations right away. There’s nothing quite so thrilling as finding a good match and running with it as you explore together.
Third, look for mutual empowerment.
Just as you wouldn’t want someone draining your energy, you wouldn’t want to be a drain on someone else either. One of the simplest ways to prevent that is with daily exercise. It’s a mood booster and is one of the best depression cures ever discovered. If that isn’t enough, then clean up your diet, and do some serious detoxing, so you’ll have extra energy to give and so you won’t be vamping off other people.
When you make yourself strong as an individual, you’ll add strength to your relationships, and you’ll be worthy of strong partners who can make you stronger in return. You’ll also be less likely to succumb to a draining relationship because you won’t tolerate such imbalance and unfairness in your life.
It’s wonderful to have a partner’s love. It’s also wonderful to have a partner that helps you grow, which is love in action.
Ultimately people leave relationships for fairly basic reasons. The circumstances may appear complex, but there are really just three primary reasons that people opt out:
- They predict that life will be better if they leave.
- They want to stop the relationship from interfering with more important desires.
- The relationship is weakening them, and they want to stop the energy drain and grow stronger.
You may recognize within these ideas the three core principles of growth:
- Truth – recognizing and accepting the truth that the relationship is stagnant or declining
- Love – feeling drawn to explore and fulfill greater desires
- Power – needing to grow stronger and to feel empowered
Perhaps the simplest way of stating this is that people leave when they perceive that leaving is the intelligent choice.
Remaining in a relationship with a prediction of stagnation or decline is unintelligent.
Remaining in a relationship that prevents you from exploring and fulfilling your desires is unintelligent.
Remaining in a relationship that drains and disempowers you is unintelligent.
Any one of these reasons is enough to make leaving the intelligent choice. Two or three needn’t be present. But generally speaking, if one reason is present, the others are likely to be present to some degree as well. A relationship with negative prediction and/or the quashing of one’s desires is sure to be disempowering, for instance.
All of these, of course, are judgment calls. They all require the assignment of meaning. Different people will make different assessments with respect to these ideas, but if you understand these core reasons to stay or go, you can apply them to better effect in your own relationship journey.
Relationship cheating is a very common occurrence. If you haven’t experienced it yet, there’s a good chance you eventually will. In this article we’ll explore how often cheating occurs, how to define cheating, signs of cheating, and how to deal with it.
Although I personally prefer non-monogamy, I opted to write this article using a monogamous perspective since that seems to be the more popular relationship paradigm. Given the frequency of cheating in monogamous relationships, it would appear that true monogamy isn’t as common as people would have each other believe.
Frequency of Cheating
I found it difficult to track down good cheating statistics. This seems to be partly because people have a hard time being completely honest, even when surveyed in ways that safeguard their anonymity. There’s still some shame and guilt associated with admitting the truth, even in private. So instead of sharing a bunch of detailed stats that might be wrong, I’ll simply share the big picture elements.
Slightly more than half of all married people will cheat on their spouses at some point in their lives. Men apparently cheat more often than women, but the gap isn’t huge.
Most of the time cheating does occur, the other spouse doesn’t know about it, with women being in the dark slightly more often than men.
That’s if you’re married. If you’re in a committed relationship but aren’t married, then I’d imagine that the odds of cheating are even higher. Partly I say that because cheating is more common when you’re younger and becomes less likely as you age.
The big game-changer here is the Internet, which makes even 10-year old stats seem very dated now. Recents surveys suggest that most people have flirted online at one point or another, that when people spend time in chat rooms they’re usually motivated by romantic or sexual interest, and that about a third of adults have had real sex as a result of a connection that began online.
In the USA alone, tens of millions of people cheat on their primary relationship partners. Cheating is very, very common. Most of the time when people cheat, they hide it from their partners, and they usually succeed in doing so, not because they’re so great at keeping secrets but mainly because their partners fail to recognize and acknowledge the telltale signs.
Suffice it to say that cheating is rampant.
Statistically speaking, if you get involved in committed relationships or marriage, the odds are better than 50-50 that you’re eventually going to cheat at some point in your life. And you’ll probably hide it from your primary partner, and you’ll probably get away with it.
Of course you can decline to join this group if you so desire. However, there’s still a good chance you’ll end up in a relationship with someone else who’s a member, and you probably won’t know. Or you’ll know, but you’ll retreat into denial about it.
What exactly constitutes cheating? Not everyone defines cheating the same way. Society may condition us to think of cheating a certain way, but deep down we may not feel the same.
Have a heart to heart talk with your partner, and define what you would consider cheating. Your answers don’t have to be the same.
In a solid relationship, both accomplices can express their emotions and regard each other’s limits about sex. You shouldn’t need to have intercourse to keep your accomplice. You may feel good kissing or clasping hands however not have any desire to go any further. That is alright.
Choosing whether you need to engage in sexual relations or when you ought to is a choice you ought to make when it feels ideal for YOU. In a sound relationship, your accomplice regards your choices, notwithstanding when they don’t care for them.
In the event that you are contemplating when to engage in sexual relations, remember:
You ought to feel great with your choice.
Converse with your accomplice about safe sex rehearses, such as getting tried for STIs and considering conception prevention alternatives.
Be straightforward with yourself and your accomplice. In case you’re not prepared, that is alright and your accomplice ought to regard it.
On the off chance that something alarms you or makes you feel uncomfortable, you can state no whenever.
You have the privilege to talk straightforwardly and genuinely about your apprehensions, stresses and sentiments.
On the off chance that your accomplice tries to debilitate or weight you into having intercourse, it can be an indication of an undesirable relationship. You merit better.
Regardless of to what extent you’ve been with somebody or how often you’ve accomplished something, you have the privilege to state no at whenever for any reason.
In the event that somebody won’t take no for an answer and over and over weights you verbally, candidly or physically it can be an indication of mishandle.
You have control over your body, and nobody else has the privilege to let you know what to do with it.
Why is It So Complicated?
Engaging in sexual relations can raise the power of feelings that individuals feel for each other — whether you’re in a genuine or easygoing relationship. On occasion, this height is a decent and charming thing, however in some cases it exacerbates a difficult circumstance. It’s vital that you feel prepared and certain about your choices about having intercourse.
Regardless of the possibility that you are in a sound relationship and might want to engage in sexual relations with your accomplice, a few convictions or desires may settle on this choice more convoluted. You and the general population in your life may have diverse thoughts regarding when or what kind of sexual action is okay and what is definitely not.
Here are a couple ways this may happen:
Your family does not permit you to date, not to mention have intercourse and there is a hazard they would discover.
In your way of life or religion, it is normal that you hold up until marriage. You may concur, differ or be scrutinizing this conviction.
You feel that your companions or associates won’t concur with your choice and you think about their conclusions.
You may feel like you’re picking between what you need and what others need, yet you may likewise share a portion of similar convictions. Simply recollect that you are fit for settling on your own choices and making your own particular arrangement of qualities.
Figure out how to Communicate
Just you comprehend what’s at the forefront of your thoughts, so unless you communicate, the other individual is just left speculating. Correspondence is constantly key to a sound relationship, and the physical piece of it is the same. It can be uncomfortable being totally open with regards to discussing sex, even with a sweetheart or beau. Still, it is vital to push past that and let them comprehend what you like, what you don’t care for or in the event that you would prefer not to go any further. Urge your accomplice to be open also on the grounds that it takes practice and persistence.
Figuring out how to listen is similarly, and potentially significantly more, fundamental to solid correspondence. When you demonstrate the other individual that what they say matters to you, they will probably put stock in you and hear you out consequently. Sex and closeness are emphatically influenced by how both individuals feel, so it truly pays off to make a positive environment.
Break Out of the Box
At the point when individuals are not certain acceptable behavior in a specific circumstance or not certain what others will believe is cool, they tend to attempt and be who they ought to be and not who they truly are. A person may be persuaded that he ought to have intercourse with a great deal of young ladies and not get sincerely connected to them. Then again, a young lady may be persuaded that having intercourse with an excessive number of folks is “whorish,” and that young ladies ought to “play hard to get.” Stereotypes like these can make it harder for everybody to speak the truth about what they truly need and can likewise make them feel hesitant.
A relationship will be more grounded and all the more genuine when both individuals can really act naturally both inside and outside of the room. When we doubt these “guidelines,” we regard our accomplice for their identity rather than who they “ought to be.”
What is Sexual Abuse?
Sexual manhandle is any kind of undesirable sexual contact. Compelling or forcing somebody to accomplish something they don’t need or don’t agree to is rape. Nobody ought to ever exploit you sexually when you are sleeping, inebriated or affected by medications. This can be an intense and hazardous type of manhandle. Take in more about sexual manhandle and what to do in the event that you encounter it.
You should be in a sheltered and sound relationship, both face to face or on the web. On the off chance that your accomplice is carefully harsh, know their conduct is not worthy and could be unlawful. Look at our tips underneath for remaining safe on interpersonal interaction destinations like Facebook, Twitter, foursquare and others.
Just post things you need people in general to see or know. When it’s on the web, it’s no longer under your control.
Be defensive of your own data. Your telephone numbers and delivers empower individuals to reach you straightforwardly, and things like your introduction to the world date, the schools you went to, your boss and photographs with points of interest may make it less demanding for somebody to discover where you live, hang out or go to class.
Set limits and breaking points. Advise individuals not to post individual data, negative remarks or registration about you via web-based networking media. Request that individuals not post or label pictures in case you’re not happy with it.
You can keep your passwords private — sharing passwords is not a necessity of being seeing someone.
Try not to do or say anything on the web you wouldn’t face to face. It might appear to be less demanding to convey what needs be the point at which you are not eye to eye, but rather online correspondence can have genuine negative outcomes.
Mishandle or Harassment
Try not to react to badgering, harsh or unseemly remarks. It won’t make the individual stop and it could get you stuck in an unfortunate situation or even place you in peril.
Keep a record of all bugging messages, posts and remarks in the event that you choose to tell the police or get a controlling request.
Leaving an Abusive Relationship
In the event that you are leaving an undesirable relationship, begin by hindering your ex on Facebook and other long range informal communication pages. We suggest you don’t registration on foursquare or other area based locales or applications — you don’t need your ex or their companions following your developments.
Modify your security settings to diminish the measure of data that specific individuals can see on your page. Security settings on locales like Facebook permit the client to control how their data is shared and who has entry to it. Enlisted, for some applications oblige you to change your protection settings.
Abstain from posting private subtle elements on your companion’s pages. They might not have fitting settings and doing as such may permit somebody to see your developments and area. The same goes for labeling yourself in pictures.
Consider what is known as a “super-logoff” — deactivating your Facebook account each time you log off and reactivating it each time you log back on. Along these lines, nobody can post on your divider, label you or see your substance when you’re disconnected, yet despite everything you have the majority of your companions, divider posts, photographs, and so forth when you log back on.
While it is badly designed and may appear to be outrageous, impairing you long range interpersonal communication page altogether might be your best alternative to stop proceeded with manhandle or badgering.
At loveisrespect, we’re clearly centered around peopling manufacture sound dating connections. Yet, we realize that not everybody is at present in or needs to be in a sentimental relationship! In spite of the fact that having solid associations with others is critical, the most vital sound relationship you can have is with yourself.
Perhaps you’re not prepared to date anybody yet, perhaps you’re being single right now (or inconclusively), or possibly you are thinking about saying a final farewell to your accomplice however the possibility of being single is frightening to you. Regardless, it’s truly essential to comprehend that dating somebody or being seeing someone “finish” you. Many people may feel that on the off chance that they’re not in a relationship, or on the off chance that they would prefer not to be in one, something must not be right with them or something is absent from their lives. Be that as it may, this isn’t valid! You are entire and finish similarly as you may be. Being single may look desolate, frightening, unfulfilling or exhausting to a few people, yet it doesn’t need to be.
Being single helps you realize your identity
In the event that you can’t act naturally, without anyone else’s input, it can be alongside difficult to act naturally with another person. This isn’t to imply that in the event that you are seeing someone now you have to separate, yet investing energy alone can be a truly solid thing to do. Being separated from everyone else with yourself gives you all the more extra time to investigate your own particular musings, emotions, premiums and the aspects of your life you may be enticed to disregard when you’re with an accomplice (and possibly watch that TV indicate you’ve been needing to see!).
Being single helps you figure out how to define limits
Defining limits is critical to being a solid individual since limits help you characterize how you might want to be dealt with by others. Making sense of what you are alright with, both in and outside of a relationship, can be truly important, and keeping in mind that you’re single you can truly think unmistakably about your own limits. When contemplating your limits, a few things to consider are your physical, sexual and enthusiastic solace levels in various circumstances (look at this convenient rundown from Scarleteen to help you thoroughly consider your sexual limits). While it’s workable for limits to move amid a relationship as you manufacture trust with somebody, having those principles in the back of your psyche if something turns out badly can be so useful.
Being “separated from everyone else” doesn’t need to mean you are distant from everyone else
Having a strong emotionally supportive network made up of individuals of all sexes can be useful amid any period of life. Individuals from your bolster system can incorporate family, companions, colleagues, guides or any other person you trust and appreciate investing energy with. It can some of the time be less demanding to make that arrangement of bolster when you’re not in a relationship since when you have an accomplice, it can feel just as you don’t have time for any other individual. A few thoughts for working up your emotionally supportive network incorporate reconnecting with that old companion you haven’t found in a very long time, making up for lost time with things with your bff, or making some new companions through a group or club. Diversions, clubs and shared exercises are additionally awesome approaches to keep interfacing with the general population who are now a piece of your life.
Being single helps you figure out how to deal with and confide in yourself
Figuring out how to deal with and esteem yourself – as opposed to someone else – is so imperative, and it doesn’t need to be alarming! It can really be a truly cool learning process. Feeling great all alone is a helpful aptitude whether you’re seeing someone not. It’s extraordinary to realize that you are cheerful all alone and ready to love yourself and have that adoration be sufficient. It’s additionally difficult to trust other individuals on the off chance that you don’t as of now trust your own particular needs, needs and impulses, and trust is a key establishment in any sort of sound relationship.
I don’t get into how a genuine man acts about sexuality in this post, this will be another story. What’s more, I keep the rundown open to new options, so don’t hesitate to include yours in the remarks.
Right away, here are the 25 characteristics of a genuine man that each lady longs for:
1. A genuine man is a man who is honest to his manly quintessence.
2. He’s not modest to talk his brain.
3. He compliments you without expecting anything consequently.
He has the strength to let you know he enjoys the way your grin illuminates the room since that is the manner by which it feels for him. What’s more, he doesn’t expect anything as an end-result of supplementing you.
He is just recognizing your excellence, your effortlessness, your ladylike pith and he’s cheering in it.
As he recognizes the excellence of a mountain crest or of the wild sea he celebrates in your magnificence and makes you mindful of it.
Along these lines he improves magnificence wherever he sees it.
Since a lady turns out to be considerably more excellent when she feels seen and acknowledged in her pith by a genuine man.
4. A genuine man doesn’t apologize for his emotions or his longings.
This doesn’t mean he’s discourteous or rude with other individuals’ emotions. In actuality.
In the event that you need to know more about what I mean a man ought not apologize for his longings watch this 10′ video with Zan Perrion. (Also, in the event that you need to get further in the subject of being honest with your manliness then you should read his wonderful book, “The Alabaster Girl”. I will return with a survey soon.)
5. He’s a genuine courteous fellow.
He’s liberal and kind, with his friends and family, as well as with the entire world.
A genuine man is deferential with everybody, paying little respect to their societal position. What’s more, yes, he will open the entryway and force a seat for you at the table, give you his jacket on the off chance that you are crisp and every one of those other kind motions courteous fellows do.
6. A genuine man grasps the greater part of his being:
– his qualities and in addition his shortcomings
– his shadows and his blessings
– his manly embodiment and his female part
– his wild, untamed soul covets and additionally
– his tranquil, adoring and delicate side.
7. A genuine man is sure about his body, quiet in his psyche and mindful of his feelings.
8. He can stay focused and grounded when the entire world is by all accounts going into disrepair, regardless of the possibility that he’s frightened as sh*t in his heart.
9. A genuine man deals with his body, brain and soul.
He realizes that with a specific end goal to be of assistance to others he should be in the most ideal shape and perspective. In spite of the fact that to some he may look narrow minded, he’s very benevolent than the normal man.
He doesn’t mishandle his body by eating garbage sustenance or smoking or drinking or by whatever other substances.
He practices since he adores to move and to be solid and sound, and to move others to the same.
He regards his spare time and doesn’t escape his feelings by workaholic behavior.
10. A genuine man has a mission, an unmistakable reason for existing that is greater than him.
He needs to make an imprint on the planet and he’s dealing with it consistently.
11. A genuine man perceives a genuine lady and backings her in whatever she needs to do.
12. A genuine man never utilizes more power than required.
He is exceptionally solid, much more grounded than you. Be that as it may, he will never at any point lay a finger on you, regardless. He will ensure and regard you to the best of his insight.
13. A genuine man will never at any point utilize manipulative, beguiling personality diversions to make you accomplish something you would prefer not to.
He needn’t bother with anything from you in any case. He is cheerful and content with his life and he needn’t bother with you to improve it.
In spite of the fact that he exceptionally acknowledges every single one of your endowments, that you affectionately impart to him.
14. A genuine man dependably talks from his heart, from his center.
15. He knows his cutoff points. Also, he’s always pushing through them.
16. A genuine man can stop notwithstanding amid the most agitated circumstances of your relationship.
He will remain close by when the sh*t hits the fan.
17. A genuine man has a witty comical inclination, realizing that life is too short to ever be considered excessively important.
He will dependably giggle with you and he will make you snicker each day. Since your grin and your chuckling light up the room you stroll in.
18. A genuine man is consistent with himself. He listens to his gut and tails it each minute.
19. He’s not hesitant to request help when he needs it.
Furthermore, he’s the first to offer his help where he’s required.
20. A genuine man counsels with you and really listens to what you need to state.
21. He is not reluctant to repudiate you on the off chance that he doesn’t concur with you, nor is he late to state “I’m sad” or “I wasn’t right” if that is the situation.
22. A genuine man rouses you to be the best form of yourself.
He doesn’t make due with a lesser adaptation of you. He conveys out to light your blessings and your shadows so you can chip away at them. What’s more, that will make things muddled, yet it will help you both develop.
23. A genuine man carries on with an existence of uprightness.
His activities coordinate his words, and his words coordinate his considerations.
24. A genuine man gives back more than he takes.
He’s a provider and a practitioner.
25. A genuine man is a valuable and uncommon blessing.
Also, the best approach to have one in your life is by being a genuine lady.
So that is my first letter to my more youthful self about the characteristics of genuine men.
Presently it’s your turn. What’s your most loved attribute from this rundown and what might you add to it? Drop me a line in the remarks howl.
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.