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A note on violence

Physical and emotional violence are always unacceptable. If you or anyone you know has experienced violence in a relationship, call VictimLinkBC 1-800-563-0808. Looking for more information? Our violence and abuse section has information and resources to help you find the support you’re looking for.

 

Checking in on your relationship every once in a while can help you make sure your relationship is healthy, and that the person you’re seeing is still a good match for you. It will also help you decide if you want to keep on dating them… or if it’s time to rethink things.

To help you figure this out, we came up with 10 questions you can ask yourself about your relationship, and some suggestions for what to do if you think it’s time to make a change.

 

10 questions to ask yourself about your relationship:

1. Do I feel safe with my partner?

People in healthy relationships do their best to make their partners feel safe and comfortable. If they ever unintentionally do something that makes their partner feel the opposite, they should take steps to apologize and fix the situation as soon as they know how the other person is feeling. If they’re making excuses or not listening, that might mean they’re not ready for a healthy relationship. 

TIP: If you’ve been in an unsafe or uncomfortable situation with the person you’re seeing, it’s always best to talk to someone you trust about it. They can help you get a sense of how serious the situation is, and discuss options going forward. If you are feeling unsafe in your relationship, our violence and abuse section has information and resources to help you find the support you’re looking for.

 

2. Can I be myself when I’m with the person I’m seeing?

We all change a bit when we meet new people, but it’s still important to feel comfortable being your true self around the person you’re dating. Although some change is inevitable, if you’re in a healthy relationship you won’t feel like you constantly have to change the way you act, dress or talk to please your partner.

 

3. Can I tell them how I really feel?

Being able to respectfully disagree with the person you’re seeing, and being able to be honest with them about your feelings, is a key part of a healthy relationship.

TIP: Think about a time when you had a problem or a concern. Were you comfortable talking to them about it? If so, there’s a good chance you’re in a healthy relationship. If not, you may be in an unhealthy relationship.

4. Do we listen to each other’s concerns?

Good communication goes both ways! If you find that you don’t have time or energy to hear what your partner has to say and understand their needs, it may be that you’re simply not that into them. If that’s the case, you may want to reconsider the relationship.

 

5. Do I trust the person I’m seeing?

Trust is one of the most important building blocks in any relationship. You should be able to communicate when you feel like something is wrong and trust that your partner can be honest with you. If you feel like your partner is lying to you, is often jealous, or if they do things that make you question your trust, you’re most likely in an unhealthy relationship.

 

6. Do I hold as much power in the relationship as my partner?

Equality keeps relationships safe and fair. In healthy relationships, people share power and don’t boss each other around. Both of you should be equally committed to the relationship and put time and effort into things like showing affection and communication. If you’re feeling unsure about whether your relationship is fair or not, try talking to friends or family for an outside opinion.

 

7. Does my partner support me?

Your partner should be your number one fan! People in healthy relationships listen to each other, help out with problems and show support to each other in public and in private – but that doesn’t mean that they blindly support bad behaviour. If you don’t agree with something your partner is doing, you should feel comfortable communicating in a respectful way that doesn’t make your partner feel like they’re being attacked.

 

8. Do they try things I like?

While you don’t have to like the exact same things, it’s important to try things out that each of you like and is important to you. In a healthy relationship, you support each other in your interests and don’t put each other down.

TIP: Try listing the things you do when you’re with your partner. Then cross off the things from that list that you don’t really like to do. How many things are left? Do both of you enjoy doing these things? Are there any new things that you could explore together? Try the activity together and have a conversation about what you’d like to try together.

 

9. Do I feel good about myself when I’m with them?

It’s important to make sure you and your partner bring out the best versions of each other. If you or your partner feel bad about yourselves when you’re together, you’re probably in an unhealthy relationship.

 

10. Are you generally happy in the relationship?

Healthy relationships feel good! While being happy 24/7 is impossible, if you generally feel sad, scared, anxious, uncomfortable, or underappreciated when you are around the other person, or because of your relationship, then there’s something wrong.

 

What to do if you think you’re in an unhealthy relationship

If your answer to any of the questions above was NO, then it might be time to think about making a change. If this is the case, there are a few things you can try in order to figure out what to do next.

 

1. Talk to someone else about your feelings: Tell a friend or a trusted adult how you’re feeling. Do your best to explain what makes you uncomfortable about your relationship. We have some tips on talking to someone about what’s going on if you’re not sure how to start the conversation.

 

2. Talk to the person you’re seeing: If you’re comfortable and think it’s safe, try bringing up your concerns with your partner. Do this in a calm and non-attacking way. Aim for a solution rather than winning the argument.

TIP: Set up your conversation like a sandwich, starting with one positive thing, one negative thing, and then ending in a positive way. For example:

  • Positive: “Hey, I know things have been really hard for you lately and you’ve been doing great keeping up with it all.”
  • Negative: “It made me feel really upset when you raised your voice at me yesterday.” 
  • Positive: “I know you’re coping and this is not you.”
  • Optional – asking them to take the lead on how to resolve the situation: “Do you need some time to yourself, or maybe we can go out somewhere and try to unwind?” 

*There is a fine line between being supportive  and encouraging unhealthy behaviour when a conflict happens. If you find yourself constantly feeling shut out, or needing to prioritize your partner over your personal feelings, that is a sign to rethink the relationship.

 

3. Step back: If you feel uncomfortable in your relationship or you’ve talked to your partner and nothing has changed, then it may be time to take a step back and re-evaluate. You may find the relationship is no longer serving you. Breaking up with someone is never easy, but it is definitely better than being in an unhealthy relationship.

 

4. Don’t fall for the ‘sunk cost fallacy’: You may feel that because you’ve spent time and energy on a relationship, that you should stick with it no matter what. This is called the ‘sunk cost fallacy’. Remember that you always have the right to walk away from a relationship that doesn’t feel healthy, at any time.

 

Relationships are always tough to navigate and every couple is different. These are just a few questions you can ask yourself when you reflect on how healthy your relationship is. Ultimately, you are the one who makes the final call, and you should always feel empowered making a decision that is right for you – whether you think the relationship is healthy and should continue or not.

 

Keywords: relationships, boyfriend, girlfriend, partner, romance, dating, relationship, question, reflection, sex, couple

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