A Healthy Relationship – Do You Have One?
Women often struggle in relationships for many different reasons.
We are not assertive enough, we put others needs before our own, we don’t want to ‘make waves’ or we believe the a disagreement is just ‘not worth it.’ But in so doing, we often do ourselves a disservice that ultimately costs us in many ways – our self-esteem, confidence, achieving our goals and having the ability to stand our ground when we feel we should.
Many women don’t know what a safe and loving relationship looks like. Often, although we vow we won’t, we replicate the relationships of our parents and end up with a similar partner to one of our parents. Psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud would argue that often we marry people who are similar to a parent with whom we have ‘unresolved issues.’ I think at times there is truth in that.
Others of us have been in abusive and controlling relationships for so long we don’t realise what a strong and loving relationship looks like. And this happens in the workplace too, where women are bullied and controlled by a more dominating and forceful manager, for example.
The latest statistics about domestic violence, so prominent in the press, are frightening at best.
- One in three women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence perpetrated by someone known to them
- One in five women over 18 have been stalked during their lifetime
- One in five women experience harassment in the workplace
- Over 12 months, on average, one woman is killed every week by a current or former partner
What does a healthy and empowered relationship look like?
In a recent survey, women were asked whether they felt they were in respectful and empowered relationships, where their opinions were listened to and their needs were met. An astonishing 87% said no, meaning there are many women out there not only being unaware of what an unhealthy relationship looks like, but that they are living in one.
So, what does a healthy relationship look like?
- There is respect for each other’s interests and individuality
- Each person is encouraged to maintain relationships with friends and family
- Both people express themselves openly to each other without fear of consequences
- Each person feels secure and comfortable and shows an interest in the other’s activities
- Couples trust each other and are honest with each other
- They know how to ‘fight fair’ and that arguing and disagreeing with each other is part of life. But they do it well, calmly and without being personal
- Both partners protect and nourish the relationship and make it a priority
- Both partners know how to be responsible for their own needs and for the growth of the relationship
- Both partners share equal responsibility for themselves, children and the relationship overall
- Both partners feel ‘special’ to the other. Arguments or fights do not lead to abuse or threatened break-ups.
- Both accept that relationships are give and take
- Both take responsibility to have fun and laugh.
As women, we need to be empowered in our lives overall and in relationships that fulfil us and make us happy. Without this, and by staying in a relationship where you feel under-valued or not listened to, your long-term health may be affected.
Do something about it. You deserve the very best that life has to offer! And only you can make the change.