Saying no – It is important in relationships that we feel just as comfortable saying ‘no’ as we do saying ‘yes’. We shouldn’t feel uncomfortable, anxious, or scared to say no or to assert a boundary with our partner.
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Spending time with others – You might feel like you want to spend a lot of time with someone, but it’s important to have some time away from each other, too. In a healthy relationship, everyone is free to hang out with family or friends of any gender without having to ask permission.
Spending time alone – It’s ok to want to spend time by yourself or do something for yourself. Healthy relationships mean being able to say when you want or need to do things on your own instead of feeling like you have to spend all of your time with someone.
Ending the relationship or taking a break – If you are in a relationship that you are not enjoying, you might want to end that relationship. It’s ok to say if you want to break up, but if it feels difficult or unsafe then it’s important to get help or to speak to someone you trust. Try to respect the other person’s feelings, but remember: you don’t have to stay in a relationship because the other person wants you to.
Mutual respect of needs and desires – If one person in a relationship tells another that their needs are stupid, is aggressive towards them, or goes against what they’re comfortable with, then they are not showing them the respect they deserve.
No abuse – Abuse within a relationship can be emotional, verbal, psychological, financial, sexual or physical. It can include coercive and controlling behaviours. Abuse is never okay. If somebody does this to you, it is never your fault and is nothing to feel ashamed of.
If your friend or partner often makes you feel unsafe or under pressure to always make them happy while your needs are ignored, or if you fight all the time, take some time to think about what you are getting from this relationship. Does it make you happy and make you feel good about who you are?
It is not okay for a partner to control what we do, what we wear, who we speak to or what we think. This kind of behaviour – when it becomes a pattern – is called coercive control.
Some common examples of coercive behaviour are:
- Isolating you from friends and family
- Depriving you of basic needs, such as food
- Monitoring your time and/or your phone
- Controlling where you can go, who you can see, what you can wear and when you can sleep
- Depriving you access to support services, such as medical services
- Repeatedly putting you down, such as saying you’re worthless
- Humiliating, degrading or dehumanising you
- Controlling your finances
- Making threats or intimidating you.
If any of this sounds familiar to you and you would like to talk to someone about it, you can get in touch with us here. To read more about the impacts of abusive relationships, click here.