Have you ever found yourself falling for someone even though there were clear red flags? Or have you been in a relationship that started out great, only to find yourself feeling lonely and insecure a couple months later? Recognizing warning signs when it comes to relationships with partners, or even friends, is crucial to stave off unwanted drama and misery now and in the future. It is essential to recognize the signs and make changes if necessary.
First, let’s talk about self-love. That’s right. You must love, respect, and honor yourself before you can have healthy relationships with others. Sounds easy enough but learning to set and keep personal boundaries to preserve your love-of-self can often be challenging, especially if you like to please others. Remember, you should never allow anyone to determine your value. Comparing yourself to others is a thief of joy. Every human being has value. Every human being has flaws. You are human so you will always be “enough” and deserving of genuine, honest, and loving relationships.
“Your flaws are perfect for the heart that’s meant to love you.” —Trent Shelton
What does real, honest love look like? A Healthy Relationship is when both people:
- Respect each other and each other’s boundaries
- Communicate openly with each other and respect each other’s opinions
- Are honest with each other
- Are happy to spend time together or apart, alone or with others
- Feel equal and make decisions together
- Make mutual sexual decisions together
A healthy relationship is not only based on honesty but also trust, equality, and compromise. You should accept nothing less from your relationships.
Unfortunately, people everywhere regularly experience a disconnect through isolation and unhealthy relationships, even though having healthy connections sets the stage for limitless growth and opportunity. Science has proven that living connected includes community, family, school, work, finances, and health. Living connected and loving and respecting yourself leads to setting clear boundaries, having essential communication skills, increased connections, financial awareness, and healthy relationships.
In comparison to a healthy relationship, an Unhealthy Relationship starts when one or both people:
- Are disrespectful as in one or both is not considerate of boundaries or feelings
- Do not communicate well and fight over problems
- Do not trust each other or believe what the other is saying
- Do not spend time with others and only socialize in the other’s community
- Struggle for control feeling their choices are more important
- Are dishonest and tell lies
- Pressures the other for sexual activity and refuses to see how this is harmful
One in three young people will find themselves in an unhealthy or even an abusive relationship. These relationships can negatively affect sexuality and identity. Preventing Teen Dating Violence | CDC They can increase the risk of physical injury, poor academics, eating disorders, drinking, drugs, negative body image, self-esteem, and in some cases suicide. If you feel you are in an unhealthy relationship with a partner or even a friend set boundaries for yourself and learn to stop before you both have regrets.
Unhealthy relationships can sometimes lead to more extreme behaviors and become abusive. Abusive Relationships start when one or both people:
- Mistreats the other disrespecting feelings, thoughts, decisions, or physical safety
- Communicates in a way that is harmful or insulting
- Accuses the other of their harmful actions
- Isolates the other and spend all their time together
- Denies abusive actions are abusive by excusing or minimizing abusive behaviors
- Forces sexual activity with an imbalance of power and control
Teen dating violence and abuse affects more than 1.5 million people a year and is not just physical. Dating violence can include one or a combination of Preventing Teen Dating Violence | CDC:
Physical: pinching, hitting, shoving, kicking
Emotional: threatening or harming self-worth, shaming, or bullying
Sexual: forcing a partner to engage in a sex act when he or she does not or cannot consent
At Obria, we know that navigating the complexities of life and love can be challenging! Our holistic approach to health care offers research-based support for all areas of your life, including a self-discovery and relationship program called Optimal Health Education.
Our certified Optimal Health educators can teach you skills to improve your self-confidence and relationships with family, friends, or a romantic partner. The goal is for you to become your best self by learning how to form meaningful connections with others. It is possible for you to have happy, healthy, and successful relationships in life. We want to help you get there!
Not to mention, this self-discovery and relationship program is free for 10- to 19-year-olds!
Reach your potential! Schedule your Optimal Health session at our Obria Santa Ana Clinic by calling 714-516-9045 or emailing SAClinic.org.