Are you in a healthy relationship?
Healthy relationships help to ensure that both you and your partner are understanding of each other and that you support each other. They also ensure that you make important decisions together as a team and you are respectful towards each others opinions, especially when they differ. Another sign of a healthy relationship is that you can express yourself without fear or embarrassment from your partner as well as being understanding of each others need to have alone, or family, time. The biggest example of a healthy relationship is that you and your partner trust each other and your partner accepts who you are without any conditions.
This is a good way to recognize if your relationship is healthy, as well. These are the four pillars a healthy relationship is made of. If all four of these things are not present, the relationship can fall apart or become unhealthy.
What is consent?
Consent is defined as permission for something to happen or agreement to do something. Often, consent is spoken of in the context of sexual or physical activity with a partner. Remember that "yes" means yes.
Consent looks like communicating every step of the way. For example, even in the heat of the moment, ask if your partner is comfortable, if your partner wants you to slow down, or go further, or if what you want to do is okay with them.
It is healthy for both (or all) partners to be able to openly talk about and agree on what type of activity they want to engage in- it could be holding hands, hugging, kissing, touching, intercourse or anything else.
Respect that if your partner doesn't say "no", that doesn't automatically mean yes. Read non-verbal cues. If someone is silent, appears uncomfortable, or even says something like, "maybe", that is not an affirmative yes.
Whether it is the first time you and a partner have been physical, or the thousandth, even if you're married- no one is ever obligated to say yes to an activity, and they can ask to stop at any time, even if they consented at an earlier time.
It is crucial to discuss and respect each other's boundaries on a regular basis. It is not okay if a partner pressures or tries to make you feel guilty for doing anything you don't want to do, if they make you feel as if you "owe" them because you're together, or if they gave you a gift. It is not okay if your partner reacts with sadness, anger or resentment if you deny consent, or if they ignore your wishes when you say no.
What should I do if I am not in a healthy relationship?
Try to face the truth. You may love the person or they may promise to change but staying in the relationship could be dangerous.
Don't accept excuses. The person may try to defend themselves and place the blame on you. You are not to blame for their actions.
Talk to someone you trust. Explain to them what is happening and ask for help. You can always call our 24/7 crisis hotline at (301)-645-3336.