Learn the signs that you or a loved one may be in an abusive relationship, and find ways to create a safer, healthier environment.
Signs of a Healthy Relationship
Everyone deserves to be in a healthy, supportive relationship. Signs of a healthy relationship include:
- Healthy communication
- Mutual respect and trust
- You can both enjoy time apart from each other
- You are financial partners
- You encourage each other to pursue your passions
Relationship Red Flags
According to loveisrespect.org, relationships exist on a spectrum. Before a relationship becomes abusive, it usually turns unhealthy. Signs of an unhealthy relationship are when:
- You and your partner aren’t communicating
- One partner is dishonest or not trusting
- One partner is trying to take control of the other
- You only spend time with your partner
- You are pressured into activities you don’t want to do
- Your partner pushes you to have sex or go further than you want to sexually
Sometimes, an unhealthy relationship can evolve into an abusive or violent one. You may be in an abusive relationship if your partner:
- Physically harms you
- Verbally or emotionally abuses you
- Needs to be in constant communication with you
- Keeps you from seeing your friends or family
- Controls what you wear and how you look
- Yells at you or threatens you
There are more indications that your relationship could be abusive. Take this quiz to determine if your relationship is healthy.
Create a Safety Plan
If you believe you may be in an abusive relationship, you may be thinking of leaving it. Removing yourself from an abusive relationship can be extremely difficult to do, especially if your partner has diminished your feeling of self-worth.
Creating a safety plan ahead of time will help you make the escape from your abusive relationship. Your plan will prepare you for the challenges of leaving the relationship, and will help you move forward after you’ve successfully left.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline has an interactive guide that can help you create your own plan. You can also call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) for guidance from a trained specialist while making your plan.
How to Support a Friend in an Abusive Relationship
If you believe your friend (or roommate, coworker, sibling, classmate, etc.) may be in an abusive relationship, there are ways you can help. The first thing you can do is reach out and let them know you can help. Other things you should to do help a friend are:
- Listen, offer support and reassure them that the abuse is not their fault
- Respect the decisions they make (they might not want your help at this time)
- Document any abuse you notice, including dates and descriptions
- Help them create a safety plan, including emergency contacts, and whether to call law enforcement
If you would like to speak with a trained advocate, please call 1-866-331-9474 or text LOVEIS to 22522. You can also chat online with a trained advocate at loveisrespect.org.