How do I know if my relationship is bad for me?
The best judges of whether a relationship is healthy or unhealthy are the people in that relationship. However, there are some factors to consider when determining if this is a healthy relationship:
1. Consent — There is agreement by both partners on all activities when both partners can make a conscious decision.
2. No exploitation - All parties are equally empowered and share decision-making. Both partners feel valued and honored and are not taken advantage of or threatened.
3. Honesty - Actions demonstrate trustworthiness. There is open, upfront, sincere, and truthful communication; likes and dislikes are vocalized and promises are kept
4. Mutual pleasure - There is a balanced give-and-take relationship, without self-centered, forceful, or manipulative means. Partners take pleasure in pleasing their partner and establish comfort zones and understood signals.
5. Safety and protection (from physical/emotional harm, including STDs) - Partners have knowledge and resources to avoid harm and appropriate measures are taken to ensure the security of all parties. (Adapted from www.niu.edu/lgbt/resourcecenter)
It is important to realize that you always have options in relationships. You can stay with things as they are, choose to work on the relationship, take a break, or end it all together. Each partner has an equal choice in where the relationship will go in the future.
If you feel you are in an unsafe relationship you can call 1-877-TO END DV (City of Chicago Domestic Violence Help Line or 773-871-CARE (2273) for the Anti-Violence Project Crisis Line.
Peter Pointers is an online, gay health educator and is assisted by a group of qualified health specialists who work as a team to answer your health questions. Check out Peter's Question/Answer forum at www.lifelube.org/experts.php for more pointers and to ask your own questions.