- Can you be yourself in this relationship? A healthy relationship nvolves two people who love and accept one another. If you feel like you have to play a role or change your hobbies, interests, or dreams to keep your partner happy, it may not be the right relationship for you. Life is too short to spend walking on egg shells.
- Does your partner lift you up or hold you down? A healthy relationship is empowering. It makes you feel safe, respected, and heard. And while every relationship has rocky days, your partner should never make you feel like less than you are. Someone who truly loves you will help you become the very best version of yourself. If your partner is trying to control you or limit your growth or happiness, it may be time to move on.
- Do you want to be with your partner as he is today – not what you hope he may become? Too often, we become infatuated with an ideal. As women, we are especially bad at falling in love with someone’s potential. We play the “yes, but he could be such a great guy” game. And while that may be true, you have no control over whether he ever actually will be. We can never change another person, and trying to will only leave you
disappointed and exhausted. The only person who can choose to change his behavior is your partner. Take an honest look at who your partner is today, and decide if that is someone you want to spend your life with.
- What boundaries are important to you? It’s important to clearly articulate to your partner what you want and need. For example, if you want 15 minutes a day to talk to each other, with no distractions – tell him. If you want some time alone each day to decompress – tell him. Rather than being resentful that someone is not meeting your needs, be clear about what those needs are, and then give your partner a chance to meet them. If he gets upset when you try to talk with him, or blames you for being too demanding, he is not being respectful of your needs. It may be time to re-consider the above questions.
- What can you do to love yourself more? Relationships are opportunities for growth. So, it’s always healthy to examine what you are doing to lift yourself up, even if you’re not getting that from your partner. Instead of waiting for your partner to say or do nice things for you – do them for yourself. This may help reduce your feelings or exhaustion and resentment, and may help clear your perspective, to help you see your relationship more clearly. If you are doing work on yourself, and your partner’s behavior is not changing, it may be time to reevaluate the relationship. Remember, you only have control over your own behavior.
- What do you want? Ultimately, you have to focus on you. Think about what you want, what you need, and who you want to be. Focus on your strengths, your accomplishments, and your abilities. Think about how you see your life, and decide if your partner fits into that picture. Remember that you are completely deserving of love and respect – and then decide if that’s what you are receiving from your partner. Stay focused on the big picture: Are you being treated with respect? Is your partner willing to work on issues together? Do you feel safe and supported?
- Does your partner hurt or scare you? If you are with someone who hurts, degrades, punishes, or threatens you: Please talk to someone. Talk with a trusted friend or relative, or call the confidential National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). You deserve to be safe. No one has a right to hurt you. And you don’t have to go through this alone.
Remember, you deserve to be loved and respected – all the time.