How to determine what constitutes a 'Healthy' Relationship.

Healthy relationships are based on mutual respect, love and above all, trust. Abusive or Unhealthy relationships are based on manipulation, pressure and force.

Think honestly about your relationship and answer "yes" or "no" to the following questions I have put forward for you to evaluate.

If you answer "yes" to ANY of the questions, you may be involved in an unhealthy and manipulative relationship and I encourage you to please read on.

Answer the following:

Does your partner try to tell you what to do, how to dress, how to behave and who you should hang out with?

Do you spend most of your time worrying and stressed out about your relationship?

Does your partner ignore you or disrespect you when friends, family or aquaintences are around?

Have you quit doing things you used to enjoy since you became involved with your partner?

Does your partner only act nice to you when he or she wants to have sexual relations? 

Has your partner ever threatened or intimidated you?

Has your partner ever said "I can't live without you" or threatened to hurt themself if you tried to end the relationship?

Has your partner ever physically harmed you?

Does your partner verbally abuse you, insult you, put you down, or make you feel bad about yourself or your body?

If you are unsure of whether or not your partner is abusive, I have compiled a list of the following types of abuse for you to determine if it exists in your relationship.

You ARE in a Verbally Abusive Relationship when:

Your partner calls you names, threatens you, is overly critical or talks down to you.

If your partner makes you feel like you never think, say or do anything right and blames you for everything that goes wrong.

If your partner pushes you around, hits, kicks, slaps, pokes you and even throws or breaks things that belong to you.

You ARE in a Sexually Abusive relationship if your partner does not respect your boundaries, does not listen to you when your body or mouth says NO, ignores you when you have doubts or if you are uncertain, and forces you to have sex when you do not want to.

For further clarification of what IS and IS NOT acceptable in a relationship, know this:

It is unacceptable to pressure, force, or exploit another person sexually.

Each partner should choose freely whether or not to engage in any sexual behavior. It doesn't matter if it's kissing, sexual intercourse, touching, or hugging.

You are experiencing Sexual Coercion when you are being pressured to engage in sexual activity when you do not want to.

It occurs when your partner is using threats, intimidation, peer pressure, "lines" or manipulation in order to get you to have sex. However, it isn't always considered illegal.

You are experiencing Sexual Assault when your partner is forcing or threatening you to engage in sexual activity against your will.

Sexual Assault IS against the law and includes sexual activity between adults and minors.

Further examples of sexual assault include having sex with someone against their will, having sex with someone who is intoxicated or drugged, and having sex with people age 15 and younger. This can occur with anyone, a parent, guardian, teacher, coach, etc.

It is important to know that if you are 15 years old and the person you are having sex with is 18 or older, it IS against the law.

An adult who has sex with a minor can be charged with sexual assault and go to jail.

By law, people who are drunk or high are considered unable to give their consent to sexual activity.

Bottom line: Having intercourse with an intoxicated person IS a crime.

What does constitute a 'Healthy' relationship?

A healthy relationship exists when you and your partner can manage conflict and existing differences by means of mature communication rather than threats or acts of despair.

To figure out whether or not you and your spouse are capable of such a relationship, considering the following questions for evaluation.

Do both you and your partner protect and nourish the relationship? Is it a priority? Or is work priority over you?

Do both you and your partner know how to be responsible for each ohters own needs and for the care of your relationship?

Do both you and your partner feel "special" to the other.

Do arguments or fights not lead to abuse or threatened break-ups?

Do both you and your partner communicate wants, needs, feelings, and emotional issues with little or no shame? Is there unconditional love if not unconditional agreement in your relationship?

Is your relationship nuturing, comfortable, and fun? Do both you and your partner make a point of tending to the needs of each other willingly and lovingly?

Is your sexual relationship mutually satisfying? Do both you and your partner keep agreements, a sure sign of maturity in a relationship.

Are both you and your partner honest with each other? Does any level of abuse exist within your relationship?

Do both you and your partner feel you can share anything with each other without feelings of guilt?

Do neither you or your partner feel as though you are making a "great sacrifice" to stay in the relationship?

Are each of you able to work, tend to your children (if you have them), and care for each others aspects of their life without threatening the relationship?

And finally, are both you and your partner comfortable with old relationships from each other's pasts?

If you think you may need some assistance or guidance with your relationship, don't be afraid to talk to others. If you need help, you may want to seek help from a trusted friend, parent, adult, counselor or crisis hotline.

For your convenience, I have put together a number of expert articles (some fun in nature), sources, phone numbers and websites for you to review and if you feel the need to do so. Please see the links and sources of information below.

The RAINN Hotline 1-800-656-HOPE (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network) Help Hotline Crisis Center 747-2696, 1-800-427-3606

Written by Nadia Alterio