Everyone deserves for the relationships in their lives to be both safe and healthy. That includes you! As you choose a romantic partner, it’s important to know the signs of an unsafe or unhealthy relationship. No intimate partner should threaten or harm your physical or emotional safety. Love is Respect, a project of the National Domestic Violence Hotline, has also created a quiz to help you assess if your current relationship is healthy and safe. Let’s work through their quiz together below and then talk about some tools for working through difficult relationship situations.
The person I’m with…
- Is very supportive of things that I do.
- Encourages me to try new things.
- Likes to listen when I have something on my mind.
- Understands that I have my own life too.
Okay, pause here. For every question you answered “no” so far, give yourself one point. Got it? Okay, let’s keep going.
- Is not liked very well by my friends.
- Says I’m too involved in different activities.
- Texts me or calls me all the time.
- Thinks I spend too much time trying to look nice.
Pause again. For every “yes” response between questions 5-8, give yourself another point. Now let’s continue.
- Gets extremely jealous or possessive.
- Accuses me of flirting or cheating.
- Constantly checks up on me or makes me check in.
- Controls what I wear or how I look.
- Tries to control what I do and who I see.
- Tries to keep me from seeing or talking to my family and friends.
- Has big mood swings, getting angry and yelling at me one minute but being sweet and apologetic the next.
- Makes me feel nervous or like I’m “walking on eggshells.”
- Puts me down, calls me names or criticizes me.
- Makes me feel like I can’t do anything right or blames me for problems.
- Makes me feel like no one else would want me.
- Threatens to hurt me, my friends or family.
- Threatens to hurt themselves because of me.
- Threatens to destroy my things (Phone, clothes, laptop, car, etc.).
- Grabs, pushes, shoves, chokes, punches, slaps, holds me down, throws things or hurts me in some way.
- Breaks or throws things to intimidate me.
- Yells, screams or humiliates me in front of other people.
- Pressures or forces me into having sex or going farther than I want to.
Now, for questions 9-26, give yourself 5 points for every “yes” response. Add up your total score from all 3 sections, and we will talk about what your score means.
What Does My Score Mean?
0 Points – Zero is actually the best score you can get! If you scored a zero, chances are your relationship is heading in a good direction. You seem to be feeling safe in your relationship to be your authentic self with your partner. Keep putting in the work to cultivate your relationship! Communicate openly with your partner to ensure you both continue to be respectful and intentional with each other. Work through disagreements with honesty, mutual respect, and openness. You’re doing a great job.
1-2 Points – If you scored one or two points, you might have identified a couple of things in your relationship that are unhealthy, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they are warning signs. Stay aware and make sure an unhealthy pattern doesn’t develop. You can do this by talking to your partner and setting boundaries around what you like and don’t like. Encourage them to do the same with you. In a safe and healthy relationship, communication is open. Your relationship should be a safe place to be vulnerable about what you want and need to feel secure and confident with your partner. You will often have to work with your partner to understand how to build a relationship that is healthy for you both. Staying informed also equips you to recognize different types of abuse.
3-4 Points – If you scored three or four points, you may be seeing some initial warning signs of an abusive relationship. Pay attention and take these red flags seriously. Something that starts small can grow much worse over time. Even the healthiest relationship requires work, but in a healthy relationship, you still won’t find abusive behaviors.
5 or More Points – If you scored five or more points, you are definitely seeing warning signs and may be in an abusive relationship. Remember the most important thing is YOUR SAFETY. Consider making a safety plan. You don’t have to handle this alone. Call 800-799-7233 for the 24/7 National Domestic Violence Hotline or text START to 88788.
Unplanned Pregnancy When Your Relationship is… Complicated
We sincerely hope that after taking this quiz, the relationship you are in is safe and healthy, even if you may have a few things to work on. But an unplanned pregnancy can rock even the healthiest relationship. Any sudden, unexpected, or stressful circumstance puts new pressure on a relationship. It doesn’t mean the relationship will break; it just may need to bend to adapt to the new situation.
If you and your partner are facing an unexpected pregnancy, communication is key. Healthy relationships, as mentioned above, are built on communication. Sometimes communication is messy, but in a safe relationship, we learn from our mistakes and try again.
When navigating an unplanned pregnancy, here are a few tools to help you:
- Start with empathy: Both of you are probably thinking a lot about how this pregnancy will affect you. While that matters, healthy conversations don’t usually begin with self-centered-ness. Try to think about what your partner may be feeling. Don’t assume the worst (He only thinks about himself!). Instead, offer some grace (How does she usually handle stress? Maybe she’s shutting down because of the stress this has caused her, not because of me. How can I make her feel supported at this moment?) This mindset will help both of you understand each other better.
- Listen to each other: This situation involves multiple people, so try to offer as much of a listening ear as possible. Cultivate an environment where your partner feels confident they can be truly vulnerable with you, and they will still be accepted and loved. Making someone feel heard goes a long way!
- Talk about it: Avoiding the conversation is not a (good) option. Some of us are avoidant of anything that stresses us out. But this situation is not going anywhere. Take a breath, order some of your favorite take-out, get comfy on the couch, and talk it out. In grace, in love, but TALK. Express yourself honestly and graciously, and make sure the other knows they are not alone.
- Get some help: Sometimes communication is harder than we’d like. If you and your partner are having trouble communicating about this issue, consider asking for some help. A trusted friend, family member, or even a counselor/therapist could meet with you once or a couple of times to help you to hear what the other is saying and feeling.
- Gather all the facts: If you are not sure what you want to do with this pregnancy, you’re going to need good information to help empower your decision. Do your research; find out all your options. If you need resources, don’t worry! Massachusetts is chock-full of organizations just waiting to meet the needs of couples facing unplanned pregnancies. It’s just a matter of finding where those are. And we can help you with that!
At Clearway, you can schedule an appointment to confirm your pregnancy via ultrasound and learn more about your options. We will also provide you with a customized referrals list of resources in your area. Call our office at 508-438-0144 for more information.
Reviewed by Amy G., L.I.C.S.W.