Self Development By Mae Davies / May 3, 2016 Believe it or not, getting out of an unhealthy relationship and fostering healthy ones can save your life. Identifying the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships can save lives since it will allow them to realize that the relationship that they are in can put them in physical, psychological, and emotional danger. By knowing these differences, women would also be able to see that not all relationships have the same characteristics and that having a good and healthy relationship with someone is indeed possible. Difference between Healthy and Unhealthy Relationships for Women The power behind the word NO The defining characteristic of a healthy relationship is the equality and reciprocality between the people involved. In this type of relationship, each person has the right and power to say no to anything, regardless of how big or small it may be. In this situation, the other person respects the other person’s opinion and takes it as a definitive answer. He or she may try to pose a healthy argument or debate to change this opinion, but if this fails, then the power of the word ‘no’ still stands. In an unhealthy relationship, the power is only given to one person. This means that if the other person says no, it does not have any hold and it can easily be thwarted by the opposition of the partner. The other person may be subconsciously or physically forced to change by the other person. Openness to others A partner who fosters a healthy relationship knows the importance of making sure that his or her partner constantly socializes with friends and family. He knows and understands the importance of maintaining strong connections with different people, and he doesn’t get jealous about it. On the other hand, this openness to others is lacking in an unhealthy relationship. Indeed, one of the trademarks of an unhealthy relationship is their lack of openness to their friends and family. This is because the initiators of this type of relationship often prefer to keep their partners from their loved ones and other people. Some also want to put them in the same level of misery and loneliness or to prevent them from seeing that the grass is greener and happier on the other side. In short, they just want their partners’ lives to revolve around themselves. The idea of a relationship Those who are in a healthy relationship always feel thankful for the relationship that they have. They feel lucky that they were able to find someone that they can enjoy a lazy afternoon with. They appreciate any time that they have to spend with their significant other, regardless of how long or short it may be. Those who are in an unhealthy relationship, on the other hand, view relationships in a negative light either consciously or subconsciously. Suddenly, every date becomes a chore and every interaction can bring forth so many negative feelings that, at times, it can all be overwhelming. Identifying Unhealthy Relationships for Women: Verbal Cues According to many relationship experts, the more time that partners stay in a relationship, the harder it will become for them to end it. This is the reason why the best way to avoid unhealthy relationships is to learn how to identify one at the soonest possible time. Considering that most often than not, unhealthy relationships start off with certain verbal cues, looking for these signs is one of the best ways to avoid a toxic or abusive partner. Here are some of the verbal cues that you need to watch out for in order to identify and avoid unhealthy relationships. “End of discussion” One of the definitive traits of being in a toxic relationship is being with a partner who has the ability to control the overall flow of the conversation. He or she may use phrases like “stop talking” or “end of discussion” once you start talking about topics that he or she does not like. These words are used by people who are knowingly or unknowingly stonewalling their partners. Stonewalling is one of the many ways that a person can inappropriately control the conversation by not giving the other person a chance to respond. Manipulators see stonewalling as one of the many ways that they can assert the idea that they want. They also use this method in order to instill in the mind of their partners the idea that they should be followed at all times. ”Stop hanging out with them” It is normal for your partner to not like your friends or even your family members due to several reasons such as incompatibility or a less than ideal past encounter. However, it is not normal for your partner to ask you to stop socializing with them for any reason. When your partner says, “stop hanging with them,” beware for you might be on your way to having a toxic relationship. This is because more often than not, in order to keep the other person in the unhealthy relationship, their partner tends to stop them from socializing with other people so that no one else can know about what they are doing and no one will be able to tell that they are in a toxic relationship. Always remember that being in a healthy relationship means being with a person who highly values the people that you love or treasure. This means that even if they do not like your family or friends, a good partner will never ask you to completely stop spending time with them. “If you don’t do this. . .” In a healthy relationship, both parties respect the opinion of one another and are open to any objections or different opinions. In unhealthy relationships, their partner may forcefully coax them to follow what they want with words such as “if you don’t do this. . .” These ultimatums are unfair to the other person and are highly degrading since they eliminate the right of the other person to have her own opinion and exercise her freedom to choose the best course of action for herself. These are just some of the verbal cues that can help you identify the early forms of a toxic relationship. By watching out for these cues, you can avoid investing your feelings and the many years of your life in a relationship only to find out that it is not healthy and good for you. Tell-tale Signs of being in an Unhealthy Relationship Aside from the physical manifestations and effects of being in an unhealthy relationship, another excellent way to tell if your partner is toxic is by looking at how their arguments are being laid out. This is because manipulative partners often use arguments to create an environment that will allow them to control their partners for a long period of time. For this reason, it is best for women to find out how arguments usually pan out in toxic relationships in order to determine if they are tied into one. Here are some of the characteristics of arguments that unfold in unhealthy relationships: It is usually accompanied by anger It is normal for a debate or a healthy conversation to become heated, especially when the topic is sensitive; romantic partners are not exempted from this. However, if every debate or argument that you have with your partner becomes explosive, there is a very high chance that you are in a toxic relationship. Manipulative people use anger to either intimidate their partner or to make their partner feel guilty and, ultimately, to make their partner submit or give in to whatever they want. This kind of argument in is often accompanied by a serious temperament, even if the argument started out from something that’s very simple or even very basic (which doesn’t need to be argued about in the first place). The partner always wins In a normal relationship, the goal of every argument is to resolve an issue and not to have a winner and a loser. In a toxic relationship, on the other hand, the manipulator always has to win and he or she will do anything in order to gain the upper hand. This is because they need to seem superior to their partner so that they will be able to keep their partner in the relationship. Even if it’s their fault, they still won’t admit that it is so. Humility and acceptance is nowhere in their vocabulary. So if you notice that your partner rarely or never admits his fault in an argument, you might be in a toxic relationship. The partner does not listen Even though arguments are usually heated, this does not mean that partners do not have the ability to really listen to each other during these moments. In a healthy relationship, both people try to make sure that their anger or hotheadedness does not get the best of them since they know that the goal is not to win but to actually resolve the issue. For people who are a part of a toxic relationship, this is not the goal. Hence, they do not feel the need to listen to their partner. This is the reason why being in unhealthy relationships is often compared to being in a relationship with an inanimate object since there is usually only one-way communication. By taking note of these characteristics, you will be able to identify if you’re in an unhealthy relationship or not. This will also enable you to assess people and determine whether or not they have the makings of a manipulative or a healthy partner. This will allow you to avoid toxic relationships immediately long before you start investing time and effort into the relationship. Pay attention to these points and watch out, for it could be that you’re already tied up in an unhealthy relationship. Ways to Prevent Unhealthy Relationships for Women When it comes to toxic or unhealthy relationships, there are cases wherein both people who are involved are the victims. This usually happens when both parties are suffering from the same problems or conditions or if the other person who has the upper hand or is the manipulator is not aware of what he or she is doing. These relationships actually have a chance to become normal and healthy as long as one or both parties know how to stop their relationship from being toxic. Here are some of the ways on how to prevent unhealthy relationships: Self-assessment As the great philosopher Socrates once said, “Know thyself.”To avoid cases wherein one person in the relationship unknowingly manipulates his or her partner, sufficient self-assessment should be done. This will allow people to determine their role or their contribution to the relationship. Are they being the overly negative person who is making the relationship unhealthy or are they at the receiving end? Determining the answer to this question can help couples understand themselves, their relationship, and the changes that they need to make to avoid turning their healthy relationships into unhealthy ones. Have a lengthy and no holds barred conversation Most often than not, people who manipulate their partners in a relationship have secrets or problems that they cannot air out. This is what leads them to form a toxic relationship with their partner since they think that this is the best way for them to avoid their issues. By addressing these problems, both partners can understand the behavior of each other and determine the proper course of action. They can either choose to work on the relationship and solve these issues simultaneously or to hold the relationship off until these issues are properly addressed. These issues are typically deep and hard to address, which is why couples should allot sufficient time to determine, tackle, and solve them. Avoid arguments Arguments, especially regular and pointless ones, can ruin any type of relationship, whether it is toxic or non-toxic. They can also serve as triggers for some people to manipulate their partners in order to gain the upper hand or even just to win the argument. Instead of arguing about a topic, couples should find a healthier way to debate without belittling or manipulating the other. Partners should “discuss” rather than “argue.”However, the de-escalation process should not include changing the topic or avoiding the topic completely, as this will not solve the issue. Couples should focus on knowing how to communicate better in order to avoid arguments. Note: Two-way communication is a must in every relationship! Focus on the feelings Ever heard of the phrase “Being in love with the idea of love”? There are cases where couples are so invested in the idea of being in a relationship and what it means for their friends and family that they forget to focus on what their relationship really means to them as well as their feelings for each other. Are they still genuinely happy with each other or is every date starting to feel like an obligation and a routine? Determining what they truly feel about the relationship can help couples avoid emotions, which can harbor negative feelings towards each other such as resentment. These ways prove that any healthy relationship can turn toxic at any point. Don’t wait for this moment to happen. Learn how to prevent unhealthy relationships from happening at the earliest possible time.