The types of relationships we have impact on all areas of our lives whether these are family relationships, friendships, relationships with people in authority, relationships with people in organisations we belong to or intimate partner relationships.
A healthy relationship involves treating each other with fairness and equality, mutual respect, trust, honesty, support, good communication, separate identities and a sense of playfulness and fondness. Relationships should also be based on consent, meaning that no-one involved feels forced into doing anything that they don’t want to do.
Unfortunately, some people experience unhealthy relationships. It can happen to someone at any age, of any background or community. They might not recognise it themselves, or they might not know what they can do about it. Some people may experience intimidation which can mean they are less likely to come forward. Or they are frightened that they will not be believed or are worried about what will happen next. For some people cultural barriers can increase fear and isolation, although it’s important to remember not to make generalisations.
Unhealthy relationships are relationships in which physical, sexual, psychological, economic or emotional abuse take place. Signs of an unhealthy relationship are where you:
- Put one person before the other by neglecting yourself or your partner.
- Feel pressure to change who you are for the other person.
- Feel worried when you disagree with the other person.
- Feel pressure to stop activities you usually/used to enjoy.
- Pressure the other person into agreeing with you or changing to suit you better.
- Notice one of you has to justify your actions (e.g., where you go, who you see.)
- Notice one partner feels obligated to have sex or has been forced.
- Have a lack of privacy, and may be forced to share everything with the other person.
- You or your partner refuse to use safer sex methods.
- Notice arguments are not settled fairly.
- Experience yelling or physical violence during an argument.
- Attempt to control or manipulate each other.
- Notice your partner attempts to control how you dress and criticises your behaviour.
- Do not make time to spend with one another.
- Have no common friends, or have a lack of respect for each others’ friends and family.
- Notice an unequal control of resources (e.g., food, money, home, car, etc.).
- Experience a lack of fairness and equality.
Unhealthy relationships between parents can also be an issue that impacts upon children and young people. There is advice and information about parental conflict on the Relationships Matter website here.
If you, or someone you know, is experiencing any kind of unhealthy relationship and you would like to receive advice and support, you may want to contact any of our Domestic Abuse support services, based here in Sheffield.
If you are concerned about a young person in Sheffield, you might want to refer to the Sheffield Student Wellbeing Guide which refers to a number of support organisations available to help (page 52 onwards).