May 11, 2011

It bears repeating

A good friend asked me yesterday about my once published "list of standards." I had to dig through the archive to find them, but re-reading them was cathartic. As I first wrote, this list may seem like a no-brainer for many, but I continue to struggle with a few items. I'm happy to say that that in the past few years, I've overcome a few key trouble spots on this list.
If your relationship falls within the "unhealthy" column, it may be time for a change.

In a healthy relationship, you:

• Treat each other with respect
• Feel secure and comfortable
• Are not violent with each other
• Can resolve conflicts satisfactorily
• Enjoy the time you spend together
• Support one another
• Take interest in one another's lives: health, family, work, etc.
• Have privacy in the relationship
• Can trust each other
• Are each sexual by choice
• Communicate clearly and openly
• Have letters, phone calls, and e-mail that are your own
• Make healthy decisions about alcohol or other drugs
• Encourage other friendships
• Are honest about your past and present sexual activity if the relationship is intimate
• Know that most people in your life are happy about the relationship
• Have more good times in the relationship than bad

In an unhealthy relationship, one or both of you:

• Try to control or manipulate the other
• Make the other feel bad about her-/himself
• Ridicule or call names
• Dictate how the other dresses
• Do not make time for each other
• Criticize the other's friends
• Are afraid of the other's temper
• Discourage the other from being close with anyone else
• Ignore each other when one is speaking
• Are overly possessive or get jealous about ordinary behavior
• Criticize or support others in criticizing people with your gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, disability, or other personal attribute
• Control the other's money or other resources (e.g., car)
• Harm or threaten to harm children, family, pets, or objects of personal value
• Push, grab, hit, punch, or throw objects
• Use physical force or threats to prevent the other from leaving