The wrong sort of love can wreak havoc in your life. With Valentine Day round the corner, check out the signs of a healthy relationship. PAROMITA PAIN
It’s that of the year again when love is in the air despite being threatened by the likes of the Sri Ram Sene. But remember love’s not always a smooth ride. Lend your ear to Dr. Prasanna Poornachandra (Ph.D. in Criminology), CEO, International Foundation for Crime Prevention and Victim Care (PCVC) as she explains the wonders of a healthy relationship and what the wrong sort can do to a youngster’s mental health.
How often have we lent a shoulder to friends as they waxed eloquent about terrorising parents setting curfews and deadlines? It’s not easy to imagine that a boyfriend or girlfriend can do much worse. “Dating abuse is a reality young people must understand and stop immediately,” says Dr. Prasanna. And just when we were thinking that only girls could be abused, she shows that abuse can cut across any spectrum.
What defines a perfect partner? Says Prasanna, “When it comes to relationships don’t waste time looking for an ideal. It’s more important to be a ‘healthy partner’ and be original. Set your own reference point and when you meet that you are perfect for yourself.”
Unhealthy relationship behaviour often starts early and lasts a lifetime. In short don’t let the abuse continue for the long-term effects aren’t good. Besides sexually transmitted diseases, it can cause people to turn to substance abuse and get into constant fights. The stress just isn’t worth it. Don’t let relationships that don’t work out get you down. As Prasanna says, “It’s like finding the right restaurant in town.
There is a mix of the ‘unhealthy’ and the ‘healthy’ in men and women. Learn the signs of control, which include co-dependence, manipulation, lying, addiction and abuse. Potential abusers notice neediness and zoom in. There is nothing wrong with you. Abusers are charming people who can sweep you off your feet. It’s not hard falling in love with them.”
What’s the right time to have sex? “If you cannot consent to sex in your relationship then you are a victim of sexual violence. Never put your partner in a position where they feel that they have to have sex. Respect your partner’s boundaries. You have a right to be unsure of your feelings, be aware that your uncertainty may make it difficult to communicate clearly to your partner. Act on your own comfort level. It is okay to say you need more time or that you don’t want to have sex. Believe in your right to express your feelings and learn how to do so assertively. The right time is when you feel comfortable and sure. If the relationship is a healthy one, you have a right to say no.” Just when the dust about Mars and Venus was settling, Prasanna has to say that the signs of good boyfriend/girlfriend are the same.
Watch your back and your friends as well. “Often our friends are in abusive relationships. Let them talk. Give them a patient hearing,” says Prassanna. Make sure you are not critical of your friend or his/her boyfriend/girlfriend. Don’t ask questions like “What did you do to provoke him/her?”, “Why don’t you just break up with your partner?” or “Why can’t you handle him/her?”. Don’t pressure your friend into making quick decisions and last of all don’t assume he/she wants to break up with his/her partner or that you know what’s best for your friend.
But don’t stay silent and let the abuse go on. See what the “Bell Bajao!” campaign has to say. Look at http://www.bellbajao.org/press_details.php?pressid=16 for more. Things won’t get better till we take a stand.
And the bottom-line is as Prasanna says, “Love is not abuse. This Valentine’s Day make sure you are a ‘healthy’ partner.” If you feel you need a trained ear call in for counselling at 044-43111143. Want training sessions to understand how healthy relationships work? PCVC initiates programmes to help young people form healthy relationships and prevent dating abuse before it starts. Catch them at www.pcvconline.org for more.
How do you know if your dreamboat is making you loose your moorings?
Does your boyfriend/girlfriend:
- Get jealous when you go out or talk to others
- Constantly check on you
- Keep saying he/she can’t live without you
- Frightens or intimidates you.
- Makes you justify everything you do
- Impose restrictions on your dress or appearance
- Get mad when you disagree
- Put you down
- Force or intimidate you into having sex
- Are you constantly apologising for your boyfriend/girlfriend’s behaviour?
- Are you afraid to break the relationship fearing for your safety?
“Watch out for behavior that makes you uncomfortable,” Prasanna warns, “And trust your gut instinct.”
- Trusting each other
- Supporting each other’s goals
- Accepting responsibility for their actions
- Respecting opinions
- Apologising when necessary
- Sharing decision-making
- Allowing the other ’space’
- Solving conflicts without anger, threats or name calling
- Jealousy and possessiveness isn’t an express of love.
- If you don’t like the other’s best friend you don’t have to stop talking to him/her.
- No one needs to be ‘in control’ in a relationship. Men don’t decide who their girlfriends socialise with or not.
- Sex isn’t the ultimate way to say you love a person. Just because you love him/her, it’s wrong to expect them to be with you all the time.
Popularity: 1% [?]