Saturday, February 7, 2009

Relationship Month: Relationship Advice from Yours Truly

This morning I lay in bed, unable to sleep for various reasons, and I was inspired to get up and write out my thoughts today. I've gotten tons of relationship advice over my lifetime, much of it from my mother, who had very sound advice, advice I didn't listen to enough. I learned many lessons the hard way, but am now happily married. I know several girls who are in bad relationships, even abusive relationships, and I felt that this is the time for me to pass my advice on to anyone willing to read it.

"Don't listen to what he's saying. Look at what he's doing. That's so much more telling than any verbal gymnastics they're going to give you." -- Drew Barrymore

"Listen to your best friends and your mother, because they aren't going to lie to you, they'll tell you if he's good for you or not. Your mother knows you better than anyone else." --me

"If he doesn't make you feel good, about yourself and just in general, it's time to walk away." --me

"If you feel sick inside when you're away from him for 3 hours, that's called codependance, you should be concerned."

"Laugh together often, don't take life too seriously, and don't yell at each other."

"A relationship is a 2-way street." "It takes 2 to Tango." "Sometimes it's not up to you. You can be the best wife in the world, but if he's not willing to meet you half way, and work on the relationship, you will have a very unhappy (relationship) marraige." --my mom

"When you get into the relationship, you will naturally change over time, look at yourself in the mirror, are you better now, or have you changed for the worse? That should tell you what kind of effect this man is having on your mental wellbeing." -- Me again

"Never ever, never, never, ever think that having kids is going to solve your relationship problems, or make you love each other more. Kids only complicate the picture. If he treats you bad before kids, he'll only get worse after. And how do you think he'll treat your kids?" -- my dad (ps these are things he said to me as advice, not while I was in an actual relationship)

One thing that keeps Jeff and me happy and in love, is the fact that Jeff is an unconditional lover. He never gets mad at me, he's very patient with me, and he is willing to talk things out if I get upset. Don't get me wrong, we have bad hours, but never a bad day. Don't ever think it's ok for a man to treat you bad, no matter what you've done. Don't ever think it's ok for a man to walk all over you like a doormat because you're his wife or girlfriend and he "needs" you. We are all daughters of god, and deserve to be treated like queens, that's the husband's job. In return we treat them like Kings... but if he's treaking you like his royal servant, it's time to do some deep in-house cleaning of the relationship, some renovation. (I'm talkin couple therapy or more drastic).

Many people believe that there is only 1 type of abuse. Physical. They think "Oh, I'll leave him if he hits me." It's not the only type. There is also Verbal Abuse, a HUGELY under-talked about form of abuse. If a man/woman you are in a relationship with manipulates, controls, and makes you feel bad about yourself using his/her words, it is probably verbal/emotional abuse. I could talk about the signs all day, but instead will just post the top 10 signs of abuse.

1. Isolation - not allowing you to see friends or family as often as you would like, keeping you home and away from the people you were close to before you were together

2. Jealousy - judging every act you make around the opposite sex as flirting, sometimes even around the same sex, getting angry with you for talking and interacting with other people.

3. Possessiveness - Not wanting to share you with other people, overly protective

4. Double Standards - you can't go out without calling him every hour and telling him where you are, but he disappears for hours without calling you once to tell you where he went. You can't talk to members of the opposite sex, but he flirts in front of you with other girls.

5. Name Calling - anything demeaning, ugly, stupid, Biotch, whore, you get the point.

6. Controlling Behavior - you can't do anything without his permission, and if you don't get his permission he makes sure you wish you had, either by the silent treatment, yelling at you, etc... you feel guilty if you don't comply

7. Threat's of Self Harm - he says things like "if you ever left me I'd kill myself" or something of that variation

8. Playing Rough - when you guys play around he gets too rough and hurts you, and it may seem like an accident but if this happens more than once it's something to pay attention to

9. Nonconsentual Sex - he wants it, you don't, he either guilts you into it, tells you he'll get it somewhere else, or physically forces you to do it. All of those things are nonconsentual and abusive. Oh another tactic, he accuses you of getting it somewhere else because you don't want to do it with him.

10. Violence - hitting, pushing, shoving, pinching, slapping, throwing, anything like that.

No one thinks it can happen to them, but it happens to millions of women and men regularly. If anyone has any questions for me, please feel free to email me or comment on my note. If you have anything to add, please comment. Thanks for taking the time to read this. Again, let me emphasize, most of my knowledge comes from my past experience, some from professional help (note my mom has her masters in psychology, and my dad is a psychologist), I also did an educational video on relationship abuse with HRM.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This sounds alot like what we have discussed in the past. Good job! I think you have alot of great advise. Susan