Relationships are a very important part of our lives. It can be exciting when you first start a new relationship, where everything is new and you are just getting to know each other. It can also be great when you have been in a relationship for a while and can be relaxed and comfortable with each other.
Every relationship is different, whether it is a relationship with family members, friends, lovers or people we work with or see each day. Being in a relationship is all about change, flexibility and understanding. Relationships are about facing the world together, through the good and the bad times we all face in life.
Getting On With Your Family
Family relationships can sometimes be the hardest but when you are getting on with everyone, families can be a great source of support. When you are in conflict it can tear you down. Just because you are a family doesn’t mean you will always think the same way, agree about things and always get on.
When you are not getting on with your family it can be helpful to think about the things below:
- How important is the argument? Is it about staying safe or is it just a difference in point of view?
- Take some time to look at it from the other person’s point of view.
- Is it something you could compromise on?
- Check out the fact sheet on conflict resolution.
Sometimes getting some help around the problem might be helpful. There are a number of organisations that could help mediate your problems with your family such as:
People sometimes go through rough patches in their relationships – this doesn’t necessarily mean your relationship is in trouble. Most relationships experience difficult times – it’s a normal part of life. Understanding how you deal with tough situations is important in helping you work through your issues as a couple and a family.
Learning how to face your differences and resolve issues so that you are both happy is a valuable skill to learn. It can assist in learning more about yourself and your partner and through the process you can help each other to grow. It is important for you to feel valued – it is important that you value your partner and listen to each other’s beliefs and opinions even if at times you do not understand them. Relationships are a partnership in which both people need to feel valued, accepted safe and loved.
Helpful Hints On How To Face Differences:
- Sometimes we need to realise that we can agree to disagree in a relationship.
- Being in a committed relationship is about giving and taking, just make sure it’s not the same one that gives and the same one that takes.
- Listening to each other’s points of views is essential, life is not about always getting it our way, listen and be listened to and then learn from each other.
- There is never only an either/or way to resolve an issue. There are always lots of other options to a situation. Be prepared to look for middle ground if you and your partner don’t agree.
- Sometimes when disagreements go on and on you need to look under what the fight is really about, is it more that the giving and taking has become more one sided?
- Not all relationships are healthy for us, and sometimes it can be hard to work out which ones are good for us and which ones are not. All relationships take work and often have their ups and downs. So how do we know a relationship is working for us or not.
You Know When You Are In A Good Relationship Because It Is:
- Equal, with everyone making decisions.
- Safe, non-violent, controlling anger, temper.
- Honest, you can say what you think and feel.
- Free, able to be yourself and do things you like doing.
- Trusting, not jealous of your popularity and other friends
Abuse within a relationship is not just physical violence; abuse can be emotionally, physical, or sexual. Abuse is using your power over someone else. They may try to convince you that their jealousy or behaviour is because they love you. Being abusive in a relationship is not about love it’s about power.
This is when your boyfriend or girlfriend puts you down, ignores you or calls you names. It may be about what you are wearing, or how you’re acting. They may want you to stop spending time with your friends and question you on every detail of what you’ve done without them. They may use jealousy or anger to intimidate you or to control your behaviour, or might deliberately humiliate you in front of others. They might try to manipulate you and make you feel wrong, inadequate or like you’re crazy. Another form of emotional abuse is if they threaten to hurt themselves or other people if you break up with them. Emotional abuse can be just as damaging as physical abuse.
This involves physical acts such as hitting, slapping, pushing, kicking, pulling your hair, choking you or threatening to harm you in any way. It could involve using a weapon or an object to threaten or hurt you, smashing things or driving a car dangerously to frighten you. Hurting someone physically or threatening to hurt them is a criminal offence.
This involves pressuring or forcing you to do sexual things that you don’t want to do. Even if they have not physically forced you to have sex with them, if they tried to manipulate you or coerce you into having sex when you didn’t want to (like if they say “you’d do it if you really loved me” or “you’re frigid”), this is still sexual abuse. It is also sexual assault if you have been drinking or taking drugs or if you were asleep or unconscious and you were not aware of what was happening. Rape and other forms of sexual assault are criminal offences.
TAKE YOUR SAFETY SERIOUSLY. IF YOU FEEL UNSAFE OR THREATENED BY YOUR BOYFRIEND OR GIRLFRIEND, THINK OF WAYS TO PROTECT YOURSELF.
- If you are still with them, you might not feel able to break up with your boyfriend/girlfriend at the moment. But there are still things you could do to help you to feel safer in the relationship.
- Tell friends or family and get them to help protect you by being around when your boyfriend/girlfriend is there.
- Try not to be alone with them.
- Think of ways to stay in control of the situation. For example, if you are out, arrange another way of getting home rather than going with them, or try not to drink too much or use other drugs.
- Take extra money in case you need to call a taxi or use the telephone.
- Have an excuse prepared so you can leave quickly if you feel uncomfortable or scared.
- Have a code word or signal that you can use to get friends to help you.
- If you go to school / Uni / work with him, you could talk to a teacher or a workmate you trust to help protect you.
- Memorise or write down the number of the police so you can call them if you are in danger (In Australia phone 000 for police in an emergency).
- If you want to break up with your boyfriend/girlfriend but are scared about their reaction, you could consider telling them over the phone, rather than in person. Or you could tell them when there are other people around.
After You Have Broken Up With Them
You might still have to have contact with your ex-, especially if you are at the same school, workplace or have mutual friends. They might still try to contact you after you have split up. You could try the suggestions above, and also think about these ideas.
- Have an answering machine or someone else take messages from them.
- Arrange a safe place to stay where they can’t contact you.
- Talk to someone about what you could do legally to protect yourself from any more violence.