When you begin to enter an intimate relationship, it can be very confusing.  You are so happy that someone likes you and it feels so good to like someone. It’s new and exciting. On the other side of it, this can also be extremely painful, especially if your significant other wants to break up with you. It can also be difficult to break up with someone that appears to like you.

The two wheels in this article contain useful information for all couples whether you are just entering the dating field or if you have previous dating experience. The wheels can be used by you to evaluate whether you are in a healthy relationship or not.

The equality wheel gives information about healthy relationships where:

  • Both partners are honest. No lying, cheating, or covering up
  • Both partners treat the other person fairly
  • There is no manipulation or game playing
  • Their partner is respected and trusted. An example of this is that each person is free to do their work, participate in sports, have their own friends, participate in their own activities, and have their own goals, without feeling like their relationship is being threatened in any way
  • There is no abuse of any kind: physical, emotional, or verbal. No silent treatment, ignoring, or punishing behaviors
  • Both persons have boundaries. No reading the other person’s journals, phone messages, etc.
  • Both persons can say no to requests from their partner without feeling guilty
  • Both partners can tell their partner how they feel about certain things, especially when something doesn’t seem right
  • People-pleasing is kept to a minimum so that one person doesn’t feel like they are doing more than their share of giving and taking
  • The partners talk to each other in a respectful way, hearing each other out

On the other hand, the power & control wheel is all about controlling a partner using anger, threats, intimidation, manipulation and/or violence. The person who does this is often insecure and fearful, immature, and is probably mimicking behaviors that they saw growing up.

Some of their behaviors may include:

  • Emotional abuse: Swearing, using put-downs, name-calling, playing mind games, etc.
  • Accusing your partner of things
  • Using physical or psychological violence
  • Using intimidation
  • Using threats: “You’ll be sorry if you don’t do as I say”
  • Manipulation: “I will kill myself if you leave me”
  • Using violence and promising to never do it again, then doing it again
  • Withholding affection to punish
  • Using the silent treatment
  • Flirting with other people in front of you
  • Talking about how attractive other girls or guys are in front of you
  • Controlling who you talk to
  • Controlling where you go
  • Acting like they are more important than you are

If you experience any of these negative behaviors from your partner, ask yourself if you want to stay in a relationship like that. You are important and you need to take care of yourself. You need to set your boundaries. Be aware that violence and abuse usually get worse as time goes by; things rarely improve.

The big question is: what kind of partner would you like to be with? You decide what kind of person you want to be with. Don’t choose a partner based on looks alone; base your decisions on their behavior.

Take your time to get to know someone. These decisions are important. Don’t fall into the trap of being with the first person that approaches you. Take your time and pay attention, and above all, do not make excuses for someone’s abusive behavior.

Article provided by Yellowknife Victim Services