It’s Valentine Week – if you couldn’t tell already by the sappy social media posts and lovey-dovey couples around campus. This is a great week to acknowledge the love you have for a significant other, family member, friend and/or yourself. Loving yourself is extremely important if you are single or in a relationship, and sometimes you need to assess your relationship and decide if it is healthy and bringing you true happiness.
Recognizing that you might be in an unhealthy relationship isn’t easy, especially during February when love is in the air. The day following Valentine’s Day is actually Singles Awareness Day, intended to recognize how there’s nothing wrong with being single and that there are many benefits to being unattached to someone. Above all, being single allows you to focus on yourself, achieve personal goals and do things you might not necessarily get the chance to do while with a significant other – especially if they are intentionally holding you back.
The best way to realize and observe how a relationship has become unhealthy is to step back and reflect on how the relationship started and how it has evolved over time. If the relationship has led you to become a person with less good qualities than bad, your significant other has most likely been doing more harm than good in your relationship with them.
Some personal changes that are affected in an unhealthy relationship include your standards or boundaries, goals and your forgiveness. It is very easy to get caught in an unhealthy relationship when part of your personality is changing because the physical relationship might not look to be changing.
The most important aspect of being in a relationship is communication, and without qualities of happiness (confidence, self-love, determination, etc.), communication isn’t as effective. When these aspects of yourself are changing, it’s important to make sure they are changing on your terms not your significant other’s.
The reason getting out of a relationship isn’t easy is because of power, and even the hope that things will change. As hard as it is to let go of the instances where you felt happy and loved in a relationship, recognizing the warning signs of an unhealthy relationship is crucial. If you feel like you are in an unhealthy relationship and need help, resources are available on campus including Counseling & Wellness Services in room 222 of the IWC where you can either stop in or call 507.457.5330 ahead of time.
(Written in part by Allison Mueller)
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