Emotional safety is just as important as physical safety in relationships. Be sure that any relationship you enter into meets the following criteria so you stay safe. If you find yourself not meeting the following criteria in your relationship, RUN.
I Am Myself
Sometimes it is easy to fall into a relationship where you can’t be yourself. Maybe you changed so that you can catch or impress that someone who caught your eye. Maybe it feels so good to have someone or anyone care about you in that way that you’re willing to sacrifice who you really are. You may even feel like they won’t love you for who you truly are if you let them see that real parts of you. If you’re in a relationship like this, RUN FOR THE HILLS. Do you really want to spend the rest of your life pretending? Is it worth it to give up the true inner parts of who you are? These kinds of relationships are built on shaky ground. They usually do not last, because when you look close, it was all built on a lie. A true and healthy relationship consists of two people who love each other for who they really are, no caveats or exceptions.
I Feel Safe Expressing My True Feelings/Emotions
We can’t get through life without experiencing negative emotions. We all get sad, mad, frustrated, embarrassed, angry, lonely, depressed, and more. We will face these emotions countless times in our lives and in our relationships. It’s normal and good to experience these emotions and we have to be able to share them with the people we are close to. In your relationships you should be able to express how you’re truly feeling without fear of what will happen if you say the “wrong” thing. For example, I should be able to say to my husband, “I feel sad when you put your work over our family” without fear that he will react badly. My partner should make me feel safe enough to know that I can be honest in my emotions whether they be good or bad.
I Can Make My Own Decisions
Manipulative relationships are extremely common. You should feel in any relationship that your decisions are your own and that you are not being pressured into them by your partner. Your partner should genuinely listen to your concerns, doubts, and fears without trying to change them for his or her own gain. Some people disregard or twist their partner’s feelings to control behavior. If you sense that this is happening in your relationship, get away. Being controlled is not romantic or desirable and is very dangerous in relationships.
Take time to honestly consider if you feel emotionally safe in your relationship. There are countless stories of heartbreak, abuse, and tragedy that could have been avoided if only the signs of emotional abuse had been recognized before things went too far.