It can, often times, be pretty easy to define a physically unsafe relationship.  It is a relationship where one or both partners are hit, pushed, or physically harmed in some way.  It becomes more complicated to determine if a relationship is emotionally unsafe.  Here are some red flags that may indicate you or someone you love may be in a toxic relationship.

  1. I love you, but…This is a huge red flag.  This statement starts out sweet, but it indicates that the love is temporary or can be taken away at any time.  It is a thinly veiled threat and can be used as an attempt to control a person’s behavior.
  2. Name calling and put-downs.  Name calling and put-downs do more than just hurt a person’s feelings.  It can damage the way a person views themselves and lower their self-esteem.  People in healthy relationships build each other up, not tear each other down.
  3. Constantly texting or calling when not together.  This does not refer to the person that sends a “are you okay?” text when you are running 15 minutes late.  This speaks to the person that sends forty-seven text messages in a two hour span when you are out with your friends.  At first glance, some might view this behavior as a sign that their partner worries about them.  However, this is not the action of a caring partner.  It shows a lack of trust and poor boundaries.  This is not cute, it is controlling.
  4. Using social media to control, intimidate, or humiliate you.  This is not okay in person and it is not okay online.  It is disrespectful and controlling to post inappropriate photos of you, monitor what you do online, and attempt to limit your contact with certain people, or put your personal information online for the world to see.    

These are just a few red flags of a toxic relationship; there are many more.  Services are available if you are concerned about your relationship and looking for additional support.  The Family Advocacy Program offers a variety of services ranging from classes, counseling, and victim advocacy.  Contact your local Family Advocacy Program for more information about available services at your local installation.