Couples who live together often bicker about day to day routines. It is normal to argue/disagree with your partner about whose turn it is to do the washing up, getting the children to school, or what you're making for dinner. This is healthy conflict between partners. It is often hard to tell when you are in an unhealthy relationship and a lot of people do not know that they are in one until after the relationship breaks down. Even then coming to terms with the full extent of the traumatic events that have happened can take a long time to process.

Some important issues that are common in abusive relationships are as follows:

Jealousy 

Do you always have to tell your partner every little detail of your day including who you spoke to and for how long? Does your partner constantly accuse you of flirting with other men/women? Do you feel you can't have a conversation with the opposite sex without feeling guilty about it, or knowing that your partner will get upset or angry if you do?

Belittling/demeaning

Does your partner constantly belittle you in front of friends and family? Do you get told constantly that you are doing everything wrong? Does your partner make you feel not good enough about yourself or worthless? Can you communicate how you feel about this to your partner or would this make him angry? Do you find yourself not speaking up due to your partner's response and then being blamed for not saying something?

Physical abuse

Has your partner ever threatened to hurt you physically and/or used his size to intimidate and threaten you? Have they ever slapped, kicked, punched, choked, pinched or thrown an object at you? However minor or big this incident(s) was, it is not right.

Sexual abuse

Has your partner ever forced or coerced you to perform sexual acts that you are not comfortable with? Has your partner ever had sex with you against your will? Has your partner ever put you down and belittled you sexually? Has your partner ever threatened to leave you if you don't have sex with them or threatened to have sex with someone else? Has your partner ever forced or coerced you to watch pornography even if you are not comfortable with it? It is not OK and may be sexual assault or rape. You have the right to your own body and no one should force you to do anything you don’t want to do.

Some other questions to think about

Has your partner ever tried to stop you from seeing a friend or family member? Or made it so uncomfortable when you see them that you don't see them any more?

Has your partner ever hurt or killed or harmed a pet/ animal? Or threatened to?

Has your partner ever stopped you from having your own money/financial income? Or made you account for every penny?

Has your partner ever destroyed your possessions? 

Has your partner ever followed you or checked up on you? 

Are you afraid of your partner?

Has your partner ever tried to control you by forcing you to drink too much or take drugs?

Has your partner ever tried to prevent you from leaving the house?

If any of the above points ring alarm bells for you it is important that you seek advice. Talk to SAFE or ring the National Domestic Violence helpline 0808 2000 247.