I choose love and respect There is nothing like being with someone who you really want to be with. However, intimate relationships can also be tricky – how do you know if your relationship is healthy? Your partner may be behaving in a way that gives you a feeling that things are just not right. Feelings like you are walking on eggshells – being told what to wear, who to see and where to go. Sometimes that behaviour can be so subtle you hardly notice it but gradually it gets worse. To be in a healthy relationship means you are happy and safe. Ok, you may not be happy 24/7 and you both have stuff to work through, which you can do through respectful communication, trust and compromise – but you need to feel safe. To love someone is to respect them and everyone, without exception, deserves respect. You cannot have love without respect- but what does that look like? What makes a relationship healthy and what makes it abusive? How common are abusive relationships? What are the warning signs? How do you help yourself or help a friend? What if you are the person hurting someone else? It can be hard seeking help – you want to sort it yourself – you may not trust your friends not to share all your story and other people may not understand. You don’t want to get your partner/boyfriend/girlfriend in trouble. You feel you can change your BF/GF/partner. You feel if you do something different things will get better. You may be worried your community will blame you. Remember, you have the right to feel safe all the time. You have the right to respect. You have the right to choose who you spend time with. It is not your responsibility to change someone else – you are not to blame for someone else treating you badly, hurting you or treating you with disrespect. If you want to help your friend remember it is not your responsibility to fix things for them – you can give them support and information but you cannot make it better for them. The following links can give you support and information to help yourself or a friend. Get the facts – Get help - Choose love AND respect.