Healthy vs Unhealthy Relationships

Episode Transcript

Hello, everybody. And welcome back to another episode of if I'm honest with Julia Landauer. I've wanted to talk about healthy versus unhealthy relationships since before I started this podcast, it took me a little while to find a method for delivering this episode. And once I got it and went through it a few times, I started feeling more comfortable with delivering it to you guys. And it just so happens that October is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month. And so the timing of this is aligned with the larger societal discussion that's going on right now. Educating about healthy relationships is a cause that I am very passionate about a strong supporter of, because having a solid, safe and loving relationship, whether it's romantic, or platonic, is critical for our well being and success. And unfortunately, as I'm pretty sure we all know, unhealthy relationships, and even relationship violence are far too common and affect all demographics, men, women, rich people, poor people, people of all races, unhealthy relationships, don't discriminate. And as a part of this episode, I do want to highlight The One Love Foundation and the work that they do, because they educate young people about healthy versus unhealthy relationships. And they're an organization that I have supported for a long time, because I just think the work they do is so important based around seeing those red flags and educating. And so I'll get to their specific work a little bit later. But first, I want to jump into my own relationships. And you know, looking back on them seeing what was healthy, what was unhealthy. And my hope for this episode is that you're able to get some really concrete tips as to what are signs of healthy relationships, unhealthy relationships, how we can be critical of the relationships we're in, and especially if you know someone who might be struggling in their relationship or need a different perspective, I do hope that this can be helpful in that capacity. So looking back on my past romantic relationships, like where where we've gotten to the point of being girlfriend and boyfriend, like that level of commitment, I don't think that I've really had any that have been, you know, actively unhealthy. I've never felt unsafe, or like particularly uncomfortable or controlled or anything. But if I'm honest, while I don't think any were unhealthy, I can look back and recognize some unhealthy elements that either played a part in us breaking up, or are things that grown up me and more mature me wishes I had recognized a little sooner to either have addressed them head on or to have gotten out of the relationship a little bit sooner. I want to share three examples of things that I consider unhealthy elements looking back, you could call them red flags at the time. And I recognized at the time that they made me feel uncomfortable, and I wasn't good with them. But I put up with them. And this is across various exes, or hypothetical exes. If you ask Ben, according to Ben, each other only has hypothetical exes, we are the first significant others in each other's lives. Anyway, I digress. So there was more than one ex that ended up becoming long distance. And it got to the point with each of them where I was pulling teeth to communicate. Now, for me, explicit clear and over communication is an important element of my relationships. It is something that I feel adds to trust, it adds to comfort, I need to feel like I can talk to my partner about anything and that they want to talk to me. And it's something that is just, it's a staple of what I need in a relationship. And so over time with with a couple of these exes, it was getting to the point where you know, not only did I not feel comfortable just giving a call, like I felt like I had to text to make sure they were available for me to talk with them. Whereas like in all my other relationships and friendships, I would just call my friend. On top of that I was or I should say I felt like I was the one that was doing most of the reaching out. And you know, asking if we could talk asking if we could FaceTime initiating the texts. And if you've been in a long distance relationship, you know that you know, how you reach out or trying to communicate with your person is like one of the main ways that you show that you care like that needs to be a two way street. And it wasn't like they wouldn't talk with me once we were talking or you know, on the phone like we still had decent conversations, but they were rarely initiating it. And long distance makes things harder. I totally appreciate that and get that but it shouldn't have been quite like this. And I knew in my gut that it shouldn't have been like that. And with each of these relationships, I brought up that the lack of initiation and communication was bothering me, I brought up specifically what I felt like I needed to feel more secure in the relationship. And it would change for a little bit, but then it kind of reverted back to feeling like I wasn't wanted and appreciated and wasn't being communicated with each time with each of them, I found myself making excuses for them, you know, I was justifying kind of the neglectful behavior. You know, I felt like shit, I felt like I was unwanted. But I was making excuses because I was working hard for the relationship. And, you know, I just dealt with my my feelings of discomfort with not getting the level of communication that I wanted, even though I was explicitly vocalizing that I needed it. And neither of them broke up with me, so my thought process was that they must still want to be together. And so it was worth me being frustrated and uncomfortable, because they clearly still want to be in it. And I kind of wish that I had thought more about the fact that actions speak louder than words. And if your partner is vocalizing discomfort or frustration with something in the relationship, to not see any change is a bit of a red flag. So because I thought that they still want to be with me, and that, you know, maybe my standards were too high. I just dealt with it for a little while. But it got to the point with both of them, where I couldn't sustain the discomfort anymore, I couldn't sustain the unhappiness, I found myself feeling miserable for many hours on end. And when you get to that point, the relationship is no longer net positive. So I did have to break up with them. And it was frustrating by I realized that I, in hindsight, I shouldn't have justified their inaction in trying to find a solution or compromise. And I shouldn't have made excuses for them not not, you know, working with me to figure out if there was a solution that would make me more comfortable and be within what they needed. And so I just felt kind of one sided. So that was one red flag not getting the communication that I needed. The next example of unhealthy behavior that I saw in an ex was that I definitely let get to me a little bit was when an ex judged me, and borderline shamed me for what brought me joy. And the thing that was tricky about this one was that, you know, overall, this guy was really smart, really considerate. And I think was dealing with a lot of his own anxieties and insecurities as well. And none of the shaming or judging was super explicit, or actively mean in tone or anything. But it was things like, you know, I've always enjoyed food, and I always will choose to put my money towards food experiences, restaurants, like that kind of stuff. And so, you know, making me feel bad for spending money on nice restaurants that I wanted to go experience or not wanting to go on those kinds of dates, because he didn't want to. And even though it was something that I really enjoyed, or, you know, being kind of dismissive and judgy of me for associating a Taylor Swift song with our relationship, and the, I don't want to say disgust, but he clearly like, looked down on that. And I realized, like, personality wise compatibility was not there. And he was not a little joyss kind of guy. And so that was something. But again, what was tricky about that was that it wasn't super explicit all the time. And so it was just little attitudes, or looks, or slight tones that were a little belittling, and judgy. And that just, it was something that kind of nagged at me for a little while, and I couldn't figure out why overall, I sometimes felt a little self conscious around him. And that was why, and I didn't like it. So that's the second example. And the third big red flag for me, though it was through jokes and teasing, was when an ex tried to make my friends feel bad. And let me tell you, that was a hard no, that that quickly led to a breakup. And it was earlier in my dating career dating career earlier in my dating life. And so, you know, it was a shorter relationship. But I had a hard no hard line against making people feel bad. I think that is so shitty when you go out of your way to tease and make people feel bad and especially when they've only been nice to you. So as soon as this ex was being mean to one of my friends and then also one of my siblings, that was a clear black and white No, like that was not okay. And I really believed my gut here because I saw that he kind of behaved that way with his own siblings. So, you know, for me that was a little more clear. And I really didn't tolerate that very long but but when your partner makes fun in a nasty way, like in a mean way, I think that's a major red flag, especially if you have a close relationship with your friends, or you like them, or you don't see any truth in how they're treating them or like what that's rooted in. So those are three examples of red flags or unhealthy behaviors that I look back on and recognize in past relationships, the first being, lack of communication, but also lack of effort in trying to problem solve or to find common ground that makes both people in the relationship happy and feeling safe and secure. The second thing is noticing when when your partner is judging or making you feel insecure, and your likes and dislikes. And the last bit is, if significant others treat your loved ones poorly, or in a way that you don't support. That's a really important thing to notice. You know, me now in a super healthy, amazing relationship. I look back on this, I'm like, oh, Julia, this is so clearly like not good enough what you were dealing with in the past, like, no wonder they didn't work out. And I think part of recognizing when things were not good and other relationships is partially age experience, when you realize how good it can be you look back and realize, ah, this was this was lacking a little bit. And so there's no shame in it. That's part of growing up. And that's part of why I think dating is so important, especially in your like, late teens, 20s, learning what you like in a relationship in a partnership, what works for you, what makes you feel uncomfortable and experimenting, and you don't know what you don't know, and you don't know, how people are able to make you feel, and things that things that I thought were part of relationships in movies and fairytales I find with Ben is just, it's really incredible when you get your person that meets all your needs, or if they don't, right away, you know, work towards them with you and that you feel like you both want to help each other be their best and appreciate the uniqueness about them and the quirks even if you don't feel the same way about their likes and dislikes. So anyway, I look back and I realize, you know, there's so many things where now it seems so obvious that they didn't work out. But as I'm sure all of you know, like when you're in the moment, especially when you've put time into a relationship or you feel comfortable or you're getting used to it or you have a lot of really wonderful moments that put you on a high, it can be kind of hard to see when some things are borderline red flags or problematic or need to be dealt with. That's why knowing signs of unhealthy versus healthy relationships is so important. And the more that we can know what is a universal red flag, the more we can be prepared or we can help prepare our kids or our friends or whoever it might be to go into the dating world and find those healthy relationships. Enter The One Love Foundation. The One Love Foundation educates young people about healthy and unhealthy relationships with tools and resources and life saving prevention education so that they can prevent relationship violence. And it was started in honor of Yeardley Love who was a senior at UVA in 2010 when she was beaten to death by her ex boyfriend. And this foundation was started because Yeardley's mom, Sharon Love, looked back and recognized that she saw signs that this was a violent relationship and that it was unhealthy. And if they had been more aware of those signs than they might have been able to prevent Yeardley's death. And so they have dedicated their lives to helping to educate other families and young people about these signs of unhealthy relationships to try to prevent future tragedies. So I have been supporting them since 2016. I have been a brand ambassador I have been a donor I have been at events with them doing the emcee work, as an in kind donation towards marketing, I wrapped one of my NASCAR Pinty's Series cars in One Love branding for one of the races up in Canada in 2019. I really love what they do because they help people identify the things that can potentially lead to unhealthy but then also healthy relationships and they break down their thorough research into 10 signs of unhealthy relationships and 10 signs of healthy relationships. And the earlier that we learn these these key indicators, the better off or relationships will be. So I'm going to start off by going through the 10 signs of unhealthy relationships and then jump to the healthy relationships. So the first sign of an unhealthy relationship is intensity or the speed at which things get intense if it's not what you want. Rushing into being exclusive rushing into moving together rushing into any of these things. If it makes you feel uncomfortable with the intensity and you're getting pushed back to slow down. That can be a sign of an unhealthy relationship. The second sign is possessiveness people or your partner having control over you or trying to control you or trying to have a say in everything you're doing, you know that possessive nature. The third thing is manipulation, trying to convince you that you're wrong or that their way is the right way, or gaslighting. as the kids say, these days, anything manipulative is not good. The fourth sign is isolation. And the feeling of maybe your partner is trying to distance you from your friends or convince you that your friends are bad, or your family is bad, you know, isolating you from your core support system, group of friends, anything like that. The fifth sign is sabotage. And this can take a lot of different forms. But if you feel like there's a sense of sabotaging you or your work, or what you're doing, or efforts that you're going after, that's not good. The sixth sign is belittling. Again, something I know that I've personally experienced, if if your person is belittling you, making you feel bad about what you like, what you do what you believe in, that is not good. The seventh sign is guilting. You know, if someone's trying to guilt trip you or make you feel at fault or blame something that's going on with them on you. That's something that needs to be looked at. The eighth sign is volatility, the up and down the roller coaster, the being really affectionate one day and really angry the next day, anything volatile, that's inconsistent, is something that needs to be paid attention to. The ninth thing is deflecting responsibility when things go wrong, if they've messed up if they've done something that you don't like putting the blame on someone else, or you or whatever it might be, is not good. And the last line that the One Love Foundation points out is betrayal. If you are betrayed by your person and you you know that like that is definitely a sign of an unhealthy relationship. And a lot of these signs may play in with each other. And you might have a combination like someone might be trying to isolate you while also making you feel guilty while also manipulating. There are a lot of ways that this can play in and so if any of these things are things that you've recognized in your relationships or in friends, relationships, or families relationships, it might be worth the conversation. So again, it's intensity possessiveness, manipulation, isolation, sabotage, belittling, guilting volatility, deflecting responsibility or betrayal. On the flip side, The One Love Foundation has also identified 10 signs of a healthy relationship. And if you see these things that should be a reassuring green flag for you, as you're developing a relationship. The first thing is a comfortable pace. I don't think there's one comfortable pace that universally works for everyone. Some people want to date for a while I have a friend who dated her now husband for over five years, and they moved in many years into that. Whereas Ben and I, we kind of moved in within a few months of dating and it worked out for us, but doing the pace that feels comfortable for you. Trust is the second sign of a healthy relationship. I think being able to be comfortable not looking in phones, I think looking in your partner's phone in a snooping way isn't great. And I think that having trust in that having trust in going out with friends that I think in a relationship partners should be able to have their own activities in their own life and not feel jealous. Honesty is a third sign and being honest in your feelings in in your opinions in your likes and dislikes and your worldviews and values, honesty around those is very important. The fourth sign of a healthy relationship is independence. So kind of what I mentioned already, but having your own life, feeling like you're not codependent feeling like you can function in the world without them even if the world is better with them in their having that sense of independence. The next sign is respect and really admiring your person and believing in what they're doing and having respect for them. Equality is the next sign. And I think this can take a lot of different forms, like whether it's equality in how you take care of your home or equality in how you support each other or equality and how you divide when you want to do things for you versus for them. Equality and feeling on the same level and playing field is really important for healthy relationship. The next sign is kindness. And I think that is something that's a little underrated, but it's super important. Taking responsibility owning up to what you've done or what you are going after, or maybe actions that didn't go as you wanted. That is the eighth sign taking that responsibility and owning up to things. The ninth sign that I think will be interesting for some people is that healthy conflict is really a good sign of a healthy relationship. Because with healthy conflict, it means that you can address an issue you can address the disagreement, and you know that you have the trust to work through it, and that you will discuss it and figure out a solution instead of walking away. I think when, when you're nervous about pissing off your partner, angering them in a way that you feel like you can't address conflict, that's a bad thing. So if you are able to address it, and you feel like okay, we will work through this. That's healthy. And the last thing that I really appreciate that The One Love Foundation points out for a healthy relationship is fun. Your partner should make you have a good time should make you laugh should be enjoyable to be around and have fun with. So as a quick recap, the 10 signs of a healthy relationship, according the one love Foundation are having a comfortable pace in the progression of the relationship. trust, honesty, independence, respect, equality, kindness, taking responsibilities, healthy conflict and fun. At the end of the day, you'll know if someone is into you, they'll text you, they'll call you, they'll want to see you, you won't have to chase, you won't be confused, you won't wonder if they're into you. I firmly believe that if someone's into you, you will know they will make it clear that they are into you. They will make you feel safe, they will make you feel secure, they will make you feel rooted. And we each deserve to feel loved, and to feel wanted and to feel respected and supported by a partner. And we can each obviously improve in any given relationship. And self awareness is important and your relationship with people is a journey. But we should want to grow with each other. And we should want to make each other feel good. We should want to uplift our friends or partners or good relationship, all of that. Because like, what's the point of dedicating our time or our lives to a partnership that isn't elevating us as well. As I mentioned earlier, I think most of my relationships were pretty good overall, nothing ugly. But meeting Ben and developing a relationship with him really opened my eyes to how secure and joyous and empowering a relationship relationship can be. When you and your partner are actively working towards being the best partner for your person and helping them be their best and really giving each other what you need. And it doesn't have to be hard. It doesn't have to be agonizing. I think that feeling that safe. Comfort is really important for a relationship. And if I'm honest, I get nervous thinking about raising girls. Because I think there is so much ugliness and toxicity. And while unhealthy relationships don't discriminate, you know, women are victims of unhealthy relationships and domestic violence at a higher rate. I think it's tough for men and boys too. Don't get me wrong. I think growing up in the world is challenging. But I personally get nervous about raising girls. And I think my parents did a great job. And I never, you know, I felt like I was fairly in control of my dating life. And I felt safe. And I felt like I was responsible. And I think my parents did a great job preparing me for the world of dating. But I can't scared thinking about whether I'll do a good job at preparing my future kids for protecting themselves in the dating world. And I was talking with one of my friends about this. And she made the point that what kids see at home, and the behaviors that they see between their parents will be their standard for what they consider normal and for what they expect out of their own relationships. which I hope is right, it did make me feel better. And I think about that in terms of how I'm hoping that Ben and I go into our future life together. Have a really setting the example of what is good, what is caring what is nurturing what is safe, what is secure. In summary, it is really important to not only be aware for ourselves, but to educate younger generations and people we care about of the signs of healthy versus unhealthy relationships. I want to again give a special shout out to the one love Foundation. They do incredible work. If you want to learn more about them. I'll put these in the show description but the joinon is their website. That's j o i n O N e L O V They are also join one as in the number one love on Instagram, Twitter tiktok they have so many videos available. I will put that again in the description but I highly encourage you to take a look. They do programs in schools they do programs with sports teams, in addition to their 10 signs for healthy and unhealthy relationships. They have workbooks and pamphlets and videos on their website. All of these materials are easily accessible. If you know someone who might benefit from looking through these, I highly encourage you check them out and share those resources that are free for all. And that's our show. Thank you for tuning in. Thank you again to The One Love Foundation for your incredible work. If you liked this episode, please leave a review please subscribe to the podcast share this with someone who would benefit from it. I think everyone would benefit from knowing the signs of healthy versus unhealthy relationships. We all deserve to be loved. Thank you for letting me be honest with you and I will see you next week.