Luv Stuff | 11/27/2015

It’s my last day working for the National Domestic Violence Hotline and I wanted to share some of what I’ve learned in my two and a half years of helping people in unhealthy/abusive relationships.

A relationship doesn’t have to last forever to be successful. What’s most important is how everyone is treated. If you and another person treat each other well and it only lasts for one night, that’s more of a success than a lifelong relationship consisting of any amount of abuse or control.

A relationship can be between two people, or five people, or ten people. There’s no rule that you have to be monogamous, and it’s okay if monogamy isn’t for you.

It’s okay if you wake up one day and don’t love your partner anymore. It’s not okay to lie about it.

Sometimes people hurt people that they care about on accident. But only you know what is or isn’t a dealbreaker for you. Trust your instincts.

Sometimes people hurt other people that they care about on purpose. And then they blame their partner for it. This is not okay. Anyone that doesn’t have your best interest in mind is undeserving of your time and attention, but it’s okay if it takes a while to realize that.

Sex isn’t currency. You can say no at any time for any reason, and your choice to be affectionate or not be affectionate should never be used against you. Sex is not a bargaining tool.

Marriage, babies, moving in together - these things don’t fix relationship problems. Any problem you have before moving in together or getting married or having kids will still be there after you move in together or get married or have kids. Nothing replaces the open, honest communication that it takes to resolve conflict.

Don’t yell, say your pleases and your thank yous, and take the time to tell your person that you appreciate their decision to be with you. We all know they could have just as easily chosen to be with someone else, and could still do so at any time. Let them know you value the time that they’ve chosen to spend with you.

It’s okay if you don’t agree on everything. It’s not okay to make a partner feel badly about disagreeing with you. Everyone deserves to be heard and to have their feelings respected. Respect doesn’t require agreement.

There are no guarantees when it comes to another person. Whether you’re counting on them to text you good morning or counting on them to stay by your side forever, there are no guarantees. Enjoy what they do give you, and give to them as well.

You deserve to feel safe 100% of the time. Honesty shouldn’t compromise your safety. A relationship shouldn’t compromise your safety. Love shouldn’t compromise your safety.

People are not possessions. No one owns anyone else. Your body and your things are yours and only yours, and you have the right to protect them in whatever way makes you feel the most comfortable. Anyone that doesn’t respect that is only thinking about themselves.

Accept your partner and their past and the history they’ve had with others, or don’t be with them at all. Instead of resenting them for having loved other people, be glad that other people have been able to experience their love as well.

No one owes anyone a relationship. You can invest all the time in the world into someone, and they can still decide that it’s not right for them, and they’re allowed to do that.

Wanting and choosing to be with someone is more romantic than needing to be with someone.

Relationships are voluntary. If you don’t feel stoked about your relationship, reconsider whether or not it’s right for you. It may have been right for you a year ago, but that doesn’t mean it still is.

No relationship is sure as hell better for you than an unhealthy or abusive relationship.

There’s a certain kind of closure that you can find within yourself. You don’t need anyone else’s permission to move on but your own.

Just because you love someone, and they love you back, doesn’t necessarily mean y’all should be together. And it’s possible and totally okay to end a relationship with someone that you love.

You should still be able to thrive as an individual even when you’re in any kind of a relationship.

The longest relationship you’ll ever have is the relationship you have with yourself. Cherish it, nurture it, invest in it. It’s okay to put yourself first.