Is your relationship a danger to your future?

Relationships play a huge role in our lives. Your partner can either be a positive or negative influence on you, depending on their values. Ultimately, a healthy relationship needs to have a good impact on you and not interfere with your future goals. Here are a few signs that your relationship is not healthy for you or your future.

It enables substance abuse

If you and your partner’s idea of fun always includes getting drunk or high, then your relationship is not very healthy. When you and your partner enable each other to abuse substances, you are compromising each other’s future. Substances like alcohol and drugs have a lasting impact on your physical and mental health. They can also increase your chances of contracting STIs since you are more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviour when you are under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.

If you and your partner both have a substance abuse problem, then it’s important to seek help individually and focus on dealing with your issues separately. You will also need to be careful of partners and friends who try to pressure you into taking drugs or drinking alcohol as this is a sign that they don’t care about your wellbeing or your future.

It makes you feel worthless

Does your partner belittle you or make you feel worthless? Having a partner who insults you, shuts you down or makes you feel like you don’t matter can really affect your self-esteem. This can start with little things like commenting on your appearance, comparing you to other people or just saying mean things to you.

Relationships are not supposed to strip you of your confidence or make you doubt yourself. It’s really important to notice the things your partner says and walk out of any relationship where you are not treated with love and respect.

Safe sex is not prioritised

A partner who cares about you will not refuse to use protection during sex.  Someone who cares about your future will always protect you and themselves from STIs and unwanted pregnancy by using a condom during sex and not having multiple sexual partners. They will be open to getting tested for STIs, including HIV and will not pressure you into having sex before you are ready.

A loving partner also doesn’t put pressure on you to use contraceptives like the pill or injection – they respect your right to make choices when it comes to your body.

There’s abuse

Abuse in a relationship doesn’t have to be physical, it can also be emotional, mental and sexual. That’s why it’s important to always look out for red flags – for example if your partner feels entitled to your time, threatens to harm you or is constantly jealous and controlling. Sexual abuse involves things like stealthing, rape and trying to coerce and manipulate you into having sex with them. You don’t owe your partner sex in a relationship, Choma, you are allowed to refuse (with or without a reason) and a partner who loves you won’t try to force you into doing it.

Remember, abuse is never your fault and you can get out of a relationship if it’s abusive. The most important thing is to recognise the signs and get help.

A healthy relationship will encourage you and your partner to bring out the best in each other and ensure that you both become the best versions of yourselves. Don’t be afraid to walk out of a relationship that is not healthy and may have a harmful impact on your future.

If you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Messagea Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).