Healthy Relationships:

Non-Threatening Behavior

  • Talking and acting so that your partner feels safe and comfortable doing and saying things


  • Listening to your partner non-judgmentally
  • Being emotionally affirming and understanding
  • Valuing opinions

Trust and Support

  • Supporting your partner’s goals in life
  • Respecting your partner’s right to his or her own feelings, friends, activities and opinions

Honesty and Accountability

  • Accepting responsibility for self
  • Acknowledging past use of violence and/or emotionally abusive behavior and intentionally changing those types of behaviors
  • Acknowledging infidelity and repenting of that behavior
  • Admitting being wrong when it is appropriate
  • Communicating openly and truthfully, acknowledging past abuse, seeking help for abusive relationship patterns

Responsible parenting

  • Sharing parental responsibilities
  • Being a positive, non-violent role model for children

Abusive Behaviors:

Using Isolation

  • Controlling what your partner does, who he/she sees and talks to, what he/she reads, where he/she goes
  • Limiting your partner’s outside involvement
  • Demanding your partner remain home when you are not with them
  • Cutting your partner off from prior friends, activities, and social interaction
  • Using jealousy to justify your actions
  • (jealousy is the primary symptom of abusive relationships)

Minimizing, Denying and Blame Shifting

  • Making light of the abuse and not taking your partner’s concerns about it seriously
  • Saying the abuse did not happen, or wasn’t that bad
  • Shifting responsibility for your abusive behavior to your partner, i.e.: I did it because you ________
  • Saying your partner caused it

Using Children

  • Making your partner feel guilty about the children
  • Using the children to relay messages
  • Using visitation to harass your partner
  • Threatening to take the children away

Using Male Privilege

  • Treating your partner like a servant
  • Making all the big decisions
  • Acting like the master of the castle
  • Being the one to define men’s/women’s roles or the relationship roles

Using Economic Abuse

  • Preventing your partner from getting or keeping a job
  • Making your partner “ask” for money
  • Giving your partner an allowance
  • Taking your partner’s money
  • Not letting your partner know about or have access to family income