‘Tis the season – for romance and love! Valentine’s Day is on the horizon, and with this special day, love seems to be everywhere. Flower shops, stores with candy in heart-shaped boxes, restaurants with “lovers’ specials,” and Hallmark romance movies – you can’t get away from the red hearts, red roses, and red faces of bliss! For some, though, it’s a time of loneliness because one’s sweetheart isn’t so sweet. Does that sound like someone you know?
February is not only Valentine’s Day, but also Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. According to Love is Respect, one in three American teenagers will experience physical, sexual or emotional abuse by someone they are in a relationship with before they become adults. Additionally, according to the organization, 43 percent of college women report experiencing violent and abusive dating behaviors.
Statistics from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence show one in four women and one in nine men in the United States experience intimate partner violence. On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in this country, which, during one year, equals more than 10 million people. In 2014 nearly 2,600 domestic violence incidents were reported to law enforcement in the state of Wyoming; many others went unreported.
We recently wrote a blog post on four signs of a toxic relationship. If you experience any of these, your best choice is to leave. In another post, we provided pointers for having a healthy relationship.
The Good Man Project provides an article written by speaker/writer James Michael Sama on how to know if a man truly loves a woman. As he notes, “Actions speak louder than words.” Such truth is displayed by including you in every part of his life, seeing and accepting the real you, and being there in good times and bad, among other ways.
During this Valentine’s Day week, spend some time evaluating your relationship. Love is great, but remember, it’s a feeling that must result in action. You won’t always feel love toward your partner, and you will likely experience times when you think he doesn’t love you. However, can you get past the feelings (or lack thereof)? What do your actions speak to him? What do his actions speak to you? If he treats you like the special person you are, if he values you, and he shows that in various ways (respect, kindness, compassion, help when you need it), and you treat him the same way, your relationship is probably healthy and positive. However, if the opposite is true – if he demeans, belittles, is violent, selfish, disrespectful, or controlling – then you need to exit the relationship. You are valuable, you are unique, you are special, and you deserve true love.
As Break the Cycle states, “Everyone deserves a healthy relationship.”