We all know that the New Year is a time of fresh starts, goal setting, and determination for things to be different than they have been in the past. Have you set your goals for year 2020? Things you want to achieve, places to go, habits to keep? Probably so. Most of us have, and I bet you’ve even thought through some relationships goals- the type of person you want to be with, characteristics desired.

Reality is, no one ever dreams of being in a relationship that is dangerous, toxic or unhealthy; however, many of us still have found ourselves in that situation. It usually doesn’t start out that way- many things that we later realize were warning signs seemed cute or romantic when they first started. This is why it is so important that we pay attention when we feel like something is not quite right. No healthy relationship should ever leave you in a constant sense of fear, heartbreak, or the feeling that you are not enough. So in order to achieve positive relationships, let’s prepare by acknowledging a few red flags to watch out for.

First things first, listen to your instinct. If someone is ever making you uncomfortable, nervous, or even just unsure, listen to that. Keep your friends and family in the know, and share with them if you are ever feeling uncomfortable or unsure. Be aware of things that don’t seem normal in a relationship.

One of the biggest signs that can often be misconstrued as someone just wanting to spend a lot of time with you is isolation. When you enter into a new relationship, it is normal to want to spend a lot of time with that person, especially one on one time getting to know each other. That being said, be sure that you are not allowing the other person to isolate you from everyone else who is in your life. Allow for some of your time together to be spent with friends and family, and take caution when you feel that the other person is constantly telling you not to hang out with other people or do activities apart from them. This is not normal and it is imperative that you both still have friendships outside of each other.

Another sign that people will claim is cute, or just being newly in love, is jealousy. We all can become jealous at times, however, jealousy is not something that is “cute” or “romantic”. When the person you are dating begins making jealous comments, have a conversation right away to create some clear boundaries. If this person seems to be upset by this, there are often ulterior motives to their jealousy, and this will create unhealthy habits in your relationship.

Every relationship looks different, and it is important to not compare your relationship to others, but continue to hold high standards for yourself. Before entering any relationship, know that you are enough and worthy of a love that is full of grace and understanding, not one that is controlling and heart breaking. And while every relationship is different, it is often found that signs of abuse and control are all the same. So if you find yourself seeing any of these characteristics in your relationship, reach out to someone and ask them for guidance on how to get out of the unhealthy relationship.

Know that we are always here to serve you at Gateway Women’s Care. Whether you add a layer of stress by questioning, “could I be pregnant?” and need a pregnancy test, or you have no symptoms of being pregnant but you know you need help and are in an unhealthy relationship, you are never alone- we can help. You do not have to stay in a relationship that is causing you harm- physically or emotionally. Call us, we are ready to help.