Maybe you are wondering where your previous relationships went wrong or are wondering how your current relationship rates. There are five key factors that are essential in determining safety in a relationship; physical safety, emotional safety, mental safety, community safety, and commitment safety. With these elements firmly in place your relationship is headed in the right direction to grow into a strong, healthy, loving relationship where each person is valued and loved. Without these your relationship is on dangerous ground which, if left unresolved, could lead to heartache and pain.
Use this guide to determine the safety of your relationship. Keep track of your answers to get the overall score at the end. 1=Not Safe, 2=Somewhat Not Safe, 3=Somewhat Safe, 4=Very Safe
PHYSICAL SAFETY. Physical safety in a relationship means that your body is safe from physical endangerment. In a safe relationship you do not need to worry that any physical harm will come to you as a result of your partners actions, emotions or desires.
Signs of Unsafe Physical Relationships: Your partner hits, shoves, or grabs you. Your partner intimidates you with threats of violence or punishment. Your partner throws objects or punch walls. Your partner forces you to engage in sexual acts that you are uncomfortable with. Your partner intentionally destroys things that are important to you. Your partner acts violently out of anger or intoxication.
Signs of Safe Physical Relationships: You feel relaxed and comfortable around your partner. You are not concerned that your partner might explode. You do not need to assess your partners emotional state before engaging with your partner. You do not feel threatened or intimidated by your partner.
How physically safe is your relationship? 1 2 3 4
EMOTIONAL SAFETY. To be emotionally safe in a relationship you must be free to express all kinds of emotions. In emotionally safe relationships you are loved regardless of how you feel. Your partner understands that you are a whole person with variety of feelings which may be different from his or hers, and your partner allows you the freedom to express your emotions without fear of retaliation.
Signs of Emotionally Unsafe Relationships. Your partner makes fun of you if you are scared or becomes angry at you if you are angry. Your partner calls you names or belittles you. Your partner ignores your feelings of being sad or hurt. Your partner gets irritated when you are happy. Your partner tries to make you jealous or hurt your feelings.
Signs of Emotionally Safe Relationships. Your partner consoles you when you are sad. Your partner listens to you when you are angry, upset or stressed. Your partner rejoices with you when you are happy or excited. Your partner allows you to express a variety of feelings without taking your emotions as a personal assault against them.
How emotionally safe is your relationship: 1 2 3 4
MENTAL SAFETY. Mental safety in a relationship refers to an individuals freedom to express their thoughts, ideas and opinions. It also refers to the freedom to grow as an individual through various endeavors. In a mentally safe relationship your partner and you are able to have and express differences of opinion without it destroying the relationship. Differences are valued, considered and discussed.
Signs of Mentally Unsafe Relationships. If you express a different opinion then your partner you are belittled, shamed, or humiliated by your partner. You are fearful to express thoughts or opinions that are different than your partners. You hide your thoughts and opinions from your partner to avoid arguments. You do not discuss topics that interest you because of the potential negative reaction of your partner. Your partner feels threatened when you express a difference of opinion.
Signs of Mentally Safe Relationships. You are free to express differing viewpoints and feel heard and understood by your partner even if your partner doesn’t agree with your viewpoint. Your partner can challenge your position without belittling you as a person. Your partner tries to engage in topics of interest to you. Your partner encourages you to grow and learn in areas of interest to you and values you sharing your knowledge in those areas.
How mentally safe is your relationship: 1 2 3 4
COMMUNITY SAFETY. To be in a safe relationship you will need many community supports. Community supports refer to the people who value and support you as individuals and as a couple. It also refers to having enough systems and resources available to you so that you can receive help in areas of weakness or need.
Signs of an Unsafe Community for your Relationships. You are isolated from your family or friends. You do not belong to any community activities such as church, community centers, sports, or clubs. You have no mutual friends with your partner. You have no “couple friends” that you regularly do things with. You have no access to financial resources or any place you can turn if you come on hard times.
Signs of a Safe Community for your Relationships. You and your partner each have a set of close friends that you can share your life with, who know you and will hold you accountable, love you and tell you the truth. You have mutual friends with your partner that you do things with and you are comfortable being with them and around them. You can interact with your partners family and get along with them. As a couple you are involved in activities in your community and church. You have a support system developed for if you come on hard times, people who you can turn to and rely on to help you whether it be financially, or for advice, or other practical support such as babysitting or pet sitting.
How safe is your community for your relationship: 1 2 3 4
COMMITMENT SAFETY. Commitment safety involves the level in which you and your partner are invested in the success of the relationship and of each other as individuals. You are committed to each other and are willing to work through areas of struggle. You encourage each other to grow as individuals and as a couple and have strong boundaries around your relationship.
Signs of Unsafe Commitment. There are two kinds of unsafe commitments; one is extreme control. In this type of unsafe commitment your partner wants to keep you stagnant from growth. Usually this is done out of fear of you growing and leaving them. It is characterized by things such as your partner being jealous of any and all interactions with others that you may engage with. Your partner insists that all your free time is spent only with them. Your partner forbids you to share details of your relationship with anyone else. The other type of unsafe commitment is loose boundaries. Your partner regularly flirts with others or tries to make you jealous. Your partner regularly engages in activities which you are not invited to or allowed to attend. Your partner discusses private matters with others without your consent or knowledge. Other characteristics of unsafe commitments are a continued presence on dating websites and chat rooms, ultimatums, and threats to leave or divorce you.
Signs of Safe Commitments. Your partner is committed to stay with you in the good and bad times. They limit interactions with others which might make you feel uncomfortable. They include you in their activities and friendships. They talk highly of you to others and don’t discuss personal issues without consulting you first. They don’t threaten to leave you. They make sacrifices for you and don’t hold it over your head. They show you honor and respect publicly and privately. They encourage your growth and see individual growth as both of you succeeding. They are willing to do whatever it takes to work through differences and make you feel safe, loved, and secure.
How safe is the commitment in your relationship: 1 2 3 4
OVERALL SCORING: Very Safe: 16-20, Somewhat Safe: 11-15, Not Safe: 1-10
So now what do you do? You’ve determined the overall safety (or lack there of) of your relationship. Examine your answers. Ask yourself the following questions.
1.) Are there areas in which your are contributing to a lack of safety in your relationship? What can you do on your end to make the relationship a safe one for your partner?
2.) What are some areas you and your partner can grow in? Have them take the assessment and discuss your answers. Together make a plan for improvement.
3.) Is the relationship you are in safe enough to continue to pursue? Do you need to seek help to improve you relationship? Some things you can do are seek professional counseling, take relationship classes, engage the support of a couple that you both admire to mentor you in your relationship. Or perhaps you need to leave the relationship? If you need to leave the relationship make a plan of how you can do it safely with your support systems that you have in place.