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Tips to Build Healthy Relationships This Valentine’s Day

Heart-shaped boxes of chocolate, red roses, and candlelit dinners are all things that we associate with Valentine’s Day. But for many survivors of domestic violence, Valentine’s Day can evoke less than celebratory feelings.

This Valentine’s Day, let’s remember to celebrate the act of building a healthy relationship:

1. Set and Communicate Boundaries

Setting boundaries helps create a safe and respectful environment where both partners feel comfortable and valued. Decide what you find acceptable and unacceptable behavior within a relationship and communicate this to your partner. At the same time, respect your partner’s boundaries and talk openly about your needs and expectations. For example, if your partner criticizes your family member, and it makes you uncomfortable, it’s within your right to ask them to stop. They should respect your boundary. If you do not feel comfortable setting boundaries with your partner, reflect and meditate on why this is, as there may be a power imbalance to consider.

2. Prioritize Self-Care

Setting boundaries and prioritizing self-care go hand-in-hand. In many relationships, it can become challenging to maintain a sense of individuality separate from the partnership. As a result, it can be hard to see yourself beyond the two of you as a couple. Practicing self-care is unique to you. It can be any activity that promotes your physical, mental, and emotional self. It can be as simple as setting aside alone time, being with your friends without your partner, or any private time where you feel most comfortable. If you find it difficult to practice self-care within a relationship, it’s possible that your partner is trying to isolate you to be dependent on them. And this can give them power over the relationship, and you. 3 Understand How to Handle Disagreements and Conflict

3. Understand How to Handle Disagreements and Conflict

In every relationship, it is normal for there to be issues that lead to disagreements and conflict. However, what is important is how the couple treats each other during the disagreement, how it’s solved, and what happens next. It can be a one-time discussion or a series of conversations. If you hesitate to raise an issue because you’re scared or worried of your partner’s reaction, it might be a sign of abuse. Insulting or belittling behavior during conflict is a form of emotional abuse and is not a healthy way to solve an issue. Your partner should never make you feel afraid to express yourself.

4. Recognize Signs of Abuse

Relationships are unique and can also be complex, but they should never create harm. If it feels impossible for you to use any of these tips, it is important question the relationship and what is keeping it together. Signs of abuse can vary from person to person, but are generally physical, emotional, psychological, and financial. They can include the threat or act of physical violence, being forced or pressured into unwanted situations or actions, and limiting or cutting off relationships because of harmful threats. If you recognize one sign, it is possible that there may be more. For a more detailed list of signs of abuse, visit

5. Seek Support

If you are struggling in your relationship or have experienced abuse or trauma, it is important to seek support from trusted sources. Reach out to friends, family members, or professionals who can provide guidance and assistance. Remember that you are not alone, and there are resources available to help you navigate difficult situations. For over 45 years, Safe Horizon has been helping survivors in New York City move from crisis to confidence. We offer crisis counseling, emotional support, assistance with finding Domestic Violence Shelters, and much more.

  • Experts are available 24/7: Call our Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-621-HOPE (4673).
  • SafeChat, our online platform, is available Mon. – Fri. 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. To chat with an advocate, visit
  • If you need resources outside of New York City, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233.

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