Valentines is not always a bed of roses
Roses, chocolates and a romantic violin playing the love theme from Romeo and Juliet - the perfect setting for Valentine's Day today.
But despite the hearts and flowers there are those in relationships where they feel uncomfortable, unhappy and even afraid. This type of relationship is not healthy.
Before you accuse me of being a kill-joy, let me say that this blog isn't about pouring cold water on what can be a warm, fuzzy feeling type of day for many couples who care for each other and whose relationship is healthy. The purpose of this blog is to highlight relationships which are wrong, and, if you feel you are in one of those, how you can get help.
So what is an unhealthy relationship? Signs to look out for include:
A partner who makes you feel bad about yourself
One that ridicules you and calls you names
A boy or girlfriend who tells you how to dress, think and feel
One which controls who you talk to, checks your texts, emails and social media
A partner who does not agree to compromise - it must always be their way
One who threatens you
And... somebody who hits or physically hurts you in anyway
It's worth noting that these points don't just apply to romantic relationships - they apply to all relationships we have through our lives - with parents, families, schoolmates, friends and work colleagues.
In an unhealthy relationship there is often one person who seeks to control the other. Controlling behaviour can take the form of physical, verbal or emotional harm. Whereas a health one should look like this:
A partner should make you feel good about yourself
A boy or girlfriend should value your opinions
A relationship should be a positive experience for you and your friends and family
A partner should help you to succeed and should be respectful of you, your friends and your family
Overall, a relationship should be equal and respectful. Nobody has the right to ask you to do something that you don't want to.
If you are about to enter in to a new relationship or are suspicious of your partner's past and you want to know more about them, don't forget the Domestic Abuse Disclosure Scheme - known as Clare's Law - which enables you find out more about them. Under Clare's Law, you can make enquiries about a partner, or the partner of a close friend or family member whose behaviour may be causing concern.
I hope you have a wonderful Valentine's Day today and that you are wined, dined and spoilt.
But please be mindful - if you or a friend feel unsafe or there is something not right about your relationship, tell someone.
You can report to the police by calling 101, 999 in an emergency, or anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Other help agencies include: Relate.org, Victim Support. For younger people Fearless.org and/or Childline on 0800 1111.
Wiltshire Police has also produced a leaflet to help. It can be found below.
Published on Friday 14 February 2020.