Friendly reminder team, we’re nearing 2020 and you know what that means for our society? It means that we’ve figured out how to land a spacecraft on Mars but some of us still haven’t figured out how to treat each other like actual human beings with worth.
It’s definitely not the norm to be in an abusive relationship – but we need to be careful about what we’re doing and what we consider to be abuse. As we now know, it’s not always physical, nor is it always black and white, and many people may be acting in such a way without even knowing it.
So, here are some pretty basic scenarios that you might not immediately think are entirely wrong, but are wildly unacceptable. Be wary.
MAKING DECISIONS ON BEHALF OF YOUR PARTNER
Just gonna stop you right there, this isn’t directed at couples who love to refer to themselves as ‘we’ as they discuss their love for bird watching in matching outfits. As painful as that is for outsiders to listen to, it’s overall harmless.
No, it’s very much intended to address people who limit their partner’s agency – what they spend their money on, who they hang out with or even what they want to do with their career. You might be in a relationship, but that in no way means you have a say over what the other half does.
CASUALLY POINTING OUT YOUR PARTNER’S FLAWS
As a general rule of thumb, people are usually taught from a young age not to make fun of others for their appearance or otherwise. Somewhere along the line though, certain people forget this when they get into a comfortable relationship.
If you’re casually pointing out your partner’s flaws, even if you think it’s in jest, you’re attacking their self-worth and whittling down their self-esteem, which is an awful thing to do to someone you supposedly care for – or anyone, really.
GOING THROUGH YOUR PARTNER’S PHONE
You know what’s totally fine? Couples showing each other memes. You know what’s bang out of order? Looking through your partner’s phone without their permission.
It goes without saying that such an invasion of privacy is never okay – people use their phone for pretty much everything and most people don’t want to share every detail of their personal life to anyone and that’s their decision to make.
MAKING FUN OF YOUR PARTNER’S RELIGION
We’ve all experienced an uncomfortable situation where we hear an off-colour joke about someone’s religion – likely, the person whose beliefs (or lack of belief) comes into question never exactly finds it a barrel of laughs for obvious reasons.
That whole concept is gross enough but when it’s your partner whose beliefs you’re attacking, you’re questioning their faith and casting doubt across what they believe in. Keep it to yourself.
USING YOUR PARTNER AS THE BUTT OF A JOKE
Just as making fun of someone’s religion is always off limits, putting down your partner for the sake of a cheap laugh is just as shit as you could be playing into their insecurities or just making them feel generally unloved or uncomfortable.
If you’re really that unfunny to the point where you rely on belittling your partner for amusement, maybe brush up on some stand-up sets to get some pointers.
If you want more info on non-physical abuse, head to Our Watch’s No Excuse For Abuse campaign.
If you or someone you know has experienced any kind of abuse, sexual assault, domestic or family violence please call 1800RESPECT or visit www.1800respect.org.au.
If you feel you are in any kind of danger please call 000.