Four female friends look relaxed and laugh together while posing for a photo.

What should we be able to expect in our relationships?

Sometimes women impacted by abuse wonder if their expectations are too high. In our experience this is not true. Rather, it seems that over time, abuse lowers a woman’s expectations. For example, she starts out expecting that her partner will respect her feelings but over time he does not and so she gradually lets go of this expectation. As a woman moves forward in her life, whether it is with her partner who is changing or if it is moving out of the relationship, it is important to know what you should be able to expect from your partner. Lundy Bancroft in his book “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” lists the key elements to a healthy relationship:

1) You must be treated with respect.

2) You must feel safe.

3) You should feel loved the great majority of the time.

4) Your relationship should create far more possibilities than it takes away. (Ask yourself, “Is my relationship broadening my horizons, or is it narrowing them?”)

5) You should have passion and intimacy.

You may want to add more to your personal list of key elements but Lundy’s list might provide a good starting point.

Once you have created a list, you can ask yourself, “am I willing to offer these things?” If you are willing to offer it, you should be able to expect it back.


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