In the month of February, many people celebrate Valentine’s Day and love. But for those who are struggling with their relationship, or for those in unhealthy relationships, it can be a difficult time. Counselors at Missouri Ozarks Community Health say when beginning a new relationship, it’s important to create healthy boundaries. “Don’t play into the “honeymoon” phase,” said April Moody, Licensed Master Social Worker at MOCH. “It is incredibly important we vocalize our boundaries to those with whom we are in a relationship. Yet, it is also essential to discuss what will happen immediately after those boundaries are crossed.”
Carla Trick, a Licensed Professional Counselor at Missouri Ozarks, said balancing a healthy relationship with the other demands of life can be tricky. She urges people to “check in” with their partners daily. “A 20 second hug every day can cement a relationship,” said Trick. “Taking time every day for a meaningful conversation, even if it’s just a few minutes, can make a big difference.
Counselors at Missouri Ozarks Community Health said it’s also important to recognize when a relationship is unhealthy. The signs of an unhealthy relationship can include:
- Keeping secrets from a partner to avoid conflict
- Not being allowed or encouraged to have outside relationships or interests
- Feeling we must give up more of ourselves to keep the peace
- Not taking the time to listen to our partner or not feeling heard
- Not admitting there are relationship issues
If you feel that your relationship is unsafe, it’s also important to seek help.
And Moody encourages people to remember that “the most important love we have starts with ourselves.” Trick said if you’re single this Valentine’s Day, spend some time doing something you enjoy. “Focus on positives, instead of what is missing,” said Trick.
For help navigating a potentially dangerous relationship:
The Victim Center: (417) 864-7233
To make an appointment with a counselor at Missouri Ozarks Community Health, you must first set up an appointment with a medical provider, who will then make a referral. You can reach the clinics at Missouri Ozarks Community Health at the numbers below:
- Ava Clinic: (417) 683-5739
- Gainesville Clinic: (417) 679-2775
- Mansfield Clinic: (417) 924-8809
- Cabool Clinic: (417) 962-5422
- Mountain Grove Clinic: (417) 926-1713
- Houston Clinic: (417) 967-0772