Episode 37: Holiday series - "How Do I Know That My Partner is Purposefully Keeping Me from Others?"Support the show
Today, as part of our winter holiday series, we’re talking about what it looks like when your romantic partner simply doesn’t get along with your family and friends, and, on the other hand, when your partner is purposefully keeping you away from your support system.
This is Jessica Skultety, Community Outreach Associate at Safe+Sound Somerset, Somerset County New Jersey's lead domestic violence response organization, providing services at no charge for survivors of dating and domestic abuse for over 40 years.
Today's question from local teens is: “How do I know if my partner is purposefully keeping me away from family and friends?”
Last week, we talked about what happens when parents don’t accept teen romantic relationships. So this week we’re looking what happens when your partner doesn’t get along with your family or friends, and what the difference is between not getting along versus isolating you and purposefully keeping you from them. There’s a difference between typical family drama and abusive isolation from your support system.
Whenever holidays come around, relationships can change or take new steps, right? So, for example, you might introduce your partner to family or friends for the first time. Or, maybe these people get to know your partner a little better.
It’s true that people don’t always get along. Sometimes our romantic partners have different personalities or views from our friends or family. It happens all the time and it’s understandable and normal. If this is true, your partner might try to stay away from some of these holiday gatherings. You could try and work with this person and compromise – and maybe the two of you set aside some time to spend just together, alone. Maybe you go to some of the holiday events without them. That’s okay.
A totally different situation can happen, too. Whether or not your partner gets along with or likes your family or friends, your partner might try to keep you away from them. This is different from what we just talked about, and it’s not okay. In a healthy relationship, remember, both people should be spending time with others outside the relationship. So you should be spending time with other people who care and love you apart from your partner.
If your partner is purposefully keeping you from others, and isolating you from your support system, they might say things like, “Oh, that person doesn’t like me, you shouldn’t hang out with them anymore,” or, “If you really loved me, you wouldn’t go see them.”
To keep you from people, your partner might go on your phone and block people’s numbers without your knowledge, or delete text messages or voicemails of people checking up on you. Your partner might also put you down when you’re with your family or friends – they might call you names, make fun of you, or try to manipulate or change the way these people see you. They might also try to turn you against your friends or family, or turn YOUR FAMILY against YOU.
None of those things are okay, and it sounds like this person is trying to isolate you from your support system of family and friends. This is a sign that a relationship is taking an unhealthy or even abusive turn. You should feel supported by and lifted up by the person you’re dating, not embarrassed, put down, or isolated from family and friends. Trust your gut and your instincts – if something feels wrong here, you’re probably right. Remember, you don’t have to be in any relationship you don’t want to be in.
Call or text the S+SS 24/7 confidential hotline at 866-685-1122 for supportive listening and information.
Want to “Ask Ava” a question? Visit our website at www.safe-sound.org/ask-ava. Thank you for listening today. Join us next time here on Ask Ava.