Tag Archives: healthy relationships

Safe or Unsafe?

Woman looking out window
Are you in an unhealthy or potentially dangerous relationship? Get help today. Contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

Are you safe in your relationship? What makes a relationship healthy? Or what makes it unhealthy and even potentially dangerous?

Healthy relationships are built on mutual trust, honest communication, and respect for one another. This is true in romantic relationships, friendships and family relationships. Trust, honesty and respect are needed in any type of relationship we humans have with one another.

Valuing these key ideas is especially necessary in romantic relationships.

Six signs that your relationship is healthy:

  • You and your partner encourage each other’s outside interests and hobbies.
  • You enjoy time with other family or friends without your partner.
  • You don’t worry that your partner will be upset or will be constantly checking up on you while you’re apart.
  • You’re able to discuss the normal, natural disagreements that occur in all relationships in a way that feels safe and open.
  • You both feel heard and respected.
  • You have gotten to know each other well before moving into an intimate relationship.

In unhealthy relationships, one or both partners put his/her wants and needs first. Respect, honesty, and trust for the other person come second. Boundaries are crossed, whether they be physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual.

Six signs that your relationship is unhealthy:

  • You or your partner tend to be possessive and controlling of the other. The controlling partner usually keeps the other away from finances, outside hobbies or education. He or she may keep the other secluded from other people.
  • You or your partner or both of you insult, humiliate, demean or bully the other.
  • You or your partner or both of you attack the other physically. One or both of you may pull hair, push, shove, hit or more severely injure the other.
  • Your relationship may have started out idyllic. You or your partner thought nothing could be better.
  • You quickly became intimate without each getting to know the other person well.
  • You or your partner or both of you coerce or force the other to have sex when the other doesn’t want to or to perform sexual acts he/she does not want to perform.
Domestic Violence Awareness
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Let’s take this opportunity to consider key indicators of healthy and unhealthy relationships.

It is vital to be aware of the warning signs of unhealthy relationships. According to loveisrespect.org, females between the ages of 16-24 experience the highest rate of partner violence –almost triple the national average.

Based on a 2010 report by the CDC one in three women and one in four men have experienced rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.

These are staggering statistics. We are all impacted by domestic violence and intimate partner violence and abuse.

You almost certainly know a friend, co-worker, classmate, or family member that has been affected by domestic violence and abuse.

We all pay into the yearly cost of more than $8.3 billion due to domestic violence.

We all have a responsibility to recognize and do something about domestic violence and abuse.

If you see something concerning in your own or a loved one’s relationship, seek help and talk to someone you trust.

Check out these resources or contact us at 608-259-1605: (Safety alert: Computer use can be monitored and is impossible to leave completely clear.)

Loveisrespect.org (support for teens and young adults)

National Domestic Violence Hotline  or call 1-800-799-7233

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

5 Ways to Get Ready for Prom

Are you making plans for prom? Prom is a night for a young woman to get dressed up and look, feel and be beautiful. Whether you’re headed to prom with a date or with friends, it can be a night to do something special and have fun with those around you.

Got big plans for prom
Make decisions so that your prom is a night you look back on as a night that was fun. A night where you were living as the beautiful person you want to be. And then enjoy getting dressed up, dancing and having fun with the people around you.

While you’re doing your nails and your hair and putting on your fancy dress, take a few moments to think about what really makes you beautiful. Is it your nice dress, makeup and hair or is it who you are on the inside?

As women, we like to feel beautiful. And it can be a lot of fun to spend the afternoon getting everything ready. But at the end of the night, what really matters?

Your dress and your figure might get you a date. And how you act or dress could get you noticed. But, while being noticed feels nice, deep down, you want to be valued for who you are as a person – not used as someone’s eye candy or plaything.

If you want to be cherished for the value you carry on the inside, consider these five things as you prepare for prom:

  1. Be kind. Be kind to your date and to your friends. But also be kind to the person you’ve only passed in the hallway, that girl you don’t really even like or the guy who is not popular. Kindness wins friends. It says that you are a person of beauty who values other people and isn’t only kind to get what you can get.
  2. Consider how you dress. If you’re not comfortable with what your dress reveals, consider what you could pair with it to cover what you want covered. Do you want to be seen as an object to be used? Or do you want a guy to have a conversation with you, valuing who you are on the inside?
  3. Stay away from drugs and alcohol. You want to remember this night and to have it be special. Drinking or doing drugs make it less likely that you’ll remember what happened – and they make it harder for you to make the decisions you want to make.
  4. Pre-decide your boundaries. It’s much easier to stick to a decision you made earlier – when your emotions and hormones were not involved – than to make your best decision in the heat of the moment. Check out 7 Reasons to Not Have Sex on Valentine’s Day. The same things are good to consider before prom.
  5. Stay safe. Ride with people you know and trust. Don’t ride with anyone who has been drinking. Don’t let someone (even your date) pressure you into going somewhere you don’t want to go or doing things you don’t want to do.

Overall, do things you won’t regret next week – or next year. Make decisions so that it really is a night you look back on as a night that was fun. A night where you were living as the beautiful person you want to be. And then enjoy getting dressed up, dancing and having fun with the people around you.

Feel like it’s too late for you? Get in touch with us to meet with someone about developing healthy relationships or to get tested for STDs or pregnancy. We offer pregnancy testing and STD testing for women in Madison, Wisconsin — free of charge.

Request an Appointment

7 Reasons to NOT Have Sex on Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is all about romance. Roses, chocolate and sex are big items of the day. But if you’re not in a long term committed relationship (marriage), you would do well to think again about having sex to celebrate the day. Stick with the roses, chocolate and a romantic dinner.

Here are seven reasons why postponing sex until you’re ready to say, “I do” is a good idea:

  1. Sex can become a substitute for healthy communication. When you decide to wait a while before you’re sexually active, you give yourself and your partner time to learn how to communicate well. You’ll have space to learn how to navigate conflict without leaving the emotional connection behind. According to Mark Regenerus, Phd, couples who “prioritize sex promptly at the outset of a relationship often find their relationships underdeveloped when it comes to the qualities that make relationships stable and spouses reliable and trustworthy.”
  2. Having sex with a person develops deep bonds in your brain. Having sex with one person and then having that relationship end and starting again and again hurts. It hurts emotionally and part of this is due to the connections your brain has formed.
  3. If you wait to have sex, you won’t have other memories to deal with when you enter the bedroom after you get married. Further, a 2010 study reported in the Journal of Family Psychology that couples who wait until marriage are happier with the quality of sex than couples who have intercourse before their vows.
  4. Refraining from sex lets you enjoy life without the fear of an unintended pregnancy. An estimated 15% of couples with “typical” condom use will get pregnant within the first year. This is reduced to 3% for “perfect” condom use. (Dr. Fitch on Condom Effectiveness: 2013 Update)
  5. Without sex, you are free from the fear of sexually transmitted diseases or infections. STDs are at an all-time high. According to the CDC, Young people aged 15-24 acquire half of all new STDS. Further, one in four sexually active adolescent females has an STD, such as chlamydia or HPV.” While “perfect” condom usage may reduce risk, for STD prevention there is a significant difference between always use and typical use. Most research indicates that condoms are ineffective or substantially less effective at reducing STD risk if they are not used for every act of intercourse. According to the CDC, the most reliable ways to avoid transmission of STDs are to abstain from sexual activity, or to be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner.
  6. You know that your partner loves you for who you are and not for what you can do for him or her. The man (or woman) you want to be with will respect you for sticking to your standards.
  7. No regrets. Rarely does someone say, “I wish I would have had sex with my boyfriend/girlfriend sooner.” But it is common for a person to wish they had waited longer. Some people wish they’d waited to be sexually active until they were with the person who would cherish, love and respect them for the rest of their lives. Researchers from the 2010 study said “the longer a couple waited to become sexually involved, the better that sexual quality, relationship communication, relationship satisfaction and perceived relationship stability was in marriage …”
Be mine: Roses and chocolate
This Valentine’s Day what if he’s ready for sex, but you’d rather stick with the chocolate and flowers? You have the freedom to choose.

This Valentine’s Day, what if he’s ready for sex but you’re not? You have the freedom to choose.

In a healthy relationship, both people seek to be friends. They focus on getting to know each other and enjoying shared activities along the way. Physical involvement follows relational and emotional connectedness. Sex is treasured and reserved for a lifelong committed relationship.

You have the freedom to choose sex now or to save sex, beginning today, for the person who commits to love and cherish you for the rest of your life.

To talk with someone confidentially, call or text us at 608-259-1605. If you are concerned about your sexual health or want to talk, contact us. Make your appointment for STI/STD testing for women in Madison, Wisconsin today.

Request an Appointment

Five Things Every Woman Needs (Whether She Has a Significant Other or Not)

Whether or not you are in a relationship, there are five things you need to be your best self and to be a great friend, girlfriend or wife.

Be Confident in yourself. Focus on your skills and talents. Work hard and be proud of what you accomplish. Don’t compare yourself to other women, be it in boyfriends, beauty, clothes or anything else. Never ever feel that your worth needs to come from someone else, such as popular friends or a boyfriend.

Be Self-Reliant. Just like your worth doesn’t come from anyone else, your life should not be dictated by anyone else either. Asking advice from friends is good and healthy, but don’t let anyone else run your life. You need to make your own decisions and figure out what you want to do and where you want to go with your life. Ask yourself – Are you happy with your life? What do you want to change? How do you want to direct your life to make it different?

Good girlfriends
Having some good girlfriends can help you be your best self.

Have some good Girlfriends. Whether you have a boyfriend, fiancé or husband or are single, you need some good girlfriends. If you need to vent or need good advice, go to them. If you want a friend with whom you can watch chick flicks and paint toenails, they’re the ones you go to. If you are in a relationship with a guy (or when you are), make sure that you make time for your girls. Don’t be a clingy girlfriend, ditching all your other friends and demanding all your boyfriend’s attention. Keep up with your own group of friends. Your boyfriend, your girlfriends and you will all appreciate it.

Have your own opinions and beliefs. This goes along with being self-reliant and is quite self-explanatory. Think about what you value, read about and consider issues and ideas. Figure out what you personally believe and find important. Not what your friends believe, not what your family believes, not what your boyfriend believes, not what is popular to believe, but what you believe. You need to believe things for your own reasons. Having your own ideas and rationale will make you stronger. It will make it easier for you to follow your own conscience and be confident in yourself, instead of second guessing yourself and your beliefs — or going along with what other people think.

Last but not least, you need Something You Enjoy Doing. Find an activity or a hobby that you enjoy and do it. As busy as you are – especially when you are in a relationship – make sure to take some time to do something for yourself. Take some “me time.” This is a great way to make sure that your life doesn’t get overly tied up in someone else’s and to relax and enjoy yourself.

A Secret to Transform Your Relationship

After the birth of our second child, my husband and I struggled. Our relationship got harder as the demands on our time multiplied. During this time, we learned a “secret” that was part of what transformed our relationship.

This remarkable idea was that each person feels and expresses love primarily in one or more of five different ways. I would clean our house and make a nice meal to show that I loved him. But what he needed was to hear my affirmation. He would say something positive about me and I would thank him and feel appreciated. But I didn’t return the affirmation and I secretly wanted him to be helping me more with the dishes. We were missing each other. It was a formula for both of us feeling like we weren’t very connected, wanting to be and not knowing how to get there.

Discovering the Five Love Languages made all the difference. It helped us to both begin to feel loved again. We learned how to express love in a way our spouse could easily receive it. We also worked together to figure out ways we could spend more time with each other, even with the demands of parenting two children. And in the midst of it, we both grew and learned to receive love in multiple ways.

Couple thinking
Wondering how to express love in a way your partner feels loved? Learning the Five Love Languages could be a great step!

If you’re parenting alone or with your partner, discovering love languages could be one step to help you. Learning your primary love language, and the love languages of your current or future partner, could be a tool to make your relationship and parenting work.

The Five Primary Love Languages that were made popular by Gary Chapman, based on earlier research, are:

  1. Words of Affirmation – If words of affirmation is your primary love language, you feel most loved when someone tells you things like, “I love you” or “You look great today!” or “I’m so glad to have you as a friend.” The words are so significant.
  2. Acts of Service – Actions speak louder than words if your primary love language is acts of service. It is incredibly meaningful and speaks love to you when someone does your laundry or takes out the garbage.
  3. Receiving Gifts – Some people feel most loved when someone gives them a gift. Gifts can be as simple and inexpensive as a wildflower picked along the roadside, a handmade card or a candy bar. What matters is the love behind the gift.
  4. Quality Time – If your primary love language is quality time, what matters most to you is when the person you love spends time with you. You crave his or her undivided attention. You can do activities that you both enjoy, like going hiking or playing tennis. What’s important is that you both know you’re doing it to be together, not to become world class tennis players.
  5. Physical Touch – A pat on the shoulder, a hug or having your special someone reach out to hold your hand speak volumes of love to the person whose primary love language is physical touch. The physical contact is of supreme importance and speaks love beyond words.

Want to learn more about the Five Love Languages or ready to discover yours? 5lovelanguages.com has a quick assessment, free of charge, to help you discover your primary love language. There are also information and resources to help.

Whether you are in a relationship now or wanting to start your next relationship off on the right track, give it a try. Learning your love language, and being able to discover the love language of your partner, could be an important step toward having a great relationship!

Looking for Mr. Right?

Are you looking for “Mr. Right?”

Often we think that if we just find the right person, life will be great. But what if Mr. Right turns out not to be so “right” after all? Or what if he’s mostly looking for what he can get from you? And truth be told, you’re looking for what you can get from him too?

Men might be looking for sex. Women might be looking for companionship and intimacy. Maybe you’re looking for sex too. Or maybe sometimes you feel used and like you’re missing something.

Everyone wants healthy relationships, but sometimes we are not sure how to get there or what a healthy relationship looks like.

First, you need to be safe. If you’re in an unsafe relationship, get help. Call 9-1-1 in an emergency – or text us if you need help in figuring out where to go or how to get out.

Second, instead of focusing on looking for the right person, or holding on to him no matter what, focus on becoming the right person. Are you someone you would want to spend time with? Are you trustworthy? Work on communicating in a way that is loving and truthful.

Third, create healthy boundaries. You are valuable because you are a human being. Do not just go along with what someone else wants because you’re trying to hold onto the relationship. If you want to wait for sex, don’t go to his apartment at the end of a date.

Fourth, consider your values and goals. Don’t compromise your values and goals for a relationship.

In a healthy relationship, both people seek to be friends. They want to get to know each other and enjoy shared activities along the way. Physical involvement follows relational and emotional connectedness. Sex is treasured and reserved for a lifelong committed relationship.

Sometimes in a relationship, this ordering may get turned upside down. Early physical involvement may stunt the growth of emotional intimacy. Sex may substitute for learning more about each other’s personality, goals and character. When conflict or pain arises, it may be easier to turn to sex than to work through issues and grow together.

It does not have to be this way. You have the freedom to choose sex now or to save sex, beginning today, for the person who commits to love and cherish you for the rest of your life.

Interested in talking with someone about this? Text or call us at 608-259-1605.


Welcome to First Care Clinic, one of the most trusted women’s health clinics in Madison, WI for over 30 years!

Our medical professional provide compassionate medical care, free of charge and confidentially. If you are experiencing signs of pregnancy, pregnancy symptoms or thinking about abortion, call us.

We are available to discuss your options, listen to your concerns and answer your questions.

We also offer STI/STD testing and treatment for women, diagnostic ultrasound and pregnancy and parenting education.

To make an appointment, call or text us at 608-259-1605.

And visit our new blog to find up to date information related to pregnancy, sexual health, healthy relationships, abortion, community resources and more.