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Faith Jenkins Discusses Relationship Red Flags, Yellow Flags, And Green Flags At CrimeCon
The host of "Killer Relationship With Faith Jenkins" revealed what signs indicate you're in a healthy romance.
Relationships often start off magical, but just because two people initially connect doesn't mean the romance can't take a dark turn.
Faith Jenkins, a former Wall Street litigator, prosecutor, "Divorce Court" presiding judge, and host of Oxygen series "Killer Relationship With Faith Jenkins," knows that all too well. Jenkins recently spoke about the signals a relationship has gone wrong and what you can do to protect yourself in a conversation with Oxygen digital correspondent Stephanie Gomulka for CrimeCon: Give Back-a-Thon, a livestream event hosted by television personality and true-crime investigative journalist Stephanie Bauer.
"Every relationship is different, but there are a few key signs that I think would indicate a green light. Number one, I think, is a healthy respect for boundaries," Jenkins said. "You know when you're in a relationship, you're depending on one another for support. It's a symbiotic relationship, but also you don't want to be too dependent on another person. So you also want to bring a healthy sense of independence to the relationship. ... And at the end of the day, it's about being a team and being able to resolve conflict in a way that moves the relationship forward."
Of course, there are also possible "yellow lights" in a relationship — a sign that it may not be the most emotionally healthy situation for someone, but that it can be turned around with intervention.
"When I hear people start talking about walking on eggshells in their relationship, it becomes a little concerning to me. You should be able to communicate when you like something and you don't like something in an emotionally mature way. When fear becomes involved ... that's when I'm looking at some yellow lights here," Jenkins explained.
However, there are some definite "red lights," where a relationship is clearly becoming toxic. That's when it's really time to revaluate where you stand with someone, Jenkins said.
"A relationship is not about controlling another person. When you're in a relationship with someone, you don't own the other person. You're in a partnership. It's not your job to change somebody else and to make them into who you want them to be. When someone is afraid or they're approaching conversations with trepidation, those are true red flags to me that the relationship is not progressing to a healthy place," she told Gomulka.
At this point, it's time to consider leaving, a process which can be slow and difficult.
"Well, first, I think it's an important step that this person has made the right decision if they're in a toxic or unsafe relationship to leave because it's not easy. Often, we hear people say, 'Why don't they just leave?' Well, there are a lot of dynamics that are in play when a person has been financially dependent for their entire family to the abuser," Jenkins said. "There are a lot of resources available to them. There are crisis hotlines.There are domestic violence shelters, there are job training programs, there are even childcare opportunities available out there. Take advantage of those resources because you don't have to make this exit completely by yourself. You can have the support and you need the support."
During her conversation with Gomulka, Jenkins also discussed why she thinks "Killer Relationship With Faith Jenkins" strikes a chord with Oxygen True Crime viewers.
"People want to know what happens when things go really wrong. Why is it that in these cases, a divorce isn't enough, [a] separation isn't enough? Why is it someone else has to die — because you're looking at people who were once in love. How does it go from that to, in the end, someone being killed?" she said. "One of our mandates is to be so supportive and to help these families. As an attorney, I volunteered my time to an organization that helped domestic violence victims. ... Doing the show is really an extension of a lot of that work that I started."
If you or a loved one are in need of help and would like to learn more contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. You can also text the phrase “LOVEIS” to 22522 to communicate with an advocate by text or contact them via chat on their website.