Healthy or Not?
Because you will develop many different relationships over the course of your college years and lifetime, it is important to have a core understanding of the characteristics of healthy and unhealthy relationships.
Your relationships with family, friends, and dating/romantic partners should make you feel good about yourself and should not create stress for you. Healthy relationships make you feel safe, physically and emotionally. You should not have to change who you are for another person.
Healthy connections with others have some key foundational elements. Relationships that are healthy include qualities like:
- Respect for one another, including consent
- Open communication
- Equality in decision-making
- Appreciation of individual identities, needs, and interests
- Respect for your boundaries
In contrast, unhealthy relationships involve inequity, power, and control. They lack many of the characteristics bulleted above and can occur between family members, friends, or dating partners. They may be stressful or traumatic. Unhealthy relationships may take up a lot of your time or energy. If you start to notice a relationship is affecting areas of your life such as other relationships, self-care, your schoolwork or other commitments or sleep, it may be indicative of an unhealthy relationship.
Below are some signs a relationship may be unhealthy:
- Manipulation and coercion.
- Pressure to act a certain way or do certain things.
- Verbal abuse (name-calling, shaming, or gaslighting)
- Physical or sexual abuse
- Demanding of the other’s time
- Someone in an unhealthy relationship may become isolated from friendships, family, and activities they used to engage in
- There may be stress or a fear of the outcome if you don’t agree with the other person.
- There may be a loss of autonomy—feeling like you have to explain yourself, where you have been, where you are going.
- There is no respect for boundaries.
- and more.
If you are concerned at all about any of your relationships, or a peer’s relationship please speak to someone in your campus counseling center or another trusted staff.
There are a few great resources available to online or by phone listed below:
Trained peer advocates are available 24/7/365 to offer education, support and advocacy to teens and young adults, as well as their concerned friends and family members who have questions or concerns about their dating relationships. Also provides information about dating abuse to service providers, counselors, teachers and members of law enforcement.
Love is the most important thing in our lives, yet we are taught very little about it. One Love is on a mission to change that. OneLove educates young people about healthy and unhealthy relationships, empowering them to identify and avoid abuse and learn how to love better. One Love was founded in honor of Yeardley Love: A young woman who tragically lost her life at 22. Her death was completely preventable. Our mission is to make sure that it doesn’t happen to others.
Highly-trained advocates are available 24/7/365 to talk confidentially with anyone experience domestic violence, seeking resources or information, or questioning unhealthy aspects of their relationship.