Relationships are a necessary part of healthy living, but there is no such thing as a perfect relationship. Relationships, from acquaintances to romances, have the potential to enrich our lives and add to our enjoyment of life. However, these same relationships can cause discomfort, and sometimes even cause harm (see statistics from the American Bar Association). Take a few minutes to learn more about how to protect yourself from developing unhealthy relationships.
A healthy relationship is when two people develop a connection based on:
All of these things take work. Each relationship is most likely a combination of both healthy and unhealthy characteristics. Relationships need to be maintained and healthy relationships take work. This applies to all relationships; work relationships, friendships, family, and romantic relationships.
A healthy relationship should bring more happiness than stress into your life. Every relationship will have stress at times, but you want to prevent prolonged mental stress on either member of the relationship.
Below are some characteristic that maybe present in your healthy relationships.
At times all relationships will have some of the characteristics listed below. However, unhealthy relationships will exhibit these characteristics more frequently and cause you stress and pressure that is hard to avoid. This tension is unhealthy for both members of the relationship and may lead to problems in other areas of your life.
If some of your relationships have some of these characteristics it does not necessarily mean the end of that relationship. By recognizing how these characteristics affect you, you can begin to work on improving the negative aspect of your relationships to benefit both of you.
If a partner ever tries to harm you physically or force you to do something sexually that should be a clear sign for you that it is an unhealthy relationship. In that situation, you should consider getting help, or ending the relationship. Even if you believe the person loves you, it does not make up for the harm they are doing to you.
Other circumstances include:
Having a counselor or mental health provider to talk to can help you work out challenges in your relationships and find a solution that is healthy for both partners. Hall Health Mental Health Center has counselors who may be able to help. If you need help urgently about your relationship, contact the Sexual Assault and Relationship Violence Information Service (SARIS).
24-hour National Domestic Violence Hotlines (7 days a week)
National Bilingual Hotline: (800) 799-SAFE (-7233)
Go Ask Alice (Columbia University)
Quiz: How Healthy is Your Relationship? (www.loveisrespect.org)
Ten Tips for Healthy Relationships (Kansas State University Counseling Center)
Am I in a Healthy Relationship? Nemours Foundation. April 2008. Available at: http://www.uwec.edu/counsel/pubs/bhr.htm. Accessed on: February 12, 2013.
Building Healthy Relationships. University of Wisconsin-Eua Claire Counseling Services. Available at: http://www.uwec.edu/Counsel/pubs/selfhelp/bhr.htm. Accessed on: February 12, 2013.
Gottman's Relationship Tips 101. The Gottman Institute. Available at: http://www.gottman.com/49804/Self-Help-and-Tips.html. Accessed on: February 12, 2013.
Healthy Relationships. The University Health Center, University of Georgia. Available at: http://www.uhs.uga.edu/CAPS/relationships.html. Accessed on: March 30, 2009.
Fair Fighting: The Art of Managing Differences in Intimate Relationships. University of Florida Division of Student Affairs. Available at: http://www.counseling.ufl.edu/cwc/fair-fighting-in-intimate-relationships.aspx. Accessed on: February 12, 2013.
Ten Tips for Healthy Relationships. K-State Counseling Services. Kansas State University. Available at: http://www.k-state.edu/counseling/topics/relationships/relatn.html. Accessed on: March 30, 2009.
Wellness Tips, Fair Fighting Rules. Southwest Institute for Addictive Diseases. Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. Available at: http://www.ttuhsc.edu/centers/SWIAD/eap/wellness/fairfight.aspx. Accessed on: March 30, 2009.
Authored by: Hall Health Center Health Promotion staff
Reviewed by: Hall Health Center Mental Health Clinic staff, January 2014