Whether romantic, friendly or familial, healthy relationships are mutually supportive and beneficial to the individuals that are a part of them. An individual in a healthy relationship has self-respect, and s/he honors the strengths in the relationship, acknowledges weaknesses in it, and is open and direct in her/his communication.
Recognizing an unhealthy relationship
It is important to know the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships. Some core signs of a healthy relationship include:
- Mutual respect
- Open and direct communication, without fear of manipulation or reprisal
- Emotional intimacy
- Feeling supported and supporting of the other
- Feelings of security and comfort
- Equal power
- Being able to have your own life apart from each other
- Conflict is resolved respectfully
- Many basic values are shared
- A significant degree of trust and honesty
- Commitment to a healthy relationship
Healthy relationships are not perfect, but these are the kind of relationships that can weather both ups and downs.
Review the Warning Signs of an Abuse Person page. If a relationship is less than healthy, steps can be taken to improve it or end it. Friends, family, and counselors can play a useful and supportive role when identifying an unhealthy relationship.
How do I help a friend in an unhealthy relationship?
- Tell your friend directly that you believe that s/he is in an unhealthy relationship
- Give specific and concrete examples of why you believe the relationship is unhealthy
- Tell your friend that s/he deserves better than to be in this relationship
- Tell your friend you will support him/her in getting out of this relationship
- Suggest counseling
On-campus resources for healthy relationships
- Interactive workshops and firesides are provided on request by CARE staff, SHAPE and the Women’s Center.
- Classes about emotional intelligence in relationships, long-distance relationships and other topics offered through CAPS.