Health Topics

Healthy Relationships

Relationships can come in many shapes and forms. We have romantic relationships, familial relationships, friendships, co-worker relationships, and many more. Oftentimes, it can be difficult to determine whether or not a relationship is healthy or unhealthy. It is important to remember that every relationship is different and each one comes with different challenges. No two people are the same and in turn no two relationships are the same.

Click here for additional resources about healthy relationships: Healthy Relationship WellFacts Sheet

Healthy Relationships

The focus of healthy relationships is to create a nurturing and loving environment. Below are common factors in a healthy relationship:

Mutual Respect 

Valuing the opinions of each person in the relationship and listening to each other in a non-judgmental way. 

 Trust & Support

Respect each other’s goals in life and show value and interest in what your partner is trying to accomplish. Overcome issues of jealousy through positive communication.

 Honesty

Accept your personal actions and admit to past faults while maintaining open, truthful communication.

 Fairness & Negotiation

Be willing to compromise in any given situation in an effort to accomplish goals that satisfy both partners.

Separate Identities & Respect Differences

Respect each other’s right to their own feelings, friends, time, activities, and ideas.

 Good Communication

Be honest with yourself and your partner about what you are thinking or feeling.

 Forgiveness

Being willing to admit your own faults, apologizing, and forgiving the faults of your partner’s past

 Fighting Fair

Settling points of conflict in a constructive way free of criticism, judgment, and assumptions.

 

Unhealthy Relationships

Unhealthy relationships also have factors that indicate the relationship is not in a good place or that there is the potential for abuse. It is important to recognize the signs of an unhealthy or abusive relationship and take action. Below are some of the common factors seen in an unhealthy relationship:

Isolation  When a partner seeks to control where you go, what you do, or who you spend time with. They will use jealousy to justify actions and make you try to believe that they are the only one who cares about you.
Intimidation When a partner instills fear in a relationship making you afraid of doing certain things. Using weapons, abusing pets, destroying property, and yelling are all forms of intimidation.
Physical and/or Emotional Abuse When a partners seeks to put you down through mind games, hitting, pushing, humiliation, and/or guilt
Using Coercion or Threats Making and/or carrying out threats including physical violence, suicide, or leaving to cause harm and manipulate actions
Minimizing, Denying & Blaming When a partner makes light of the abuse and does not take it seriously, shifts the blame to the victim, or denies the abuse ever took place

 

Expectations

Every person enters into a relationship with an idea of what they want. These expectations are set by the media, personal observations of other people’s relationships, family upbringing, and past relationships. While being honest about expectations can give a relationship a good framework and provide clarity for what each individual is seeking, unrealistic expectations can cause conflict in relationships and make them unsatisfying.

 

Dealing with Conflict

No relationship is perfect. Every relationship experiences conflict at one point or another. In fact, some conflict can actually be a sign of a healthy relationship. A relationship without any conflict or disagreement might indicate one-sidedness and potentially be abusive. It is important to understand relational conflict and how to deal with it appropriately.

  • Understand each other's family patterns of resolving conflict
  • Choose he appropriate time to resolve the conflict
  • Establish an atmosphere of emotional support
  • Clarify your message and communicate wants/needs
  • Discuss one thing at a time
  • Listen and don't interrupt
  • Make the ultimate goal the success of the relationship
  • If needed, agree to disagree and move on

10 Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Relationship

  1. Be aware of wants and needs

  2. Keep expectations realistic

  3. Be flexible

  4. Be dependable

  5. Fight Fair

  6. Be willing to negotiate and compromise

  7. Work to accept differences between you and your partner

  8. Try to see thing’s from the other person’s point of view

  9. Be affirming

  10. Be yourself

 

For more information please email healthed@smu.edu