Relationships exist on a spectrum. This graphic created by www.loveisrepsect.org outlines the behaviours that occur in healthy, unhealthy, and abusive relationships.
Open, honest and safe communication is a fundamental part of a healthy relationship. The first step to building a healthy relationship is making sure you both understand each other’s needs and expectations. Part of effective communication in a relationship is the ability to navigate conflict in a healthy way.
Here are some tips from www.therapistaid.com to help communicate effectively and respectfully during disagreements with your partner:
Creating boundaries is a helpful way to keep your relationship healthy and secure. By setting boundaries together, you can both have a deeper understanding of the type of relationship that you and your partner both want.
Boundaries are not meant to make you feel trapped or like you’re “walking on eggshells.” Creating boundaries also is not a sign of secrecy or distrust — it’s an expression of what makes you feel comfortable and what you would like or not like to happen within your relationship.
Remember, healthy boundaries shouldn’t restrict your ability to:
Setting boundaries is an important part of any relationship, whether your relationship is casual or more serious. Both partners should feel comfortable honestly communicating their needs without being afraid of what their partner might do or say in response. Talking about your boundaries with your partner is a great way to make sure that each person’s needs are being met and you feel safe in your relationship.
If your partner tells you that your needs are stupid, gets angry with you or goes against what you’re comfortable with, then your partner is not showing you the respect you deserve.
Some helpful tips about setting healthy emotional, physical, and digital boundaries in your relationship can be found here.
Relationships that are not healthy are based on power and control, not equality and respect. In the early stages of an abusive relationship, you may not think the unhealthy behaviours are a big deal. However, possessiveness, insults, jealous accusations, yelling, humiliation, pulling hair, pushing or other abusive behaviours are attempts to gain power and control over another person.
Power and Control Wheel
Remember that you deserve to be respected. There is no excuse for abuse of any kind.
Dating abuse is a pattern of destructive behaviors used to exert power and control over a dating partner. It can happen to anyone, regardless of age, race, gender, sexual orientation or background. Drugs and alcohol can affect a person’s judgment and behavior, but they do not excuse abuse or violence. Alternatively, if a person uses drugs/alcohol it does not mean they deserve abuse or assault.
Dating violence can be:
If you think your relationship is unhealthy, it’s important to think about your safety now. Consider these points as you move forward:
Even though you cannot change your partner, you can make changes in your own life to stay safe.
Please visit our Supports page for information on supports you can access on-campus and off-campus through other community agencies.