Communication is key to building a healthy relationship. The first step is making sure you both want and expect the same things; being on the same page is very important.
The following tips can help you create and maintain a healthy relationship:
Speak Up. In a healthy relationship, if something is bothering you, it’s best to talk about it instead of holding it in.
Respect Your Partner. Your partner's wishes and feelings have value. Let your significant other know you are making an effort to keep their ideas in mind. Mutual respect is essential in maintaining healthy relationships.
Compromise. Disagreements are a natural part of healthy relationships, but it’s important that you find a way to compromise if you disagree on something. Try to solve conflicts in a fair and rational way.
Be Supportive. Offer reassurance and encouragement to your partner. Also, let your partner know when you need their support. Healthy relationships are about building each other up, not putting each other down.
Respect Each Other’s Privacy. Just because you’re in a relationship, doesn’t mean you have to share everything and constantly be together. Healthy relationships require space.
Healthy Boundaries Creating boundaries is a good 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 want. Boundaries are not meant to make you feel trapped or like you’re “walking on eggshells.”
Creating boundaries 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 the relationship.
Remember, healthy boundaries shouldn’t restrict your ability to:
Healthy Relationship Boosters Even healthy relationships can use a boost now and then. You may need a boost if you feel disconnected from your partner or like the relationship has gotten stale.
If so, find a fun, simple activity you both enjoy, like going on a walk, and talk about the reasons why you want to be in the relationship. Then, keep using healthy behaviors as you continue dating.
What Isn't a Healthy Relationship? 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 behaviors are a big deal.
However, possessiveness, insults, jealous accusations, yelling, humiliation, pulling hair, pushing, or other negative, abusive behaviors, are at their root exertions of power and control.
Remember that abuse is always a choice and you deserve to be respected. There is no excuse for abuse of any kind.
If you think your relationship is unhealthy, it's important to think about your safety now. Consider these points as you move forward:
Understand that a person can only change if they want to. You can't force your partner to alter their behavior if they don't believe they're wrong.
Focus on your own needs. Are you taking care of yourself? Your wellness is always important. Watch your stress levels, take time to be with friends, get enough sleep. If you find that your relationship is draining you, consider ending it.
Connect with your support systems. Often, abusers try to isolate their partners. Talk to your friends, family members, teachers and others to make sure you're getting the emotional support you need. Remember, our advocates are always ready to talk if you need a listening ear.
Think about breaking up. Remember that you deserve to feel safe and accepted in your relationship. Even though you cannot change your partner, you can make changes in your own life to stay safe. Consider leaving your partner before the abuse gets worse. Whether you decide to leave or stay, make sure to use our safety planning tips to stay safe.
A safety plan is a personalized, practical plan that can help you avoid dangerous situations and know the best way to react when you’re in danger.
If you’re experiencing abuse or are in an unhealthy relationship, you should create a safety plan. Whether you decide to end the relationship or stay, it’s a good idea to empower yourself with the knowledge of how to act in different scenarios.
Create a safety plan using the link below. www.loveisrespect.org/pdf/SafetyPlan_College_Students.pdf
As friends and family members, you can help someone in an abusive relationship make a safety plan using the tools above. Try to remember:
Listen and be supportive. Even when you don’t understand or agree with their decision, don't judge. It can make them feel worse.
Connect them to resources and information in their area.
Don’t post information about your loved one on social networking sites. Never use sites like Facebook or Foursquare to reveal their current location or where they hang out. It's possible their partner will use your post to find them.
Allow the person you're trying to help to make up their own mind. Leaving an unhealthy or abusive relationship may be difficult and even dangerous. Avoid blaming or belittling comments. Abusive partners usually put down their victims regularly, so your loved one's self-esteem may already be low.
Don't give up even though helping can be frustrating.
For free, confidential support regarding all relationship concerns, Counseling and Psychological Services is here to help you. Call 610-902-8561 to schedule an appointment, or stop by Founder's Hall Room 95 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.
The information provided above was adapted from an article on the website www.loveisrespect.org.