Healthy and Unhealthy Relationships

What’s a healthy relationship?

Relationships are different for everyone, and differ by people’s experiences, needs, abilities and personalities. But here are some signs of a healthy relationship:

  • All partners feeling safe
  • Admitting your mistakes
  • Listening to your partner(s)
  • Practicing equality
  • Affection and intimacy that feel good and safe for everyone
  • Expressing your feelings
  • Being honest
  • Being encouraging of your partner(s)
  • Being supportive and understanding
  • Disagreeing in a respectful way
  • Being respectful of boundaries
  • Practicing good consent

What’s an unhealthy relationship?
Some relationships start out feeling really good, but over time one or more people in the relationship start to feel unhappy. While it is natural for people and relationships to go through periods of stress and difficulty, your romantic relationships and friendships should bring joy to your life and be something that adds to your life, not something that feels like a burden or fills you with fear or dread. Here are some signs of an unhealthy relationship:

  • One or more people feeling unsafe
  • Boundaries not being respected
  • Unequal power dynamic
  • Mocking, belittling, or humiliating
  • Control or manipulation
  • Isolation from friends and family
  • Being dishonest
  • Poor or disrespectful communication
  • Not practicing good consent
  • Abuse or violence

What is intimate partner violence?
A pattern of behavior where one person intimidates, isolates, dominates, or maintains power and control over another person. This can be physical, sexual, spiritual, emotional, financial, or a combination of any of these types.

Abusive relationships don’t feel bad all the time. There is often fun and affection interrupted by times of fear, control, and/or violence. Many people who have survived abusive relationships describe a cycle of abuse.

Everyone deserves to live free from violence and abuse. Everyone deserves to feel safeIf you or someone you care about is experiencing abuse or an unhealthy relationship, there is help.

What to do if you’re in an unhealthy relationship

  • Reach out. It can be hard and scary to tell someone if you’re unhappy or unsafe in your relationship. Tell someone you trust: a friend, a professor or advisor. We’re always here to help as well.
  • Know that it’s not your fault—if someone is hurting you it is not your fault.
  • Stay safe—if you’re in an emergency, call 911. If you need help planning how to be safe as possible or how to leave safely, we can help.

What to do if you’re worried about a friend

  • Check in with them. Ask them if they’re okay, if they feel safe in their relationship or if they need someone to talk to. Do this in private.
  • Don’t judge—anyone can end up in an unhealthy or unsafe relationship
  • Offer to connect them with resources that can help.
  • Visit us for more ideas, support, and to create a safety plan.