University of Vermont

Healthy Relationships

People in supportive, loving relationships are more likely to feel healthy, happy and satisfied with their lives and less likely to have mental and physical health problems. (The National Center for Victims of Crime, “Reach in. Reach out. Finding your Resilience” Program)

You have relationships with many people – not just your boyfriend/girlfriend, partner, family and friends. All types of positive relationships can enhance your satisfaction with life!

Take a look at the ways in which you see relationships: how do you foster healthy patterns? In what ways are you able to effectively communicate and how do you care for yourself if a relationship feels unsafe or unhealthy?

Your Relationship is Healthy if:
  • You trust your partner.
  • You treat each other the way you want to be treated, and accept each other's opinions and interests.
  • You each feel physically safe in the relationship.
  • Your partner likes your friends and encourages you to spend time with them and wants to include them in his/her life as well as yours.
  • You make important decisions together.
  • Your partner understands when you spend time away from him or her.
  • You don't feel responsible for protecting your partner's reputation or for covering for his/her mistakes.
  • Your partner encourages you to enjoy different activities (like joining the volleyball team or football team, running for student government, or being in a play) and helps you reach your goals.
  • Your partner likes you for who you are & not just for what you look like.
  • You are not afraid to say what you think and why you think that way. You like to hear how your partner thinks, and don't always have to agree.
  • You have both a friendship and a physical attraction.
  • You don't have to be with your partner 24/7.
  • Your partner doesn't force sexual activity or insist that you do something that makes you uncomfortable.

**Information from The Red Flag Campaign.
The Red Flag Campaign is a public awareness campaign designed to address dating violence and promote the prevention of dating violence on college campuses.

How to Foster Relationships:
  • Identify obstacles to communication, such as:
    • Negative emotions (i.e. anger, sadness, guilt)
    • Different communication styles
    • Common distractions
    • Misjudgments of others’ motives and behavior
      (i.e. making assumptions about why the other person acted in a certain way, etc.)
  • Learn to communicate effectively.
  • Take the time to talk.
  • Listen with respect.
  • Ask questions.
  • Share information.
  • Fight fair.
  • Negotiate.
  • Avoid criticizing.
  • Ask for help.
  • Seek “win-win” solutions.

It is also important to:

  • Take responsibility for yourself.
  • Take care of yourself.
  • Be flexible.
  • Be dependable.
  • Have realistic expectations of others.
  • Learn and practice coping skills (i.e. stress reduction, problem solving).
  • Aim to find balance within the various parts of your life.

**Information from The National Center for Victims of Crime, “Reach in. Reach out. Finding your Resilience” Program, 2005

Last modified February 19 2014 03:36 PM