What is a Healthy Relationship?
Healthy relationships are characterized by respect, sharing and trust. They are based on the belief that both partners are equal and that the power and control in the relationship are equally shared.
Characteristics of a Healthy Relationship:
- Respect: Listening to one another, valuing opinions, and listening in a non-judgmental manner. Respect also involves attempting to understand and affirm feelings.
- Trust and Support: Supporting life goals of the other, as well as their feelings, opinions, friends, activities, and interests. It is valuing your partner as an individual.
- Honesty and Accountability: Communicating openly and truthfully, admitting mistakes, and accepting responsibility for one's self.
- Shared Responsibility: Making decisions together, mutually agreeing on distribution of work which is fair to both partners.
- Economic Partnership: Making financial decisions together, and making sure both partners benefit from financial arrangements.
- Negotiation and Fairness: Being willing to compromise, accepting change, and seeking mutually satisfying solutions to conflict.
- Non-threatening Behavior: Talking and acting in a way that promotes feelings of safety in the relationship. Both should feel comfortable and safe in expressing oneself and in engaging in activities.
Committed Relationships and School:
Being a student in a relationship may present you with a situation in which important life roles come into conflict. Your relationship may provide you with important emotional support as you cope with the stresses of school. At the same time, your relationship requires additional responsibilities and demands on your time.
- Expectations for attention, emotional support, and affection also carry implicit expectations for time together.
- As a student, you may feel that you do not have enough time to fulfill all the expectations of your partner.
- Couples who derive satisfaction from their relationship and school tend to be very clear about their expectations, to reduce or modify specific expectations as needed, and to learn how to establish effective approaches and routines for fulfilling those new expectations.
- Maintaining a quality relationship requires effective communication.
- The academic environment tends to emphasize the importance of independence, rather than connectedness.
- In this context, the time necessary for the commitments and responsibilities of relationships needs to be carefully negotiated.
- Communication needs to emphasize that both partners have needs, individually and as a couple.
- Boundaries, especially time boundaries, are important because in school it can feel like there is always more work to be done.
- It is important to learn to set limits now. You will be more effective in school and your career if you adopt a lifestyle that allows time to balance the needs of your work and your relationships.
- Schedule regular times to spend with your partner free of responsibilities.