Brought to you by the Wellness Centre Sexual Health and Relationships Team.
It is important to remember that there is a broad range of relationships and that it is essential for any of these relationships to be a healthy. There is no clear definition of a healthy or unhealthy relationship but, generally, a healthy relationship possesses a series of characteristics that can be described in terms of how they affect one’s mental-health.
A healthy relationship has a strong foundation.
Honesty is very important; a relationship based on lies gives no common ground for the soil and nourishment of a healthy relationship.
Respect is another important component that allows for ideas and views to be indulged equally. Respecting one another’s feelings and thoughts is a cherishable quality to look for in any relationship.
Commitment is just as important as any of the previously listed qualities. Moreover, remember that you, just as much as anybody else, deserve and have a right to your opinions, desires, and needs; however, there is no need to be aggressive about it either.
Assertiveness is about expressing your concerns in a polite manner by using a lot of I-statements, such as, “I do not feel comfortable with your proposition” or “I do not like the way you are treating me”. I-statements are a great way to express your concern about something.
We must value ourselves before we value others in a relationship. Before you can love others, you must love yourself. Talk about your feelings with your close friends. It is important to be considerate of all the people involved in a relationship. Do not criticize, blame, or ignore anyone’s ideas, beliefs, or feelings.
While a healthy relationship can be mentally uplifting, an unhealthy relationship can have a huge negative impact on one’s mental health which in turn can affect many aspects of our lives. Although, it sometimes may feel easier to ignore the warning signs of an unhealthy relationship, it is important to be able to recognize these signs and to take action accordingly.
An unhealthy relationship is one that exhausts and drains you emotionally. The “other” person(s) involved in the relationship may leave you feeling empty or out of balance after you interact with them. You may notice that before your encounter with this person, you felt positive, happy, and energized whereas afterwards, you feel as though you have been robbed of those feelings.
In some cases, the “other(s)” constantly attempt to control their partner’s behavior or use intimidation as a way of getting what they want. If you are made to feel afraid by any repeated behaviors, these are most likely signs of a relationship that may be damaging to your mental and/or physical well being. It is important to remember that not all abuse is physical.
In some cases the fear of breaking connection in a relationship may create push and pull dynamics, where love very quickly becomes hate. Sometimes, it is important to ask yourself whether it is positive emotions such as love that is maintaining the relationship or the fear of being alone and without one.
If you suspect that you are involved in an unhealthy relationship, the first step is to recognize that you are dealing with a pattern that is not good for you. Once you see this, you’re halfway home. Next, you must decide to change the dynamics of the relationship, break these patterns by removing yourself from the situation completely, or by getting help (refer to the resources at the end of the video or blog).
You must realize and accept that you can’t change the other person but you DO have control over your own behaviors and choices. You need to change first! This is how you begin to regain your power as an individual. Once you take charge of the relationship, you will begin to be the hero of your mental health.
If you are experiencing some of these signs of an unhealthy relationship, remember that you deserve to have a healthy relationship that invigorates you, sustains a positive sense of self, and one that feels nourishing and uplifting. Healthy relationships support the best in all people involved and do not serve to diminish emotional, physical, or mental well-being.
If you suspect that you are involved in an unhealthy relationship or struggling to break free, please take a look at the following resources:
AMS Speak Easy: Talk to a peer confidentially about how you feel and your thoughts
Hours: Mon to Fri 9am-5pm
Sub North Concourse (Main level)
Counselling Services: Speak to a therapist confidentiality and immediately.
Hours: Mon,Tues, Thurs and Fri 8:30am-4:30pm; Wed 8:30am-7:00pm
1040 Brock Hall
Sexual Support Assault Centre: Confidential service if you are a victim of sexual assault
Sub 119 A/B
And in case you forget all of the above, drop by the Wellness Centre any time from 9am – 5pm in room 183 of Irving.
If you’re finding it difficult to move on from a relationship that you are no longer involved in you may find the following tips useful:
*don’t keep living in the past
*express your thoughts to friends and family
*call old friends
*take care of yourself physically through rest, diet and exercise.
*put away mementos
*expect up days and down days
*postpone major decisions and avoid making big changes in your life.
*find new ways to enjoy the extra time