According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 3 women, 1 in 4 men, and 1 in 2 transgender-identifying individuals will be in an abusive relationship in their lifetime. Many people enjoy their first romantic relationship while attending university, but most people were never taught what a healthy relationship looks like. The One Love Foundation, an organization that works to end relationship abuse, lists these ten signs of a healthy relationship so that you can make sure your relationship is a healthy one:
- Comfortable Pace The relationship moves at a speed that feels enjoyable for each person. It is normal to want to spend a lot of time with someone when you first meet them, but it is important that you are both on the same page with how the relationship is moving. In a healthy relationship, you are not rushed or pressured in a way that makes you feel overwhelmed.
- Trust Confidence that your partner will not do anything to hurt you or ruin the relationship. In a healthy relationship, trust comes easily and you do not have to question the other person’s intentions or whether they have your back. They respect your privacy and would never put you through a “test” to prove your loyalty.
- Honesty You can be truthful and candid without fearing how the other person will respond. In a healthy relationship, you should feel like you can share the full truth about your life and feelings with each other. They may not like what you have to say, but will respond to disappointing news in a considerate way.
- Independence You have space to be yourself outside of the relationship. The other person should be supportive of your hobbies and your relationships with other friends, family and coworkers. Having independence means being free to do you and giving your partner that same freedom.
- Respect You value one another’s beliefs and opinions, and love one another for who you are as a person. You feel comfortable setting boundaries and are confident that the other person will respect those boundaries. They cheer for you when you achieve something, support your hard work and dreams, and appreciate you.
- Equality The relationship feels balanced and everyone puts the same effort into the success of the relationship. You don’t let one person’s preferences and opinions dominate, and instead, you hear each other out and make compromises when you don’t want the same thing.
- Kindness You are caring and empathetic to one another, and provide comfort and support. In a healthy relationship, the other person will do things that they know will make you happy. Kindness should be a two-way street – it is given and returned in your relationship.
- Taking Responsibility Owning your actions and words. You avoid placing blame and are able to admit when you make a mistake. You can take ownership for the impact your words or behavior had, even if it was not your intention.
- Healthy Conflict Openly and respectfully discussing issues and confronting disagreements in a non-judgmental way. Conflict is a normal and expected part of any relationship. Healthy conflict is recognizing the root issue and addressing it respectfully before it escalates into something bigger. No one should belittle or yell during an argument.
- Fun You enjoy spending time together and you bring out the best in each other. A healthy relationship should feel easy and make you happy. You can let loose, laugh together and be yourselves — the relationship does not bring your mood down, but cheers you up.
Make a commitment to developing healthy relationships this Valentine’s Day. Love is a skill that takes work. Everyone does unhealthy things in relationships. Nobody is perfect, but we can all learn to love better and have healthier relationships.
The One Love Foundation is interested in bringing educational opportunities to student groups who are interested in learning more about healthy relationships. If you are interested in hosting a One Love workshop, please feel free to check out the One Love Foundation website: joinonelove.org/our-education.