Valentine’s Day is a time we often get warm, glowing images about love and relationships. It is also a great opportunity to evaluate how happy you are with your relationships, romantic and otherwise. Good relationships don’t just happen. They take effort.
Every relationship is different. However some common characteristics occur in most good relationships. If you can honestly answer ‘yes’ to the following, you are probably in a healthy relationship:
• I feel like I can be myself
• I feel comfortable sharing my feelings with my partner
• We respect each other’s differences (opinions, feelings)
• We can negotiate and compromise when we don’t agree
• We don’t hold grudges
• We can say “I’m sorry”
• We enjoy each other’s company
• We both have an equal say in the relationship
• We trust each other
• We are honest with each other
• We don’t take each other for granted
• Humour and fun are part of our relationship
• I look forward to seeing my partner
• My relationship brings out the best in me.
However, if you are staying in a relationship because you think your partner “has potential”, will change, or you don’t want to be without a boyfriend/girlfriend, re-evaluate. By staying with your partner you are actually reinforcing the negative behaviors. The following are warning signs of unhealthy relationships:
• I have felt pressured to do things that I find uncomfortable
• I have been threatened
• I feel controlled in this relationship
• My partner is very jealous
• My partner does not respect me
• We often shout or yell when we disagree.
• I often feel put down by my partner
• My partner tries to isolate me
• I feel like I am losing my identity in this relationship.
• I am dependent on my partner to make me feel good about myself.
In most relationships there is a “honeymoon” phase where everything seems wonderful. Getting into a serious relationship too quickly can blind you from potential problems. People in healthy relationships are willing to work at the relationship. They give without keeping score, have a strong sense of commitment to their partner, communicate openly, express affection, can compromise without losing their individuality, and are sensitive to each other’s needs.
No relationship is perfect. Discuss with your partner how your relationship can improve for both of you. And if your partner is abusive, controlling or disrespectful get out now. Relationships should be one of the most rewarding parts of your life – you deserve to be choosy.
Unsure about your relationship? Want to learn more about improving your communication or talk about other personal problems?
See a counsellor at Student Counselling. Personal counselling is free, confidential and available to all currently registered NAIT students.
Main Campus, Room W-111PB in the HP Centre: Counsellors are available from 8-4:30 with extended hours for apprentices. Book in person or by phoning 780-378-6133
Souch Campus: Counsellor available Thursdays from 10-4. Book by calling 780- 378-6133 or in person in Room Z-153
Patricia Campus: Counsellor available Tuesdays from 10-4. Book by calling 780-378-6133.
-Margaret Marean, NAIT Student Counselling