Seven tips to forming and maintaining a healthy relationship

hands in a heart shapeRelationships can be exciting and fulfilling. From acquaintances to romances, there is the potential that relationships can add enjoyment to our lives. Even though our goal is to have healthy relationships, there are unhealthy relationships to be aware of. Although no relationship is perfect, a healthy relationship should bring you more happiness than stress in your life.

So what does a healthy relationship look like? Some common characteristics of a healthy relationship include:

  • Feeling good about yourself and about your relationship
  • Mutual respect
  • Trust
  • Honesty
  • Fairness/equality
  • Good communication

For romantic relationships, here are 7 key tips to forming and maintaining a healthy relationship

  1. Respect: Respect yourself and respect your partner. Each person has their own wishes and feeling that have value. Make your partner aware that you are keeping their opinions in mind.
  2. Consent: Consent for any sexual activity must be freely given. Check with your partner and make sure you are both willing, comfortable and in agreement to continue every single time there is a sexual encounter.
  3. Commitment: Invest time into the relationship to make communication easier and to build trust.
  4. Communication: Open and honest communication is the foundation to any relationship. Choose an appropriate time to discuss something that may be bothering you, it may also be better to discuss difficult things face to face to avoid any miscommunication.
  5. Supportive: Encourage each other to be best versions of yourselves that you both can be. Being supportive also means listening and being there for someone during the difficult times in life when people may need extra support. But remember, take care of yourself and be aware the degree of support you are capable of giving.
  6. Comfort: Being comfortable in a relationship means that you can trust your partner. By having trust, you both can discuss important topics, such as getting tested for STI’s and safe sex practices.
  7. Boundaries: Just because you are in a relationship does not mean that the relationship takes over your whole world. Remember that your relationship is just one aspect of your life and it is healthy to do things for yourself and set a level of privacy.

Now what is an unhealthy relationship? An unhealthy relationship is based on power and control. Abuse, whether it is physical, sexual, verbal, or emotional is never acceptable. Feeling scared, humiliated, pressured, or controlled is a sign of an unhealthy relationship.

If you think your relationship is unhealthy there are resources that can help!

  • Health Services at the University of Waterloo: Call 519-888-4096 or go to the Health Services building
  • Counselling Services at the University of Waterloo: Call 519-888-4567 ext. 32655 or go to Needles Hall North, 2nd Floor
  • Sexual Violence Reponse Coordinator for the University of Waterloo: Call 519-888-4567 ext. 46869 or e-mail
  • Good2Talk: 1-866-925-5454
  • Here24/7: 1-844-437-3247
  • Waterloo Region Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Treatment Centre: Call (519) 749-6994 or go to the Emergency Department of St. Mary’s General Hospital

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