What Makes a Healthy Relationship?
Valentine’s Day is a time to celebrate all of the love in our lives, from romantic partners to galentines. As we celebrate the relationships that make our lives special, it is important to think about what distinguishes a healthy relationship from an unhealthy one. The excerpt below is taken from the NEW Kappa Delta Social Essentials Guide, written by Aaron Boe of Prevention Culture. This list of seven characteristics of a healthy relationship will help ensure your relationship has a healthy foundation built on confidence and mutual support.
- Friendship. Any healthy relationship is grounded in a basic friendship. Each partner should enjoy the other as a whole person and respect his or her many qualities and character traits.
- Respect during conflict. Differences and disagreements will inevitably arise, even in the best relationships. In a healthy relationship, each person handles conflict in a productive way. Each person treats the other with a basic level of respect, even when they disagree or are angry with each other.
- Equal rights. In a healthy relationship, each person treats the other as an equal. Neither person believes in controlling the other. When they have differences and disagreements, they discuss them. Each person has the same rights to share their opinions and to have wishes heard without being belittled or demeaned.
- Mutual support. In a healthy relationship, partners support each other and encourage each other’s pursuit of goals and healthy aspirations. Neither person works to limit the other from pursuing healthy activities or goals. A mature partner supports growth and openly addresses change in the relationship.
- Free of fear. Neither person is afraid of the other, even during arguments or times of conflict. Beyond not engaging in acts that would evoke fear or intimidate, neither person would want the other person to be fearful of physical harm or verbal cruelty.
- Healthy independence. Neither person tries to control the other, and both have the right to express their feelings and be heard if they ever feel they are being controlled or manipulated. Healthy independence is respected, and when one person questions the other’s interest in activities outside the relationship, it is expressed openly and respectfully.
- Physical intimacy is healthy and mutual. Both people have concern for the other’s comfort, emotions and health in the physical aspect of the relationship. Both are above pressuring the other to engage in unwanted acts.
This list is a helpful starting point for assessing your relationships at any stage in life. Have conversations about these characteristics with your partner to ensure you are on the same page, and discuss them with your close friends. Talk about what these characteristics look like and why they matter.
Collegiate Kappa Delta chapters should use the Kappa Delta Social Essentials Guide to continue the conversation on relationships, sisterhood and safety.