Happy or Hurting? Healthy vs. Unhealthy Relationships

The word “relationship” can be defined as the way in which two or more people or things are connected, or the state of being connected (Oxford). Connecting with others and building  relationships with people, throughout our lifespan, greatly contributes to our individual development and growth. Who we are can often be linked to the company we keep. However, not all relationships can be positive. The Bureau of Justice Statistics reported that Women ages 20-24 are at the highest risk of nonfatal intimate partner violence. Women accounted for 85% of victims of intimate partner violence. They also reported that nearly one in four Americans personally know someone who is or has been a victim of domestic violence.

When in an unhealthy relationship you may exhibit some of the following:

  • You feel pressure to change to meet your partner’s standards.
  • You are afraid to disagree.
  • You feel isolated from friends and family.
  • You feel stifled or trapped in the relationship.
  • You care for only your partner and neglect yourself.

You may be a positive contributor to a relationship, but it is possible that your partner or friend may be the negative aspect of your relationship.

Warning signs:

  • Your partner constantly criticizes you and your ideas and actions.
  • Your partner controls everything (where you go, what you wear, what you do, etc.).
  • Your partner blames you for bad things or events in his/her life.
  • Your partner calls you names or yells at you.
  • Your partner shoves, pinches, hits, punches, kicks or otherwise hurts you.

A healthy relationship consists of:

  • Loving, respecting, and taking care of yourself and your partner.
  • Respecting individuality, embracing differences, and allowing each other to be yourselves.
  • Encouraging personal growth while sharing mutual values, goals, or activities.
  • Doing things with friends and family and having activities independent of each other.
  • Discussing things, allowing for differences of opinion, and compromising equally.
  • Resolving conflicts in a peaceful and nonviolent way.
  • Having good, open communication with one another.

If you feel you are in an unhealthy relationship, help is available. Contact Georgia Southern University’s Counseling & Career Development Center at 912-478-5541.


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