Healthy Relationships

Resources for Upper School students on managing romantic relationships.

A healthy relationship includes, but is not limited to, the following qualities:

Fairness / Equality

  • Relationships are about both people, so it's important to have give-and-take. Take turns choosing activities. Spend time together with your friends as well as your sweetie's friends.

Good Communication

  • When partners don't talk with one another openly and honestly about issues (big and small), miscommunications can result. It's important to talk, and to clarify your talks to make sure you both understand one another.

Honesty

  • It's hard to trust a person who isn't honest because one never knows if the statement is true or is a lie. At the same time, when partners are honest with each other, each has a better sense of goals, hopes, and dreams and are able to express their authentic selves.

Mutual Respect

  • "Respect in a relationship means that each person values who the other is and understands—and would never challenge—the other person's boundaries" (Lyness).

Separate Identities

  • It's easy to get caught up in the new identity of "couple," but that shouldn't mean you stop being yourself. You had friends and family and interests before you met your bae and those should stay a part of your life. You shouldn't have to give up seeing your friends or drop activities you love.

Support

  • In a healthy relationship, your honey is there with a shoulder to cry on AND a banner to wave with your name on it to celebrate with you.

Trust

  • Sure, you'll see your boo talking with someone and it will get you a little jealous. Jealousy is a natural emotion. What isn't always natural is the way a person handles the emotion. If you and your boo don't trust each other, it's not a healthy relationship.

 

Curious about the health of your relationship? Take this Quiz

The foundation to a healthy relationships includes respect and kindness.

Any relationship that involves mean, disrespectful, controlling or abusive behavior is an unhealthy relationship.

You may have seen examples of relationships with unhealthy characteristics and thought them normal. They are not OK ways to behave in a relationship.

Abuse can be emotional, verbal, physicaldigital, sexual, or some combination of these. 

 

"All relationships exist on a spectrum from healthy to abusive with unhealthy somewhere in the middle. Try this Relationship Spectrum to see where your relationship falls." (Loveisrespect)

Even if you and your sweetie both like each other, it doesn't mean the relationship will be easy.

Relationships take work, but people in healthy relationships are willing to do that work. Plus,

"The work that goes into a healthy relationship isn’t necessarily difficult or exhausting." 

"Think about a hobby you’re really into, or a school project you got really psyched about. Those things take work, and sometimes they might even be a little frustrating, but in the end it’s work that you find fun, inspiring or engaging. That’s how a relationship should feel!" (Loveisrespect)

 

Sometimes, relationships blossom over time. Other times, people grow apart, change their minds, or just lose interest. 

No one should ever force you to stay in a relationship you don't want to be a part of anymore. And you don't have to stay with the first person you date. 

Breaking-up with someone can be difficult, and it's normal to debate the decision.

Just remember to think things through so that you are clear with yourself on why you want to break up. Then act. (Lyness)

It's also important to be respectful of the person you are breaking up with. Would you want someone to break-up with you via text message or over the phone? Probably not. So when at all possible, have a face-to-face conversation. It may be hard, but it is more respectful and caring for both parties.

It isn't uncommon to experience a break-up. As Starlee Kine explains almost every song ever written is about a break-up or about heartbreak. Ms. Kine herself, used her break-up to write her own song and other creatives have found similar outlets. 

Here are a few tips that might help you:

Share your feelings

  • Talking with a friend, family member or counselor (someone you trust and recognizes what you are going through) can help you process your break-up and help you feel better. Posting your heartbreak on social media, however, is not recommended.

Don't be afraid to cry.

  • Crying is a healthy way to release stress, hurt, and sadness. As this classic song reminds us, It's alright to cry.

Take good care of yourself

  • Resorting to alcohol, drugs, and/or self-harm will only mask your pain. Instead, eat well, sleep well, and exercise regularly. Don't let the rest of your body also get broken.

Don't break-up with yourself

  • The end of a relationship is not the end of you. You were someone before this, and you still are. Remind yourself of all your good qualities. Make yourself a list and post it somewhere visible to keep you aware of all the good in you. Get your friends to help if you can't seem to do it on your own. 

Do things you enjoy

  • Spend some time doing fun things (movies, dancing, concerts, video games) to take your mind off your negative feelings for a while.

Keep yourself busy

  • This is a great time to redecorate your room, get organized, or start a new hobby. Working through things mentally while still being active is a good part of the healing process. Don't let the break-up be your only focus.

Give yourself time

  • Be patient with yourself. Getting over heartbreak could take days or months. But healing takes time, and after a while, you will recover.

 

If you find yourself feeling a deep sadness that you just can't escape, one that lasts too long, you may need some extra support and should consider talking to a counselor or therapist.

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