Healthy relationships include acting in accordance with your values, knowing and respecting boundaries (both yours and your partners’), and consent.
Healthy romantic and sexual relationships can take many different forms. Some people prefer to date one person, while others prefer to date several people, or none at all. Some relationships include more than two people. Romantic relationships may or may not include sexual activity. Any of these relationship styles can be healthy, as long as all involved feel like their needs and wants are being respected.
In the media, we sometimes hear about how relationships require “sacrifice.” Some compromise is to be expected and all relationships have some challenges, but healthy relationships should be a source of support and happiness, most of the time.
More Signs of a Healthy Relationship
In a healthy relationship, all partners:
- Are respectful and caring in their words, emotional expression, and physical treatment toward each other
- Support each other’s self-esteem
- Support and encourage each other to pursue personal interests, relationships with friends and family, and academic/career goals
- Ask for consent prior to any sexual contact
- Respect each other’s personal boundaries and feelings, especially related to physical contact
- Are free to leave the relationship at any time
If you could use some support in thinking about your relationship(s), or if you think you might be in an unhealthy relationship, see:
Counseling and Psychological Services provides mental health care for individual and couples
Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center offers assistance to people who have experienced sexual assault, sexual harassment, or stalking. Their 24-hour crisis line number is 734-936-3333.