Did you know that in a one-year period, 8 percent of Cougs experienced physical or emotional abuse in their relationship (ACHA-NCHA, 2016)? Dating violence impacts individuals and communities.
As members of the WSU community, we care about the wellbeing of Cougs. It’s important to talk not only about what violence looks like, but also what a healthy relationship looks like.
October is Domestic Violence Action Month. In honor of this month, here are some healthy relationship tips you can try.
- Talk about personal boundaries. Having a shared understanding of your physical and emotional wants, needs and expectations is crucial for a healthy relationship.
- Respect boundaries. What feels comfortable and normal for you might be totally different than your partner. Make sure to listen to and respect their needs.
- Talk openly and often. Honest communication about how you are feeling is an essential trait of a healthy relationship. Take some time out of a weekend together to chat about how things are going and talk about areas of your relationship you want to improve.
- Hear what your partner has to say. You should be able to listen to one another without judgment, anger or fear of retaliation.
- Build each other up. Mutual support is crucial for a healthy relationship. If it seems like your partner is feeling insecure about something or doubting themselves, offer some words of encouragement or reassurance.
- Don’t be afraid of conflict. You will disagree with each other at various points in your relationship. That’s normal. Constant conflict, or making your partner feel guilty about how they feel, is not.
- Take time apart. Your partner shouldn’t pressure you to hang out 24/7. It’s both normal and healthy to need space. Being together doesn’t mean being together all the time.
- Recognize feelings of discomfort. You should feel safe in your relationship and trust your partner. Feelings of insecurity are normal, but they shouldn’t take over your relationship or turn into controlling behaviors (like looking at your partner’s cell phone to see who they are texting or dictating who they can or can’t hang out with).
Remember, relationships have natural highs and lows. If you ever feel unsafe in a relationship, know support is available. If you’re having trouble assessing if your relationship is healthy, try this quiz.
Want to learn more about healthy and unhealthy relationship dynamics? Attend one of our workshops.