College is where you come to meet new people and truly become your own person. That often means connecting with someone who makes your heart go aflutter.
With Valentine’s Day almost here, it’s easy to get caught up in the romance. But it’s equally important to be able to evaluate whether or not the relationship you’re in is a healthy one.
Heathy relationships are based in equality, mutual respect and shared responsibility. Sometimes, those blissful early months of the relationship can be distracting enough that you don’t realize when things have turned unhealthy.
When one individual has all the power in a relationship, the dynamic can turn volatile quickly. Two people should be able to talk about their opinions and come to a decision together rather than one person always overruling the other. Each individual also needs to recognize those instances when their significant other needs space, not infringing on boundaries that he or she has set.
The following is a list responsibilities that each half of a couple has in a relationship, broken down into the tenets of equality, open communication and boundaries. On Valentine’s Day and beyond, remember that your heart belongs to you, and if you see one of these areas not being respected, it may be time to have a frank discussion with your partner or remove yourself from an unhealthy situation entirely.
- Having the same rights and privileges
- Having respect, trust and believing in each other
- Making decisions together and sharing responsibilities
- Neither person is “in charge”
- Accepting our differences and appreciating one another
- Communication is an integral part of a relationship
- Openly communicating about concerns
- Not making fun or minimizing each other’s concerns
- Understanding that conflict is natural and normal and must be worked through
- Not hiding or lying about our feelings
- Compromising with one another
- Setting limits (another term for boundaries) for oneself in the relationship
- Expecting others to respect those boundaries
- Boundaries are physical, emotional or sexual in nature
- Having a partner respect boundaries and accept limits
- Openly communicating to define boundaries
If you are worried that you may be in an unhealthy relationship or struggle in any of the aforementioned areas, call me at 402-354-7080. Counseling is available free of charge to all Nebraska Methodist College students. Here’s to healthy relationships – with others and ourselves!
As a counselor at Nebraska Methodist College, Kathy Dworak has years of experience helping individuals cope with a variety of relationship problems. She holds office hours on a weekly basis and is available to talk with any student who needs help with relationship issues, substance abuse, depression and more. Please contact her if you or someone you know is in need of assistance.
For emergency situations or instances where there is a threat of physical harm, please dial 911.