Healthy relationships

Healthy relationships should consist of:

  • negotiation and fairness - seeking mutually satisfying resolutions to conflict, accepting of change, willingness to compromise
  • non-threatening behavior - talking and acting so that there is a feeling of safety and comfort in expressing selves
  • respect - listening with non-judgment, being emotionally affirming and understanding, valuing each other's opinion
  • trust and support - supporting goals in life, respecting the right to have own feelings, friends, activities and opinions
  • honesty and accountability - accepting responsibilities for self, admitting being wrong, communicating openly and truthfully
  • shared responsibility - mutually agreeing on a fair distribution of work, making decisions together
  • economic partnership - making money decisions together, making sure both partners benefit from financial arrangements

Relationship rights

I have the right to:

  • trust myself and my instincts
  • be respected as a person
  • change my mind
  • express my feelings
  • refuse a date
  • not be physically, emotionally, or sexually abused
  • to have and express my own opinions, whether or not others agree
  • to make decisions about my actions, and to have equal decision-making power in my relationships
  • to participate in activities that do not include my girlfriend or boyfriend
  • to control my own money and possessions
  • to not live in fear
  • to remain free from substance abuse
  • to end a relationship

Fighting fair

We have to recognize that all relationships have disagreements, but how the partner deals with conflict is important to the health of the relationship. These are tips to negotiate disagreement in your relationship:

  • Agree on how to disagree – make rules. Talk about how you handle past arguments or what works for you when you are angry. You might agree not to go to sleep angry or take a walk to talk things out.
  • Fight nice – do not belittle your partner. Don’t call names, blame, push buttons
  • Don’t digress – try not to bring up past grievances when you argue. Focus on the issue at hand.
  • Avoid words like “never” and “always.”
  • Use “I” statements – Example. “I feel annoyed when there are dishes in the sink.” Be careful when using the word you – this may result in the other person feeling blamed.
  • Take time out – when things get heated up, take a break. This will help you avoid moving into the point of no return.
  • Control anger – take a deep breath or walk away until you are calmer. Anger can be a cover-up for other emotions or can be easily misdirected (ex. a boss yells at an employee, the employee yells at a child, the child kicks a dog).