Fall leaves at UHC, University Health Center, University of Georgia
Online Relaxation Exercises Online Assessment Tools Schedule an Appointment With CAPS Services Provided By CAPS Specific Mental Health Issues
Back to CAPS page

Healthy Relationships

How Do I Know if My Relationship is Healthy?

This is a question that should be asked in any relationship, not just romantic relationships. Our relationships should be authentic, unconditional, supportive, and nurturing. Sometimes we have such a strong desire to be in relationships that we choose relationships that may not meet our needs, but may provide short-term benefits. The information provided below is intended to help you think about the kinds of relationships you have and offer some general guidelines. If you are in a relationship that is physically or emotionally abusive, we urge you to seek counseling for support. We also encourage you to seek therapy if you observe a pattern of unhealthy relationships.

What is Important for a Healthy Relationship?

Knowing Yourself

  • Know who you are (how do you interact with others, what are your fears, what gives you joy, what motivates you, what do you like/dislike)
  • Know how your experiences have shaped you and how you view others (how has my family influenced how I interact in relationships)
  • Know what and who is important to you
  • Know how to express yourself in a healthy way
  • Know your purpose (what are your goals and aspirations)
  • Decide what is comfortable for you (there will be a lot of temptation, but you ultimately know what feels right for you)

Learning How to Be a Good Friend

  • Learn how to listen (sometimes we just need to be heard, and do not want our friends to "fix it")
  • Learn how to encourage others and give compliments
  • Invest time and energy into having a good friendship
  • Incorporate balance and set good boundaries with friends (you cannot be all things to all people all the time)
  • Learn how to express your feelings without being attacking

Knowing Your Partner/Friend

  • Get to know her/his values and interests
  • Identify what you both have in common and how you differ
  • Find ways to affirm and celebrate each other in your relationship
  • Identify ways you want the relationship to grow as you change. Find opportunities to nurture that growth
  • Spend time together that provides opportunities to enhance each other's strengths

Knowing that Time Apart is Needed

  • Have time outside of the relationship to replenish yourself
  • Negotiate spending time with others and communicate in a way that allows your partner/friend to feel secure about the bond that you have
  • Spend time learning about things that you can bring back to the relationship to stimulate conversation or social activities that you have not tried together
  • Spend time with others who support your relationship and can contribute to growth in your relationship

Understand the Difference between Intimacy & Sex

  • Learn how to talk about feelings of attraction and sexual desires in healthy ways
  • Understand that intimacy is a spiritual connection and is not related to lust
  • Intimacy takes time to develop and needs to be nourished
  • Practice being intimate without that intimacy leading to sex
  • Learn how to communicate about sexual needs and how each partner's expectations and experiences may be different

Common Relationship Pitfalls

  • Insecurities
  • Control issues
  • Selfishness
  • Mind-reading
  • Hooking up to get intimacy needs met when you are really seeking a relationship
  • Bringing in the emotional baggage of past hurtful relationships and the limitations of family and peers
  • Having an unrealistic expectation of a partner or future partner
  • Staying in relationships because you perceive them to be "comfortable," "safe," or because you "don't want to be alone"