Valentine’s Day is a time we often get warm, glowing images about love and relationships. It is also a great opportunity to evaluate how happy you are with your relationships, romantic and otherwise. People in healthy relationships are willing to work at the relationship. They give without keeping score, have a strong sense of commitment to their partner, communicate openly, express affection, can compromise without losing their individuality and are sensitive to each other’s needs. Good relationships don’t just happen. They take effort.
Every relationship is different but the following characteristics are present in most good relationships. How does your relationship rate?
• I feel like I can be myself
• I feel comfortable sharing my feelings with my partner
• We respect each other’s differences (opinions, feelings)
• We can negotiate and compromise when we don’t agree
• We don’t hold grudges
• We can say “I’m sorry.”
• We enjoy each other’s company
• We both have an equal say in the relationship
• We trust each other
• We are honest with each other
• We don’t take each other for granted
• Humour and fun are part of our relationship
• I look forward to seeing my partner
• My relationship brings out the best in me
In most relationships there is a “honeymoon” phase where everything seems wonderful. Getting into a serious relationship too quickly can blind you to potential problems.
If you are staying in a relationship because you think your partner “has potential,” will change or you don’t want to be without a boyfriend/girlfriend, re-evaluate. By staying with your partner you are actually reinforcing the negative behaviours. Are any of these warning signs occurring in your relationship?
• I have felt pressured to do things that I find uncomfortable.
• I have been threatened.
• I feel controlled in this relationship.
• My partner is very jealous.
• My partner does not respect me.
• We often shout, yell or swear when we disagree.
• I often feel put down by my partner.
• My partner tries to isolate me.
• I feel like I am losing my identity in this relationship.
• I am dependent on my partner to make me feel good about myself.
• I stay in this relationship just because I don’t want to be alone.
No relationship is perfect. Discuss with your partner how your relationship can improve for both of you. And if your partner is abusive, controlling or disrespectful, get out now. Relationships should be one of the most rewarding parts of your life – you deserve to be choosy.
Unsure about your relationship? Want to learn more about improving your communication? See a counsellor for this or any other academic or personal concern. Appointments can be made in person at Student Counselling, Room W-111PB, HP Centre or by calling 780.378.6133.
NAIT Student Counselling