We are here to support the development of healthy relationships. Below you will find information that may be helpful in supporting friendships and romantic or intimate relationships centered on trust and respect.
What Does a Healthy Relationship Look Like?
- Established boundaries
- Open communication
- Partner independence
- Physically, mentally and emotionally safe
Communication and Conflict
Communication should always come from a place of respect. Open communication is an opportunity to share your ideas, opinions and feelings with your partner. Sometimes, we may find that we disagree with or do not understand our partner’s ideas, opinions, actions and/or feelings. This can cause conflict to arise.
Conflict is and will always be part of our everyday lives, including our relationships. While conflict may be uncomfortable, we shouldn’t avoid it; rather we should focus on how resolving conflict allows for open communication and strengthened relationships. Maintaining respectful communication and resolving conflict looks like:
- Actively listening – This should include listening to understand rather than respond, undivided attention with phones and other distractions put away, making eye contact and checking for understanding by asking clarifying and follow-up questions.
- Being Assertive – Make your needs clear; your partner can’t read your mind! Using the “I statement” format can help you practice expressing feelings in a constructive and assertive way without being aggressive or placing blame. (Example: I feel upset when you don’t put down your phone while I’m talking. I feel like what I am saying isn’t important to you.)
- Avoiding hurtful language – The use of insults, curse words or other aggressive or demeaning language should always be avoided as this behavior can be emotionally damaging to your partner and relationship.
- Choosing the right place and time – This may look like either asking your partner or being accepting of your partner wishing to discuss the issue later and having the discussion in a place where you both feel safe and comfortable.