Checking Up: Identifying the health status of your relationship

Morgan Profumo

Morgan Profumo

As college students, the probability that we will be involved in numerous relationships is extremely high. We are experimenting and trying to find what will work for us in regards to an “ideal” relationship. As exciting as being in a relationship may be, it can be hard to maintain emotional health especially with all of the stress we undergo as students. There are no set guidelines we can follow to make our relationships healthy, but there are a few recommendations that can act as the framework.

To begin, both partners should be open and honest with each other. Honesty is huge in any type of relationship because it allows both partners to have their voice heard and keeps the lines of communication open, which allows for quicker resolution of disagreements. 

Be respectful toward your partner. Take into consideration all aspects of the relationship and show respect for your partner’s beliefs, opinions and feelings.

Even in a healthy relationship, it is most definitely okay to have disagreements. Every single couple faces times when they do not agree on things. It is healthy to disagree because this is how we expand our minds. As long as the argument is handled in an appropriate and respectful way where both partners can equally express their opinions, there is nothing to worry about.

Lastly, everything listed above should be reciprocated. A relationship is between two people who care about one another—not one person who cares more than the other. A relationship should entail equality and should be upheld by respect and trust.

Unlike a healthy relationship, it can be difficult to recognize an unhealthy relationship—especially when you are the target for abuse. When attempting to identify abusive signs, take a closer look at the way your partner treats you emotionally, sexually, physically and verbally. 

The vulnerability of one partner can occur over time through the subtle progression of abuse, which leads to the dominance of the second partner. This vulnerable versus dominant partnership can result in emotional and sometimes even fiscal dependencies. In any relationship, when one partner is dependent on the other partner, especially financially, the dependent partner may be fearful of walking away due to the possible financial, emotional and physical consequences. 

In an article written for Psychology Today by Craig Malkin, a clinical psychologist from Harvard, he states that there are many symptoms that can result from being in an abusive relationship. Many people suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, better known as PTSD. As stated by Dr. Malkin, this disorder creates such an extreme detachment from reality that they do not even remember being hurt by it at all. The victim does not leave the abuse due to the fact that they dissociate themselves. Psychologically they are not capable of recalling what happened and the harmful effect it had on them. This could potentially explain why someone may view their relationship as healthy, while to someone on the outside all signs point to abusive. 

If you find yourself in a situation where domestic violence, emotional abuse or verbal altercations often occur, there are several places you can turn to for help. The Counseling and Testing Center here at WKU has individual counseling where you can express your feelings and receive advice on how to proceed. If domestic violence is the main issue then contacting the police may be a good option. There is also support around Bowling Green, such as Hope Harbor, a crisis prevention center, that can help you determine your next steps.