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Seven signs of a healthy relationship

This week is Healthy Relationships Week, and at CUE we want people to recognize that relationships play an important role in our mental and physical well-being. It is vital to recognize what an unhealthy relationship is because it can have a direct impact on our ability to feel safe and happy. 

No relationship is perfect, but it’s important to address the warning signs of an unhealthy relationship because everyone deserves a relationship where they have trust, respect and equality. 

It is also important to recognize an unhealthy relationship, because such relationships have the potential to escalate into abuse, and even violence. 

This month it might be good to reflect on what is working with our relationships, and what is not. There are some key qualities that are important to have in a healthy relationship.

If you have questions about your relationship or you are noticing some of the warning signs below and would like to speak to a trusted person, Student Life and Learning offers in person and online counselling that is confidential and free to CUE students. You can expect to be treated with empathy, respect and non-judgment. 

CUE also offers peer support where students can talk about their problems, whether big or small, with another peer – they can then get referrals to other supports as needed.

Seven elements of a healthy relationship and warning signs to be aware of



You can openly express your feelings, opinions or beliefs. When there is miscommunication you work on ways together to increase clarity. 


You fear openly expressing your feelings due to your partner getting angry, making fun of you or putting you down. Your partner regularly points the finger at you for communicating poorly, when they may be the one who is causing confusion by ignoring, delaying or misinterpreting a conversation.  

They ‘gaslight’ you by denying that they said or did something they had said or done.



You feel comfortable sharing vulnerable or personal information about yourself. You share information you’re comfortable sharing – and never feel forced or guilted into sharing information. 


When you have shared personal information, it is used against you at a later time. 

Your partner pressures you to provide passwords or share account information or text messages, because they don’t trust you, or they convince you that sharing this information is normal. 



You have a designated space to be alone. You have your own interests and are encouraged to do some of those activities separately. 


Your partner makes you feel guilty for wanting alone time, or expresses jealousy when you spend time with friends or family without them. If you constantly second guess your decision to spend time with family and friends because you fear the reaction from your partner, that is a strong warning you are in an unhealthy relationship. 



Your partner apologizes when they have said hurtful things. They make efforts not to repeat an action that you have said is hurtful. 


Your partner blames you when they say hurtful things to you. Your partner makes excuses for their behavior towards you – by blaming their childhood, their mental illness, their stress levels, etc. 

Conflict resolution


You may not always agree but your partner will talk to you in a respectful way. There is no physical violence in your relationship. 


When they disagree with you or they are angry they resort to name calling, the silent treatment or they break, smash or throw objects. If there is a pattern of increasing or ongoing abuse (physical, emotional, sexual) you are in an abusive relationship. 



Your partner is proud of your accomplishments, comforts you when you are grieving or listens to you when you’re having a difficult day. They encourage you to achieve more in your life, whether it’s furthering your education, finding a fulfilling career or joining a new recreational activity. 


Your partner does most of the talking, they are dismissive when you bring up your goals, they discourage you from taking on activities that might take your time away from focusing on them. 



Both of you can feel honest about your feelings on physical affection and sex. 


You are embarrassed to say how you feel, or your partner ignores what you want. Your partner pushes you to do something you are uncomfortable with. 

This list of warning signs above are not all encompassing. Please note that if you feel uncomfortable or upset about certain aspects of your relationship, whether it is your partner’s behaviour or you recognize you are contributing to an unhealthy dynamic in the relationship, it is important to reach out and speak to someone who you may be able to gain perspective from. Check out CUE support services available

Regardless of the reasons for seeking counselling, students will have opportunity to receive support with mental health, academic and other personal concerns that are interfering with positive life experiences.