Romantic Relationships


Romantic relationships are typically thought of as monogamous relationships between you and your significant other. The more you and your significant other value your relationship, the more you both will be interested in helping to maintain each others' well-being. Having a healthy romantic relationship can enhance your personal and academic success, but staying involved in an unhealthy romantic relationship can hinder academic success and detract from your social, personal, and family life.

If you feel that you are in an unhealthy romantic relationship, you might be experiencing some of these things:

  • extreme clinginess and demanding of the other’s full attention,
  • isolation from family and other friends,
  • no room in the relationship for freedom or independence,
  • dependency on partner for happiness,
  • frequent arguing,
  • unrealistic expectations for the relationship,
  • lack of trust,
  • jealous, possessive, or controlling behaviors,
  • lies of any kind,
  • refusal to use safer sex methods,
  • physical, verbal, or sexual abuse,
  • and threats of violence.

If you are experiencing these things in your romantic relationship, here are three good options that can help you improve your situation based on the severity of the relationship’s problems:

  • If you feel comfortable, talk to your significant other and tell him/her what you want to change about the relationship.
  • If you and your partner have tried to fix problems before and have been unsuccessful, either take a break from the relationship or seek counseling from a licensed healthcare professional.
  • If you feel that you are in an abusive relationship of any kind or you feel threatened by the actions of words of your significant other, break off the relationship and seek assistance from a pyschologist or law enforcement officer, depending on the severity of the situation.

Making your romantic relationship healthier for you and your significant other can be easy if both of you are dedicated to making a change. Here are some things you can do to enhance the quality of your relationship:

  • learn to actively listen to your significant other,
  • take full responsibility for your own actions, words, and feelings,
  • explain your emotions without attributing them to your significant other (instead of “you make me feel…”, say “I feel…”),
  • pay attention to the needs and feelings of your significant other,
  • learn how to tell your partner what you need from them in a clear, straightforward manner,
  • do not depend on your partner for happiness,
  • keep your own personal identity established while being a part of the relationship,
  • apologize sincerely,
  • don’t hold grudges; forgive the faults of your significant other and move on.

Below is a list of resources that provides more information about the differences between healthy and unhealthy romantic relationships as well as ways to make your relationship healthy.

Last Updated: 6/13/2011