Healthy relationships allow both people feel loved, respected, supported, and connected but still feel independent. Individuals deserve to feel safe in a relationship.
Characteristics of a healthy relationship: Respect, honesty, communication, boundaries, acceptance, equal decision making, support, and shared goals, beliefs, and values.
Characteristics of a destructive relationship: Pressure to change, distrust, fear, lack of support, restrictions, criticism, anger and jealousy.
Communication allows you and your partner to have a deep understanding of each other, and allows you to connect. In a healthy relationship with good communication, both partners (National Domestic Violence Hotline, 2020):
Boundaries allow each person to express to their partner what they are and are not comfortable with, when it comes to sex life, finances, family and friends, personal space and time. In a healthy relationship with boundaries, both partners:
Healthy relationships enhance your happiness. They are not solely responsible to achieve your happiness.
Enjoy quality time together- Sharing hobbies and enjoying fun activities together is important.
Conflict in relationships is inevitable, but it's important to share your feelings and needs respectively and assertively.
Humour is the best medicine- It can deepen a relationship between partners and balance out negativity.
Spending time apart from your partner is important in developing separate identities and interests.
Without forgiveness, you risk accumulating issues over time and building resentment and anger towards your partner.
Sex can foster a loving connection in an intimate relationship, but it requires trust, honesty, and respect. A healthy sexual relationship is always consensual.
Minimize behaviours that may arouse doubt or suspicion in your relationship (Love Is Respect, 2017).
A healthy relationship is a healthy relationship regardless of your sexual orientation. View this handout for more additional information regarding LGBTQ+ relationships.
Part of being in a healthy relationship is having good communication. Here are some helpful tips.
A website with information, resources, handouts, and blogs on relationships.
Boundaries are an important component of a healthy relationship. Here are some helpful tips.
Domestic violence is violent or aggressive behaviour within the home, typically involving the violent abuse of a spouse or partner.
Abuse is any action that intentionally harms or injures another person, which does not necessarily occur within intimate partner relationships.
Domestic violence and abuse can happen to anyone; it does not discriminate. It can happen within heterosexual relationships, same-sex partnerships, friendships, and work relationships. It occurs within all age ranges, ethnic backgrounds, and economic levels. And while women are more often victimized, men also experience abuse—especially verbal and emotional (Help Guide, 2019).
People who are being abused may:
People who are being physically abused may:
People who are being isolated by their abuser may:
People who are being abused may:
Abuse – Your abusive partner lashes out with aggressive, belittling, or violent behavior. This treatment is a power play designed to show you “who is boss.”
Guilt – Your partner feels guilt after abusing you, but not because of their actions. They’re more worried about the possibility of being caught and facing consequences for their abusive behavior.
Excuses – Your abuser rationalizes what they have done. The person may come up with a string of excuses or blame you for provoking them—anything to avoid taking responsibility.
“Normal” behavior – Your partner does everything in their power to regain control and ensure that you’ll stay in the relationship. A perpetrator may act as if nothing has happened, or they might “turn on the charm.” This peaceful honeymoon phase may give you hope that the abuser has really changed this time.
Fantasy and planning – Your abuser begins to fantasize about repeating the abuse. They spend a lot of time thinking about what you’ve done wrong and how they’ll make you pay for it. Then they form a plan for turning the fantasy of abuse into reality.
Set-up – Your abuser sets you up and puts their plan in motion, creating a situation where they can justify abusing you.
If you are abusive toward your partner, the first and hardest part of changing is admiting your behaviour is wrong. Use this handout to help get on the right track.
Living with an abusive partner can crate additional obstacles to getting help. Here are some steps you can take to help stay safe.
This handout describes characteristics of domestic violence and abuse, as well as information on how to speak up in any given situation.
Most sexual assaults do not involve a stranger attacking in a dark alleyway or park, contrary to popular belief and portrayals of sexual assault in popular culture. Most cases of sexual assault are committed by someone close to the victim. While young and otherwise vulnerable women are most likely to be sexually assaulted, sexual assault can happen to anyone, at any age, including men and women, boys and girls. It can happen on one single occasion, or it can happen repeatedly. Sexual assault is a crime with serious consequences. It can cause anxiety, depression, destroy a person’s sense of self-worth, rob them of their sense of trust and security, ability to maintain relationships and enjoy sex, and can haunt a victim for the rest of their life. If the abuse is frequent, committed by a family member, or involves sexual intercourse, the impact can be even stronger. Sexual abuse often makes victims feel alone, worthless, confused, and afraid (Central Alberta Sexual Assault Centre, 2020).
Sexual assault is any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient.
It is an act of violence committed by a person in order to feel power over another person. It can come in different forms:
Remember sexual assault survivors are never at fault. It doesn’t matter what someone is wearing or how they are acting, victims are never to blame. A person may use force, threats, manipulation, or coercion to commit sexual violence. An absence of injuries to the victim does not indicate consent.
Consent for any sexual activity must be freely given. Consent cannot be given by someone who is intoxicated, unconscious, or otherwise considered incapable of giving their consent. Consent can also not be freely given if it follows from threats to personal safety, or threats to harm others (Healthline, 2020).
A 24-hour text or call support service for individuals looking for support or referrals to specialized sexual assault service providers.
A 24-hour text, online chat, or call support service.
Red Deer College Counselling Services
100 College Boulevard
PO Box 5005
Red Deer, AB T4N 5H5
Counselling Services Hours
Monday-Friday: 8:30 am - 4:30 pm
*extended hours on Wednesday until 6 pm
Closed Saturday, Sunday,
and all Statutory Holidays
Red Deer College recognizes that our campus is situated on Treaty 7 land, the traditional territory of the Blackfoot, Tsuu T’ina and Stoney Nakoda peoples, and that the central Alberta region we serve falls under Treaty 6, traditional Métis, Cree and Saulteaux territory. We honour the First Peoples who have lived here since time immemorial, and we give thanks for the land where RDC sits. This is where we will strive to honour and transform our relationships with one another.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0).