Relationships

When we talk about our personal relationships, these are close connections that we form with other people whether it is a friend, family member, or romantic partner.

Each relationship goes through ups and downs and is always changing based on the experiences you go through together. While there are many different types of relationships, here are some things to keep in mind when it comes to maintaining a strong connection.

What is a Healthy Relationship?

​A healthy relationship looks different for each person in terms of what you might value. Being in a healthy relationship makes you feel good and safe with one another. Here are some common things to look for when it comes to establishing a healthy relationship:

  • Communication

  • Respect

  • Trust

  • Honesty

  • Enjoying personal time away from each other

  • Making mutual choices

  • Understanding each other's needs

  • Listening to each other

What is an Unhealthy Relationship?

Being in an unhealthy relationship means that you are unhappy with the way you are feeling or feel like you are being treated poorly. Here are some signs that you might be in an unhealthy relationship:

  • Lack of communication

  • Disrespect

  • Dishonesty

  • Only spending time together

  • Being pressured

  • Feeling exhausted

  • Jealousy

What is an Abusive Relationship?

An abusive relationship means that someone is treated in a harmful way through a physical, emotional, and/or sexual way. Recognizing signs of an abusive relationship can help you stay protected:

  • Communicating in a hurtful or threatening way

  • Violence (Physical, Emotional, Sexual)

  • Mistreating each other

  • Constant accusations

  • Gaslighting

  • Controlling thoughts and feelings

  • Isolating you from other people

Understanding Family Relationships

All families are different, and the relationships in a family dynamic can heavily influence the well-being of everyone involved. When these relationships are unhealthy, this can lead to issues of conflict and weaken bonds between one another.

For example, having a strong connection with family including love, care and support can enhance the overall well-being of an individual. On the other hand, arguing with a sibling or parent can cause complex and stressful family dynamics that can last into adulthood.

Factors Influencing Family Dynamics

The quality of family relationships can be influenced by a variety of factors including:

  • Personality

  • Structure (Divorced, separated, adopted, etc.)

  • Financial Status

  • Social Environment

  • Cultural & Generational Differences

  • Abuse & Neglect

  • Mental Illness

Tips for Building Healthy Relationships

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1. Establish ways to meet each others needs

  • How do you like to spend time together?

  • What are some ways you like to feel supported?

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2. Ask about the ways you like to communicate

  • How can you listen to one another?

  • Can you ask questions about things you don't understand?

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3. Find time to talk about your boundaries

  • What does a healthy boundary look like for you?

  • What are some things you might say "no" to?

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4. Take care of yourself

  • What are some of your coping mechanisms and needs?

  • How do you know if you are not taking care of yourself?

What Can I Do To Help?

Finding the right balance in relationships can be difficult, especially with the many different types of relationships and families involved. Family therapy or couples counselling may help groups work together and navigate difficult emotions in a safe space. 

With a professional, therapists may help groups work through:

  • Individual desires and goals 

  • Encourage groups to listen to each other actively to create understanding

  • Minimize blame and work towards making effective changes

  • Help groups understand their actions, words, and behaviours on one another

There is no single solution to getting help as working through a relationship issue takes consistent time and effort in order to create change. Other types of treatments and self-help resources may be used in addition to therapy to help reduce feelings of overwhelm.

Relationship Infographics & Tip Sheets

Click one of the topics below to download and print our sheets or click here to view more of our infographics. 

Healthy vs. Unhealthy Relationships

Tips For Setting Clear Boundaries