Healthy Relationships

University life presents itself with great opportunity to explore, discover and build relationships with others. This can take many forms including relationships with friends, roommates, faculty, casual/committed dating, and sexual relationships. This time in your life may also have you facing significant transitions in your existing relationships. You may have encountered loss or a change in a relationship with a loved one, parent, friend or significant other since coming to the university.  Though all of these relationship types can vary, there are common characteristics of healthy relationships.
 
Every relationship consists of two (or more) people and at the core of any healthy relationship are 3 factors; Trust, Communication and Respect. All healthy relationships are comprised of an ability to communicate in an open, honest and safe way where all parties involved can feel heard, validated and respected. It is important to communicate your needs to others and also to really listen to the needs of those involved in the relationship.
 
Relationship quality can greatly influence one’s university experience. It can provide great comfort and support but can also be stressful, overwhelming and all consuming. Relationship stress can also impact other areas of one’s life. It is important to check in with yourself and acknowledge how your current relationships are influencing you. Healthy relationships involve a healthy balance of nurturing oneself and reciprocation of effort, respect and respectful communication. It is important to set boundaries that allow for independence and self-sufficiency in addition to physical, sexual, emotional or digital boundary setting taking place between members of the relationship.
 
You (or someone you know) may want to consider talking to a professional if…

  1. You find yourself overly consumed by your relationships ( i.e. excess time or energy)
  2. You find yourself struggling to understand your limits or how to set boundaries
  3. You have concerns about how you relate and connect with others
  4. You feel lonely, hopeless or isolated.
  5. You have questions or concerns about your sexual behavior, sexuality or sex life.
  6. You seek support in understanding how sex impacts your feelings and relationships with others
  7. Your experiences in relationships are greatly impacting other areas of your life ( i.e. academics, enrichment activities, health or even other relationships)

Speaking with a professional can help you explore the issues you are facing and come up with healthy and safe solutions to move forward.
 
These are just a few of the reasons someone may seek out counseling due to concerns about relationships, sex or sexuality. Overall, trust yourself and when in doubt seek help. No call is illegitimate and CAPS would love to hear from you!

Getting Help:

Are you uncertain if your relationship is healthy? Have questions about your relationship, sexuality or sex in general? Feeling overwhelmed trying to navigate your social life at Wesleyan and meet new people? Call CAPS and set up an appointment to speak with a counselor. We are happy to help and support you! Please call us today at 860-685-2910.

If you are concerned for your safety or the safety of others, please call 911 or public safety at 860-685-3333.

  • The Relationship Bill of Rights

    You have the right, without shame, blame or guilt:

    In all intimate relationships:

    • to be free from coercion, violence and intimidation
    • to choose the level of involvement and intimacy you want
    • to revoke consent to any form of intimacy at any time
    • to be told the truth
    • to say no to requests
    • to hold and express differing points of view
    • to feel all your emotions
    • to feel and communicate your emotions and needs
    • to set boundaries concerning your privacy needs
    • to set clear limits on the obligations you will make
    • to seek balance between what you give to the relationship and what is given back to you
    • to know that your partner will work with you to resolve problems that arise
    • to choose what kind of relationship style you want to have (monogamous, polyamorous or otherwise)
    • to grow and change
    • to make mistakes
    • to end a relationship
    (Source: Morethantwo.com/relationshipbillofrights.html)
  • Resources

    National Hotlines:

    The Trevor Project (24hr LGBTQIA+ support): 1-866-488-7386

    National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233

    Planned Parenthood:  1800-230-PLAN (7526)

    Love is Respect Dating Abuse Hotline: 1-866-331-9474 | 1-866-331-8453 TTY

    STI Resource Center Hotline: 1-919-361-8488

    Web Resources:

    https://www.loveisrespect.org/   Love is Respect is an online resource that offers support and advocacy for young people in an effort to educate and prevent abusive relationships. This website is very interactive with lots of information on how to build healthy long lasting relationships, how to identify problem areas, quizzes, and online resources for seeking more help for oneself or others.

    https://www.geneseo.edu/health/relationships  SUNY Geneseo’s counseling website offers an extensive webpage with information about healthy relationships. This page includes several links to PDF’s which contain concrete strategies and skills one can utilize to improve certain aspects of their interpersonal life and relationships. These include things such as Communication, Active Listening, Setting Limits and Conflict Resolution.

    http://www.itsyoursexlife.com/   It’s Your (Sex) Life is an information partnership between the HJK Family Foundation and MTV to support young people in making responsible decisions about sexual health and relationships. This website has information regarding pregnancy prevention, STI screening, sexual health and building safe, healthy and consensual relationships.

    http://bedsider.org/ A comprehensive website covering all things related to birth control.

    http://www.iwannaknow.org/ A comprehensive website about sexual health for teens and young adults.