Relationship Reality: Healthy vs. Unhealthy

Posted: February 12, 2019 12:00:00 AM CST

silhouette of man and woman standing in field of grassBusy, busy, busy – this word describes the majority of college students, and it makes sense! We are active with studying, jobs, organizations, and relationships. With all this coming and going, do we ever stop and look at the relationships? With Valentine’s Day approaching, it’s important to look at the relationships in our lives. You may be thinking, “Well, I don’t have a significant other, so this doesn’t apply to me!” WRONG. The relationships we’re talking about can be between friends, family members, co-workers, AND significant others. According to a study done by Knowledge Networks, 57% of college students reported being in an unhealthy relationship during college (Networks, 2011). Every relationship has its ups and downs, but do you know how to distinguish between a healthy and unhealthy relationship?

Here are some signs an unhealthy relationship can include:

  • Jealousy – An emotion your partner feels when they feel threatened by others, especially other people that you text or hangout with. They can start accusing you of flirting or cheating. Some may go as far as stalking you or going through your phone when you are not looking (one love, 2018).
  • Manipulation – When your partner is influencing your decisions and/or emotions. Examples of this can be forcing you to do things that you are not comfortable with, or not speaking to you until they get their way. Another sign can be when your partner knows that you are upset with them, so to make you happy, they shower you with gifts and endlessly compliment you.
  • Sabotage – When they are ruining your success on purpose. For example, making you miss work or school, or threaten to share private information about you (one love, 2018).
  • Volatility – When you feel like you must lie to your partner so they do not lash out or get violent with you. You may feel like you are walking on egg shells when you are around them.

But don’t fret, a lot of college students experience healthy relationships as well. Even if you’ve experienced an unhealthy relationship, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a healthy one! Check out the list below to see some characteristics of healthy relationships:

  • Trust – When you can trust your partner, you don’t feel the need to constantly be checking up on them. You feel comfortable letting your guard down.
  • Independence – Both of you having space and freedom in your relationship to do you. This means feeling comfortable going out with friends without your partner tagging along and knowing they will not get upset.
  • Communication – It’s important to be able to talk to your partner about anything-the good and the bad. When something is bothering you about the relationship, you shouldn’t afraid to let your partner know.
  • Respect – In every relationship, it is important to take into consideration your partner’s values and privacy (Church, 2018).

As mentioned before, not all relationships are perfect, and they’re not always romantic. Unhealthy relationships can happen between friends or in the work place. If you or somebody you know are stuck in an unhealthy relationship, it’s important to speak out. Talk to a close friend, parent, or someone you trust. Need a couple of additional resources? UNK Counseling and the S.A.F.E Center are good places to go and ask for help!


Church, C. (2018). 13 things to look for in a healthy relationship. Retrieved from IFAS Extension University of Florida:

Networks, K. (2011, June 9). Knowledge Networks. Retrieved from

one love. (2018). 10 Signs of an Unhealthy Relationship. Retrieved from one love:

By: Health Education

Category: General, Health Education

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