Avoiding unhealthy behavior while maintaining a healthy romantic relationship

Warning signs of an unhealthy relationship can help us grow as a communicator and partner. 

Warning signs of an unhealthy relationship can help us grow as a communicator and partner. 

Haley Kisling Reporter

Every relationship is unique. Not all healthy relationships look the same for everyone because what makes a relationship thrive depends on the needs of the people. 

“I do think that even if things are going the best, they do require some effort and some work,”  said Pamela Farer-Singleton, the director of counseling and psychological services at Kent State.

Whether platonic or romantic, all relationships take work, commitment and a willingness to change or grow. There can even be some red flags that pop up on the route to building a relationship.

“For a healthy relationship, I think it is important that there is a good foundation,” Farer-Singleton said. “In other words, do each [of the] individuals respect each other? Are they motivated and invested in the relationship working and growing, and are they willing to resolve problems?” 

Seeing some things differently than your partner is inevitable so being able to communicate well with one another helps a couple resolve their differences.

“Bad communication can definitely cause arguments,” said Raquel Walters, a senior early childhood education major. “But stopping all of the selfish thinking you have in an argument, putting yourself in your partner’s shoes and trying to communicate civilly I think is really how you can resolve the issue at hand.”

Feeling respected and supported, having honest communication and developing a level of trust are all things that can aid in creating a healthy relationship. However, there can still be signs of red flags that should be addressed sooner than later. 

Unhealthy behavior includes “using corrosion or threats to get what you want from the other person like threatening to leave or doing something drastic if they don’t do what you want them to do,”  Farer-Singleton said.

Red flags can also look like name-calling, putting your partner down or making them think their level of emotion is unreasonable. 

Trust is the foundation of all relationships, and if you don’t have that foundation it makes it difficult to move forward. Being able to trust one another also helps build communication.

“Lacking trust I would say is a red flag,” Walters said. “But it could very well be from past trauma so it is something to talk about with your partner.”

Farer-Singleton added that being clear with each other about one’s expectations helps make for a healthy relationship.

“Despite the conflict and differences you have, can you resolve it successfully so you are feeling positive and supported in the relationship,” Farer-Singleton said.

Haley Kisling is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected].