IONA

 

Love Shouldn't Hurt, Promoting Healthy Relationships

Evaluating Your Relationship

One of the most exciting parts of coming to college is the opportunity to meet people with whom you might want to create a romantic relationship. This is an aspect of your college life that should be enjoyable and enhancing to your self-esteem. Sometimes, however, college students find themselves in relationships that make them unhappy and anxious and that contain fighting, conflict and even violent behavior.

A first step in figuring out how to create a healthy relationship, or to know whether you are in one that is unhealthy, is to be clear about the characteristics of both. Therefore, we offer the following lists of characteristics to help you honestly evaluate your current or future relationships as to their health and stability.

Signs of a Healthy Relationship:

  • There is very little emotional pain in your relationship; you're very happy together.
  • You are each other's best friend.
  • You never try to control or manipulate each other.
  • You feel secure and comfortable with each other.
  • Your partner does not insist on knowing where you are at all times.
  • You never cheat on each other.
  • You are never violent with each other: no pushing, shoving, throwing things, grabbing, hitting or punching.
  • You don't yell at each other: you can resolve conflict respectfully.
  • You have fun together.
  • Neither of you is possessive.
  • You do not put each other down.
  • You never embarrass each other publicly.
  • Your partner does not invade your privacy.
  • Your life is better because your partner is in it.
  • You never feel used or taken advantage of.
  • You never feel scared around each other.
  • Fighting and unhappiness are very rare in the relationship.
  • You trust and respect each other completely.
  • Your friends and family like your partner.

Signs of an Unhealthy Relationship:

  • Your partner tries to control or manipulate you.
  • Your partner is very possessive and jealous.
  • You partner insists on knowing where you are at all times.
  • Your partner drinks or uses drugs around you.
  • Your partner makes you feel bad about yourself.
  • Your partner invades your privacy.
  • Your partner calls you names and yells at you.
  • Your partner tells you how to dress.
  • Your partner criticizes your friends.
  • Your partner is physically abusive: he/she grabs you, pushes you, hits you, throws objects at you or near you.
  • Your partner does not like you to be close to other people, including your family.
  • Your partner tries to physically stop you from going where you want to go.
  • Your partner cheats on you (even one time).
  • Your partner pressures you to be sexual with him or her.
  • Your partner's friends are always more important than you.
  • Your partner does not make time for you.
  • Your partner does not really listen when you talk to him/her.
  • Your partner often looks at others when he/she's with you.
  • Your partner flirts with others.
  • Your partner has negative attitudes about your gender, in general.
  • Your partner uses negative put-down words when he/she talks about your gender.
  • Your partner has so many problems that his/her life is not really working.
  • People close to you dislike and distrust your partner; they wish you would end this relationship.
  • You cannot trust your partner: you wonder what your partner is doing when he/she is not with you.
  • Your partner often threatens to leave you.
  • You feel scared or uncomfortable around your partner.
  • You are afraid of your partner's temper.
  • You are unhappy a lot of the time.

Relationship Violence

Studies of dating relationships on the college campus reveal that at least 30% of college students have experienced relationship violence themselves, and that at least 70% know someone who has experienced relationship violence. In fact, in the U. S. women ages 16 - 24 are more likely to experience domestic violence than any other cohort.

Relationship, or domestic, violence can be defined as a pattern of physical or psychological control which one person exerts over the other in order to get his or her way. The behavior physically or emotionally harms the other person, creates anxiety and fear, demeans the person, prevents the person from doing what he or she wants, or makes them behave in ways that they have not freely chosen.

Clear Warning Signs of an Abusive Relationship:

  • Your partner tries to control and manipulate you.
  • Your partner is intensely jealous and possessive.
  • Your partner invades your privacy.
  • Your partner calls you names, curses and/or yells at you.
  • Your partner makes you feel bad about yourself.
  • Your partner is physically abusive: pushes, shoves, grabs, and/or hits you; throws objects near or at you.
  • Your partner insists on knowing where you are at all times.
  • Your partner preassures you sexually.
  • Your partner tries to physically prevent you from going where you want to go.
  • You sometimes feel nervous and frightened around your partner.
  • Your partner often threatens to leave you.
  • You are afraid of your partner's temper.
  • Your friends and family dislike your partner and urge you to leave him/her.
  • Your partner blames you for his/her abusive behavior.

What You Should Do If You Are in an Unhealthy Relationship:

  • Get counseling at the Counseling Center (914-633-2038) or another mental health facility.
  • Get support for yourself from friends, family, or your Resident Assistant.
  • Refuse to tolerate bad behavior.
  • Tell yourself that you deserve better than this and get out of the relationship, because love shouldn't hurt!

How You Can Help a Friend Who is in an Unhealthy Relationship:

  • Tell your friend directly that you believe that she/he is in an unhealthy relationship.
  • Give specific and concrete examples of why you believe the relationship is unhealthy.
  • Tell your friend that she/he deserves better than to be in this relationship.
  • Tell your friend you will support her/him in getting out of this relationship.
  • Suggest counseling and take them to the Counseling Center

Resources at Iona College for Help With Relationships

  • The Counseling Center offers counseling for couples and individuals.
    Spellman Hall (914) 633-2038
  • Wellness Center
    760 North Avenue (914) 633-2548
  • Office of Mission and Ministry
    Robert V. LaPenta Student Union (914) 633-2632
  • Campus Safety and Security
    Robert V. LaPenta Student Union (914) 633-2560

Off-Campus Resources

  • New York State 24-hour Domestic and Sexual Violence Hotline (800) 942-6900
  • My Sister's Place 24-hour Hotline (800) 298-SAFE or (914) 969-5800
  • Victims Assistance Services (914) 345-3112