Sam and Riley are in a monogamous long-term relationship of two years. Even though they do not live together, they see each other six days out of the week. They have lunch together and sometimes dinner too. They study together and attend each other’s club meetings at night. If it weren’t for their separate majors (declared before they met), they probably would be taking the same classes too. On weekends, Riley invites Sam to outings with their friends, and vice versa. They eventually share the same social and academic circles. They have similar interests (by chance actually) and really enjoy each other’s company. The two are inseparable and ever so in love.
Does this sound like you or someone you know?
Though it may seem picturesque to some people, this is actually an unhealthy relationship. Sam and Riley may have honest and good intentions, but their dependence on each other is detrimental to their independent growth.
I have been in my share of unhealthy relationships, as well as seen many of my friends in them. As a college student, I feel like the circumstances of college tend to lend themselves to unhealthy relationships that lack boundaries, specifically like that of Sam and Riley’s relationship. For many students attending a college away from home and away from parents, there is a lot of freedom that comes at the price of loneliness and homesickness. Finding a significant other(s) that shares your interests and makes you feel good about yourself can quickly turn into an unhealthy relationship by putting you in a euphoric bubble (with your partner(s)) and keeping the negative attributes of reality (and other people) at bay. Before you know it, you will find yourself heavily depending on your partner(s) for happiness.
It’s important to understand that every single relationship is unique and dynamic. There is no clear cut check list for all of the ingredients that make up a perfect healthy relationship. Just like cooking, there are many wonderful variations of the same dish, but there are also ingredients that would spoil the dish (analogous to an unhealthy relationship). With that in mind, I would like to share some information from The National Domestic Violence Hotline website (http://www.thehotline.org/) below. Please note that this information is true for any type of relationship (monogamous or not, sexual or not), and if you or anyone you know is in an unhealthy relationship, please seek help.
“Healthy relationships allow both partners to feel supported and connected but still feel independent. COMMUNICATION and BOUNDARIES are the two major components of a healthy relationship. Ultimately, the two people in the relationship decide what is healthy for them and what is not. If something doesn’t feel right, you should have the freedom to voice your concerns to your partner.”