Student Wellness Services

Student Wellness Services

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Signs of a Healthy Relationship

Healthy relationships are a partnership where responsibilities & chores are shared but each person is able to make decisions for themselves.  Healthy relationships involve economic equality where decisions about work, school, and money are made together.  Healthy relationships involve sexual respect where partners try to please each other and respect when one partner doesn't want to engage in sexual activities.  Healthy relationships make each person feel safe and comfortable expressing themselves without fear of violence.  Healthy relationships involve mutual trust & support where partners' value each others opinions.  Healthy relationships are built on a friendship that continues to grow and develop over time.  Healthy relationships involve enjoyment while spending time together and time apart.

Characteristics of a Healthy Relationship


  • Learning about the other person and valuing what is important to them
  • Having the choice about whether to be sexually active and if so, at what pace and level


  • Openly and honestly talking about each others' sexual desires and fears


  • Being able to count on your partner will be there for you when you need them
  • Understanding that promises should never be taken lightly


  • Listening and trying to hear each others needs and wants
  • Talking about what level of sexual activity you're both comfortable with BEFORE engaging in any sexual activities
Red Flags

Unhealthy relationships often leave us feeling uncomfortablesad and afraid. It’s hard to admit when someone isn’t treating us well or respectful, especially when that person is a lover.  This doesn't mean if someone treats you badly or you have a disagreement that the relationship is automatically unhealthy. Disagreements happen in healthy relationships all the time.  What makes a relationship healthy is being able to compromise when disagreements occur.

Signs of an unhealthy relationship include:

  • One partner needing to control the other
  • Focusing all your energy on your partner
  • Trying to change yourself or your partner to be what you want them to be
  • Dropping friends and family or activities you enjoy
  • Having one partner makes all the decisions
  • One partner yells, hits, or throws things at the other during arguments
  • Having more bad times in the relationship than good

What is Abuse?

Emotional ABUSE

  • Any behavior by one partner that decreases their partners' self-esteem and leaves them feeling out of control.
  • Emotionally abusive relationship typically involve both good and bad times. 
  • Emotional abuse usually creeps into the relationship gradually.

Physical ABUSE

  • Physical force or violence that results in bodily injury, pain, or impairment. 
  • Includes assault, intentional touching or someone against their will, or inappropriate restraint.

Sexual ABUSE

  • Any form of non-consensual physical contact.
  • Includes rape, molestation, or any sexual conduct with a person who lacks the mental capacity to give consent.

Psychological ABUSE

  • Willful infliction of mental or emotional anguish by threat, humiliation, or other verbal or non-verbal conduct.

What is Domestic Violence?

  • An escalating pattern of violence or intimidation by an intimate partner, which is used to gain power and control.
  • It can include other forms of mistreatment and cruelty such as constant threatening as well as psychological, emotional, sexual, financial, spiritual, or verbal abuse.
  • Nearly 37% of female patients treated in the Emergency Room for a violent injury have been abused by an intimate partner.
  • Common side effects of domestic violence include: anxiety, depression, hypertension, headaches, suicidal ideation, eating disorders, chronic urinary tract infections, sexual dysfunction.

          Staying in an unhealthy relationship will eventually ruin your self-esteem/self worth and the longer you stay the more damage it will do.  Ending an unhealthy relationship starts with admitting that the relationship is dysfunctional.  Once you’ve admitted it, talk to someone about how to leave the relationship.


  • Barb Lotan, Sexual Violence Prevention & Response Coordinator                            613-533-6330
  • Sexual Assault & Domestic Violence Program                                                       ER at KGH & HDH
  • Sexual Assault Centre Kingston                                                                           1-877-544-6424
  • Queen's Student Wellness Services                                                                      613-533-2506
  • Sexual Health Resource Centre                                                                             613-533-2959
  • Queen's Campus Emergency Response                                                                 613-533-6111
  • AMS Peer Support Centre                                                                                     613-533-6000 x75111
  • Ban Righ Centre                                                                                                   613-533-2976