DVA: Healthy vs. Unhealthy Relationships

1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men will become the victims of domestic violence at some point in their lives. It may not seem like something relevant to your life at the moment, but domestic violence is something important to be aware of, especially as you’re in college and entering new relationships. October is recognized as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, so this month I wanted to point out some of the building blocks of a healthy relationship.


Your significant other should be respectful of many things that are important to you. They should respect your time. Whether that be respecting time that you need to do homework, work or just time apart. Your life shouldn't feel like it is revolved around the other person. They should be respectful of other people who are important to you, like friends or family. You shouldn't feel alienated from anyone because of your significant other.


They should be respectful of your boundaries. Boundaries don’t just mean sex. Sometimes you need space or you don’t feel comfortable going somewhere. You are still your own person, and while it may feel like your lives are intersected in every way, you are entitled to your own feelings and space. Whatever it may be, you should never feel like you’re being pushed to do something.


If there isn’t trust in a relationship, there is a lot of room for mental or verbal abuse. Your person shouldn’t make you feel guilty for going out with friends or taking time for yourself. In a healthy relationship, one person shouldn’t feel like they are tip-toeing around the other, afraid of how they may react if they do something wrong. Trust is a foundation of a healthy relationship, and without it, many unhealthy traits can come to play.


While partners should feel like they can be honest about anything, it’s important to recognize that they don’t have to share everything. In relationships it is okay to keep some things to yourself. One person shouldn’t feel like they have ownership over the others’ thoughts or secrets. This goes back to trust and knowing that if your significant other had something to share, they would. It is also unhealthy to fly off the handle and make accusations just because one person doesn’t want to reveal a certain piece of information.


In a healthy relationship, if problems arise you should feel comfortable discussing them with your partner. A lot of people avoid talking and think that avoiding the issues will resolve the problem. In all reality, doing this can ultimately lead to resentment and an unhealthy environment. A sign of an unhealthy relationship is feeling afraid to talk about something in fear of how the other person will react. It’s okay to have arguments. Everyone does. It is unhealthy to feel afraid, for yourself or your relationship and of having a conversation.

Resources Available

If you or someone you know is currently being or has been a victim of domestic violence, there are resources available here in Johnson County and across the country.

DVIP: Domestic Violence Intervention Program 

Phone: 800.373.1043

Address: 1105 South Gilbert Court, Iowa City, IA


RAINN: Anti- Sexual Violence Association

Phone: 800.656.HOPE


NDVH: Nation Domestic Violence Hotline

Phone: 1.800.799.7233

Being aware of some of the signs of healthy and unhealthy relationships are important to know not only for yourself, but for other people in your life too. Being affected by domestic violence doesn’t just include physical abuse, it also can include verbal or mental. So during this month, look out for your friends and family, and talk to them if you think something might be going on.

Image Credit: IMG1