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Healthy Relationships2022-07-29T18:35:57-05:00

Healthy Relationships

Healthy relationships involve honesty, trust, respect, and open communication between partners and they take effort and compromise from both people. There is no imbalance of power. Partners respect each other’s independence, can make their own decisions without fear of retribution or retaliation, and share decisions. If or when a relationship ends, there is no stalking or refusal to let the other partner go.

Relationships Spectrum

All relationships exist on a spectrum from healthy to abusive, with unhealthy relationships somewhere in the middle. Explore our interactive Relationship Spectrum by rating different scenarios as healthy, unhealthy, or abusive, and find out where your own relationship falls.

PDF DOWNLOAD: THE RELATIONSHIP SPECTRUM

Characteristics of Healthy
& Unhealthy Relationships

Respect for both oneself and others is a key characteristic of healthy relationships. In contrast, in unhealthy relationships, one partner tries to exert control and power over the other physically, sexually, and/or emotionally.

Qualities of a Healthy Relationship

Healthy relationships share certain characteristics that we should be taught to expect. They include:

  • Mutual respect. Respect means that each person values who the other is and understands the other person’s boundaries.

  • Trust. Partners should place trust in each other and give each other the benefit of the doubt.

  • Honesty. Honesty builds trust and strengthens relationships.

  • Compromise. In a relationship, each partner does not always get his or her way. Each should acknowledge different points of view and be willing to give and take.

  • Individuality. Neither partner should have to compromise who he/she is, and his/her identity should not be based on a partner’s. Each should continue seeing his or her friends and doing the things he/she loves. Each should be supportive of his/her partner wanting to pursue new hobbies or make new friends.

  • Good communication. Each partner should speak honestly and openly to avoid miscommunication. If one person needs to sort out his or her feelings first, the other partner should respect those wishes and wait until he or she is ready to talk.

  • Anger control. We all get angry, but how we express it can affect our relationships with others. Anger can be handled in healthy ways such as taking a deep breath, counting to ten, or talking it out.

  • Fighting fair. Everyone argues at some point, but those who are fair, stick to the subject, and avoid insults are more likely to come up with a possible solution. Partners should take a short break away from each other if the discussion gets too heated.

  • Problem- solving. Partners can learn to solve problems and identify new solutions by breaking a problem into small parts or by talking through the situation.

  • Understanding. Each partner should take time to understand what the other might be feeling.

  • Self-confidence. When partners have confidence in themselves, it can help their relationships with others. It shows that they are calm and comfortable enough to allow others to express their opinions without forcing their own opinions on them.

  • Being a role model. By embodying what respect means, partners can inspire each other, friends, and family to also behave in a respectful way.

  • Healthy sexual relationship. Partners engage in a sexual relationship that both are comfortable with, and neither partner feels pressured or forced to engage in sexual activity that is outside his or her comfort zone or without consent.

Qualities of an Unhealthy Relationship

Unhealthy relationships are marked by characteristics such as disrespect and control. It is important for youth to be able to recognize signs of unhealthy relationships before they escalate. Some characteristics of unhealthy relationships include:

  • Control. One partner makes all the decisions and tells the other what to do, what to wear, or who to spend time with. He or she is unreasonably jealous, and/or tries to isolate the other partner from his or her friends and family.

  • Hostility. One partner picks a fight with or antagonizes the other partner. This may lead to one partner changing his or her behavior in order to avoid upsetting the other.

  • Dishonesty. One partner lies to or keeps information from the other. One partner steals from the other.

  • Disrespect. One partner makes fun of the opinions and interests of the other partner or destroys something that belongs to the partner.

  • Dependence. One partner feels that he or she “cannot live without” the other. He or she may threaten to do something drastic if the relationship ends.

  • Intimidation. One partner tries to control aspects of the other’s life by making the other partner fearful or timid. One partner may attempt to keep his or her partner from friends and family or threaten violence or a break-up.

  • Physical violence. One partner uses force to get his or her way (such as hitting, slapping, grabbing, or shoving).

  • Sexual violence. One partner pressures or forces the other into sexual activity against his or her will or without consent.

PDF DOWNLOAD: QUALITIES OF HEALTHY AND UNHEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS
Healthy Boundaries
Communication
Trust
PDF DOWNLOAD: HEALTHY BOUNDARIES, COMMUNICATION & TRUST
Understanding Consent
PDF DOWNLOAD: UNDERSTANDING CONSENT

What Montgomery County Women’s Center

Means to Me

I used to think I was alone in the world and that nobody would understand that I was an outcast – that I’d be the one to stand out in a sea of people. Then I finally told someone my story. I found the women’s center – a place for my voice to be heard, a place where I found my voice, a place where people understand me more where the weight on my shoulders wasn’t so great – a safe place – the first place I genuinely laughed and smiled – a place to cry where no one judges. “Broken wings will heal and one day you will fly again.”

-- Stephanie
Teen Space Support Group Participant

The Montgomery County Women’s Center came into my life when I needed it the most, but I didn’t know that at the time. Being in an abusive relationship you think that YOU were doing something wrong or you can “fix” them. When I started to hear the patterns and then see the patterns, I knew I needed to change something. That change ended up being hard but they were with me through those hard times. I can honestly say that I’m in a better place now because of the work they did for me and with me.

-- Rob
High School Teacher

The Women’s Center plays a critical role in restoring the lives of individuals in our community. As an advocacy agency they continue to contribute to assisting without placing judgment or expectations upon those who are in need of their services. It is a true example of how lives can change when a combination of understanding and compassion meet.

-- Amber Dana
Community Partner/Advocate

If one year ago today you told me I’d be coming to a teen group & a part of the Youth Advisory Committee I’d look at you crazy. I never thought I’d be happy again. The Women’s Center has given me hope, courage, support. A place where I know I have a voice, where I know I can be open; truly. I can now say I’m a strong individual; I can set boundaries. I am more than what happened to me, I’m stronger, I’m better. Being a part of this group has helped me see my worth. It has changed my life for the better.

-- Samantha
Teen Space Support Group Participant

Montgomery County Women’s Center means empowerment, courage, love, & stability. The people here don’t pity me but they share empathy with me; they hear me. The counseling at has helped so much. It has helped me understand that it wasn’t my fault and to take control of the situation. It’s more of a safe place to let all my thoughts out.

-- Daisy
Support Group Participant

The Women’s Center has been one of the biggest blessings of my life. At the shelter I felt safe and was given resources to be able to stand on my own – away from my abuser. Then at Reaching Pines, I feel very supported and appreciate learning how to protect myself and notice red flags in future relationships.

-- Susan
Reaching Pines Resident

The Montgomery County Women’s Center is truly a life saver! The services provided are just invaluable. There really are no words to express my appreciation. The material covered through the Personal Empowerment Program classes is very well put together and I feel so fortunate to have been able to attend and gain knowledge.

-- Ashley
Domestic Violence Education Class Participant

For my students, The Women’s Center opens up a conversation about topics that are not always easy to address. It provides impactful information that can be eye opening and new to some, but very emotionally relevant to others. They then can take this information and related issues into their future work place, home, relationships. It can teach them what a healthy relationship is and what red flags to look for. Having the Outreach Team come speak to them is a wonderful teaching tool.

-- Susie
Sam Houston State University Professor

To the community Montgomery County Women’s Center means fellowship. It give us an identity and strength. It provides a reason to come together and work for a purpose and to surround each other with support.

-- Courtney
Sam Houston State University Professor

To me, The Women’s Center means the ability to start over on my own. It means new found freedom and assistance. To the community it means HOPE.

-- Jasmine
Counseling Client

For me, The Montgomery County Women’s Center is a lighthouse where there was once darkness. It is a place of healing.

-- Doris
Counseling Client

My volunteer experience has been so positive. Everyone who I come into contact here, every staff person, has been so helpful. It has made my experience very supportive. Being able to look back on the last two years and think about how many hours I’ve been on-call and how many people I’ve been able to talk to, it’s such a good feeling. Knowing that I’ve made a difference in my community and, hopefully, in the lives of those survivors is the best feeling and an amazing experience.

-- Sharon
Volunteer

The Montgomery County Women’s Center helped me realize the impact I can make in another’s life with only a few words!

-- Jamie
Volunteer

The Montgomery County Women’s Center means education. They provide the most comprehensive training for volunteers to be ready on their first shift. I am learning everyday through my work with them. My mind is more open.

-- Scarlett
Volunteer

The Women’s Center means the realization that as a community we are not doing enough to protect, believe, and empower survivors. By supporting the center I am able to change that.

-- Justin
Volunteer

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2022 Scholarship Event

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