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Relationship Health

Relationship Concerns?

A relationship is simply two or more beings interacting with one another on a regular basis. We have relationships that form in all areas of our lives. Some of our relationships are fulfilling, healthy and safe. Some leave room for improvement. We know that it can be difficult to handle some of the problems that arise in our day-to-day interactions with others. It isn’t always easy to communicate with our parents, family, friends, roommates, coworkers or intimate partners. Here at the Center for Women and Gender, we support students in developing and maintaining their relationships in the healthiest way possible. It is often difficult to make sense of what is happening in our relationships and the Center is here to assist you in these and other areas of concern.


This is often the most difficult subject for many students to discuss when it comes to their relationships. If you have experienced any of the following in your relationship, we’d like to help:

  • pushed or shoved you
  • held you to keep you from leaving
  • slapped or bitten you
  • kicked or choked you
  • hit or punched you
  • thrown objects at you
  • locked you out of the house
  • abandoned you in dangerous places
  • refused to help you when you were sick, injured or pregnant
  • forced you off the road or driven recklessly
  • threatened to hurt you with a weapon

If you haven't experienced any of the abusive actions listed above, it is important to remember that other types of abuse nearly always precede physical violence. Emotional, mental and verbal abuse are often an issue long before physical force is used. In some relationships, physical abuse never takes place, but that does not mean that the relationship is not abusive. If your partner's behavior negatively impacts your sense of self, the damage done to your emotional health is just as serious and dangerous, as physical abuse.

  • Young women, ages 16-24, experience the highest rates of relationship violence- 16 per 1000. (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2003)
  • In a national study of adolescents, 3 of every 10 experienced some type of psychological or physical violence.
  • 1 in 10 was the victim of (minor) physical violence. (Halpern, et al, 2001)
  • One in five college students report some form of physical violence and abuse in their dating relationships. (National Center for Victims of Crime, 2004)
  • Violence against women by intimates is often accompanied by emotionally abusive and controlling behaviors. (Tjaden & Thoennes, 2000)
  • Relationship violence in LBGT relationships mirror the rate in heterosexual relationships, that is 25%-33%. (National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, 1997)
  • Prevalence of relationship violence varies among race. Ethnic groups most at risk are American Indian/Alaskan Native women, African-American women and Latinas. (Tjaden & Thoennes, 2000)

Control Issues

Although a relationship may not have been affected by physical violence, there are other ways in which a relationship can be unhealthy and potentially abusive. If you are interacting with a person who seems to have more say in what you do than you do, that’s a problem.

Control is often in place long before any physical abuse ever occurs. When someone in your life feels a need to control you, it is because they are dealing with feelings of insecurity. The only one who should be in control of your life is you. If you need to take control of your life, we can help you find the safest way to do that.


Some of our most intimate relationships involve sexual expression and exploration. Whether you are “hooking up” or believe you have found “the one”, it is important to be smart about sex.  Sometimes it is difficult to talk to the people closest to us about our feelings about sex or our sexual identity. We provide a confidential and accepting space for you to explore issues that all of us face.

Conflict And Communication Issues

It's unavoidable and is found in all relationships. Whether the conflict is about what movie to watch, what your major should be or whether to break-up, it's how you the conflicts in your relationships that makes the difference. Do you struggle in this area? We can help you examine your own communication style and determine a better way to relate to the people you come in contact with on a daily basis.