Healthy Relationships

The Relationship Spectrum

According to, relationships fall on a spectrum from healthy to abusive with unhealthy falling somewhere in between. You can take a quiz on their website to see where your relationship(s) may fall. Or - check out the characteristics of each category below.

Healthy Relationships

These relationships are characterized by:

  • trust
  • honesty
  • respect
  • open communication
  • equality

Within these relationships, decisions are made together. Open discussions regularly occur and include all topic areas like relationship problems and sexual choices. And, you are happy to spend time together, but also have interests and time apart.

For 10 characteristics of healthy relationships visit One Love.  

Unhealthy Relationships

These relationships are characterized by:

  • breaks in communication
  • pressure
  • dishonesty
  • struggles for control
  • inconsiderate behavior

In this relationship, one person makes the decisions. They may pressure their partner to do things (sexually or otherwise) that they don't want to do. And, there is often a feeling that you can only spend time with that person - you don't have freedom to spend time as you want.

For 10 characteristics of an unhealthy relationship visit One Love's page.

Abusive Relationships

These relationships are characterized by:

  • accusations
  • blame shifting
  • isolation pressure
  • manipulation

In these relationships, one person makes all of the decisions for the other individual - sexual choices, friend groups, boundaries, what's true or not true, how you spend your time. You only spend time with this person and feel like you can't talk to other people.

Learn more on's "Is this Abuse?" page.


Maintaining Healthy Relationships

  • Keep expectations realistic.
  • Talk with each other.
  • Be flexible.
  • Take care of you.
  • Be dependable.
  • Fight fair.
  • Show your warmth.
  • Keep your life balanced.
  • It's a process.
  • Be yourself!

GVSU Students Talk About Healthy Relationships

Domestic & Dating Violence

Defining Domestic Violence and Dating Violence

Domestic violence and dating violence is behaviors or physical force that intimidate, manipulate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, hurt, injure or wound someone in order to obtain an/or maintain power or control over another. There are many different types of domestic violence, including physical, emotional/verbal, sexual and technological. Dating violence can occur in any gender combination, across all demographics and regardless of religion. In a healthy relationship, there is an equal balance of power and control; no one partner is continually dominate or controlling.

For more information visit GVSU's Center for Women and Gender Equity. The CWGE can advocate for and help support you or a victim/survivor of sexual violence.

Page last modified July 8, 2021