Valentine’s Day has come and gone, a holiday that some likely dreaded while others waited in anticipatory glee. Maybe you wondered if you would receive flowers and candy, or whether you would spend the evening alone feeling sorry for yourself. Rather than obsessing over whether or not you have a secret admirer, why not take the time to really examine what it is you want in a relationship?
Many of us spend years anticipating having a romantic relationship without much thought as to how we want to be treated within that relationship. Now is the time! Make a list, maybe even a Powerpoint (you want some extra academic work, right?) of things that you value in a partner. These can be really broad (I want to be with someone who values family) or really specific (I don’t want a partner who smokes).
Let’s take a minute to talk about some foundations of a healthy relationship. We always hear certain words around healthy relationships, but maybe we haven’t fully examined what they mean. Take trust, for instance. Partners in a healthy relationship build trust between each other and therefore don’t become overly jealous or anxious about the relationship. Do you really want a partner who is going to text you 100 times a day asking you where you are or who you’re with? That doesn’t sound like much fun, nor is it part of a healthy relationship. Always be honest. There isn’t any need for secrets, and secrets don’t lend themselves to building trust. Be yourself! Any potential partner should be interested in you for you, not because of status or because you’re pretending to be something different. Communication is key! If you don’t talk through issues, nothing will ever get solved.
It is not healthy if someone you are in a relationship with is hurting you, physically or emotionally. It is not healthy if they are trying to control your actions or who you spend your time with. If you or someone you know is involved in an unhealthy relationship, there are resources right here on campus to help! I’m the brand new Campus Wellness Coordinator and one of my main roles is to provide support and advocacy to students who may be experiencing issues such as this. Stop by and say hi- I’m in the Student Life Corridor of the UC! We also have a Counseling Center with fabulous staff ready to listen.
Whether you spent Valentine’s Day alone, with a group of great friends, or on a romantic date, take time to remember the most important person in your life: you. Nourish that relationship so that any other relationship can grow and be healthy.
Staci Hallanzzini is the Campus Wellness Coordinator at Pacific’s counseling center on Cedar Street.