How to Foster Healthy Relationships

Feb 14th, 2023

Text on pink background. Black Student Wellness Logo. Text reads "HOW TO FOSTER HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS. Brought to you by "S.A.F.E.""

This content was developed by our Sexual Assault Free Environment (SAFE) Student Peer Team

What constitutes a healthy relationship?

Most relationships aren't purely 100% healthy or unhealthy. Many relationships have both healthy and unhealthy qualities. Relationship "healthiness" is not a binary. There isn't a single defining trait that distinguishes an unhealthy relationship from a healthy one. What's important is that each relationship can identify the qualities that are important to them and work together to achieve them.

What are some traits of a healthy relationship?

Healthy relationship qualities can look many different ways. At their core, healthy relationship traits involve trust, respect, honesty and valuing our needs as well as our partner's needs.

  • Feeling respected and giving respect.
  • Establishing and honouring boundaries and consent.
  • Feeling comfortable approaching your partner with an issue, even if it's something they may not want to hear.
  • Taking accountability.
  • Expressing concerns without being critical.
  • Working as a team to resolve conflicts, not working against each other.
  • Working to compromise to balance your needs and your partner's needs.

How can I work to make my relationship healthier?

Working towards a healthier relationship requires effort from all those involved. Some ways we can work towards healthier relationships can include valuing:

  • Communication: If your partner does something that bothers you, communicate that they've crossed a boundary in a respectful manner.
  • Honesty: Try to have honest conversations with your partner about your strengths and opportunities for improvement.
  • Showing an Effort: Make sure your partner knows that you are always invested in improving yourself and your relationship.

How can I value consent in a relationship?

Consent is critical in every relationship and at every stage. Long-term relationships are not an excuse to forgo consent. We can value consent in our relationships by remembering the “I’M SAFE” model of consent (Credit: Angel Russell, MS, CSE /

I - Informed
M - Moment to Moment
S - Specific
A - Awake and Aware
F - Freely given
E - Enthusiastic

Resources & Support: 

If you or someone you know has been impacted by sexual or gender-based violence, you are not alone and supports are available. You can connect with the Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Support Coordinator who provides coordinated support and resources following experiences of sexual and gender-based violence. They also provide consultation services to faculty and staff responding to disclosures of sexual violence. Anyone can refer a friend or themselves to the Coordinator by emailing

You do not need to disclose or make a report in order to access support. Students are also welcome to bring a support person with them to the planning or support meeting. For more information about supports available, please visit our website.

Self-help resources: 

For more information about how to get involved in on-going opportunities to prevent Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, check out our Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Training Opportunities.