Just a Gander

By Brian Brecker
Elm Staff Writer

Whether you’re enjoying the candy of a healthy relationship or the candy of endless loneliness, there’s something sweet in Valentine’s Day for everyone. Valentine’s Day also represents a special time of year when couples keep arguments at bay. Living with another person and personally involved with them on a romantic level requires intimacy and trust.
There’s been a recent push to discuss healthy relationships on campus. What constitutes a healthy relationship can be a difficult thing to define; often people do not know they are in an unhealthy relationship until it’s over. I reached out to Professor Joseph Prud’homme for his advice on how to maintain healthy relationships in college.
“Be sure to treat those you come close to with loving kindness,” he said.
Prud’homme emphasized commitment to a person’s religious traditions and beliefs. This sense of distance from one’s past in college is palpable and certainly affects identity and interpersonal relationships.
All healthy relationships are built around trust and mutual understanding. If those elements are lacking in a committed couple, then there should be discussion as to why. Don’t be afraid to talk to your partner about your personal concerns, fears, or anxieties. If you still are worried they will judge or misunderstand you, then there may be a fundamental trust issue in the relationship, from either personal insecurities or a partner’s inability to listen. Patience is key. If you find someone consistently willing to support you in your endeavors and you theirs whom you are comfortable with and love, then, you’ve achieved a healthy relationship.
To be clear, there’s no such thing as a perfect relationship. What you see in the movies and books obviously aren’t real because all couples have problems. All couples argue and if they don’t, that shows an unwillingness to express negative feelings indicative of a problem. How you deal with those issues and arguments and work them out is what inevitably determines the quality of the relationship.
To end with the sage advice of Dr. Prud’homme, “Quality time together is the best gift.”

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