Healthy Relationships

The Office of Advocacy and Support works to provide assistance to the GW Community in cultivating healthy and safe relationships. Read information from the One Love Foundation below to learn about the signs of healthy and unhealthy relationships.

If you would like to talk to a confidential advocate about healthy relationships or connect with our office about trainings, call 202-994-0443 or email [email protected]


10 Signs of A Healthy Relationship

Healthy relationships bring out the best in you and make you feel good about yourself. A healthy relationship does not mean a “perfect” relationship, and no one is healthy 100% of the time, but the signs below are behaviors you should strive for in all of your relationships.

Healthy relationships manifest themselves as healthy communication, but in order to have a healthy relationship, you need to love yourself first. Here are some characteristics and behaviors of a healthy relationship.

Comfortable Pace

The relationship moves at a speed that feels enjoyable for each person.


Confidence that your partner(s) won’t do anything to hurt you or ruin the relationship.


You can be truthful and candid without fearing how the other person will respond. 


You have space to be yourself outside of the relationship. 


You value one another’s beliefs and opinions, and love one another for who you are as a person.


The relationship feels balanced and everyone puts the same effort into the success of the relationship.


You are caring and empathetic to one another, and provide comfort and support.

Taking Responsibility

Owning your own actions and words.

Healthy Conflict

Openly and respectfully discussing issues and confronting disagreements non-judgmentally.


You enjoy spending time together and bring out the best in each other.


Blue heart on a light pink background surrounded by white, pink, yellow, and black confetti

Healthy relationships are fun and make everyone in them feel good!  

Red heart with a green plant with white flowers growing from it on a grey background

In a healthy relationship, everyone feels like they can grow and flourish.


10 Signs of An Unhealthy Relationship

While everyone does unhealthy things sometimes, we can all learn to love better by recognizing unhealthy signs and shifting to healthy behaviors. If you are seeing unhealthy signs in your relationship, it’s important to not ignore them and understand they can escalate to abuse. If you think you are in a dangerous situation, trust your gut and get help. You can talk to a Confidential Advocate from the Office of Advocacy and Support by calling 202-994-0443 and by emailing [email protected].


When someone expresses very extreme feelings and over-the top behavior that feels overwhelming.


When someone is jealous to a point where they try to control who you spend time with and what you do. 


When someone tries to control your decisions, actions or emotions.


When someone keeps you away from friends, family, or other people.


When someone purposely ruins your reputation, achievements, or success.


When someone does and says things to make you feel bad about yourself.


When someone makes you feel responsible for their actions or makes you feel like it’s your job to keep them happy. 


When someone has a really strong, unpredictable reaction that makes you feel scared, confused or intimidated.

Deflecting Responsibility

When someone repeatedly makes excuses for their unhealthy behavior.


When someone is disloyal or acts in an intentionally dishonest way.


Black heart being burnt by red, orange, and yellow flames on a grey background

Unhealthy relationships may feel too intense, overwhelming, and suffocating.


An unhealthy relationship can feel like a rollercoaster. People may not be able to predict what is coming next and feel out of control.