The following information sheet is designed to start the conversation about relationships. There are many different things we can look for in an intimate relationship and challenges to consider, but here are a few thoughts.
Please keep in mind that should you be experiencing any difficulties in your relationships that it can be useful to meet with a UTS Counsellor (details below).
- A supportive and loving relationship can enrich our lives. Healthy relationships often share some key ingredients: respect, honesty, trust, love, companionship, intimacy and financial security (Relationships Australia, 2015).
- A good goal to work towards in a relationship is balance between independence and intimacy or between distance and closeness. Our independence is important to us – “doing our own thing” – yet we also want to be loved and accepted by the person closest to us (Relationships Australia, 2015).
- The look and feel of a relationship will change over time. There are natural highs and lows – this is normal.
- Some people prefer not to enter into a romantic relationship; this could be for any number of reasons, for example, because of poor timing or personal circumstances or because they are happier on their own.
- Even if a relationship is not long lasting, the experience can lead to personal growth.
What’s love got to do with it?
In the beginning, you might find yourself preoccupied with thoughts of the other person or persons and want to spend all of your time with them. Love blends friendship, physical attraction, sexual desire, companionship and commitment (ANU, 2011), and no two couples are the same.
People can show and express their love in different ways, for example, by doing things together, being physically intimate with one another, or simply being in the presence of each other.
In a supportive and loving relationship, two people work towards accepting each other just as they are.
Being in a relationship is about sharing the good times and helping each other through the tough times.
“All couples experience problems in one form or another - it's part of sharing your life with another person. The difference between relationships that flourish and those that don't is how well couples deal with the challenges and problems they face in their life together.” – Relationships Australia, 2015.
Constructive conflict is a healthy and normal part of being in a relationship, and can lead to personal growth and mutual understanding. It involves talking to each other in a respectful manner and feeling that our voice is heard, even when we’re upset or angry.
Most of us have to learn the skills to manage conflict and communicate effectively with the person closest to us. You might like to read some self-help books, talk to friends or family, or visit the UTS Counselling Service for support and assistance.
It is important to note that the conflict we refer to here is not abusive or violent behaviour. If you are concerned that your partner is being abusive please seek assistance from the Police or UTS Counselling and please read on for additional supportive suggestions.
A break up can be a challenging and painful experience, whether or not you initiated the separation. You might feel a whole host of emotions: anger, guilt, remorse, abandonment, loneliness, and confusion – and this is normal (Relationships Australia, 2015).
Most people, given time, are able to move forward with their lives after a break up, however this does not mean it is easy whilst you are managing the intensity of the feelings.
If you would like support around managing a break up or separation, or any aspect of a relationship issue then please make an appointment with the UTS Counselling Service on 9514 1177.
Abuse in a relationship can take the form of physical, emotional, verbal, sexual or economic abuse. It has no place in a supportive and loving relationship.
If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse, please contact the UTS Counselling Service on 9514 1177 for free and confidential support and assistance. You can choose to speak to a male or female counsellor. If you are a UTS student or staff member experiencing sexual assault or are concerned about someone in our UTS community, please contact the UTS Sexual Assault Support Line on 1800 531 626 during office hours. The UTS Sexual Assault Support Line is staffed by professionally trained, trauma informed counsellors 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays)
If you would like assistance outside of office hours, please contact NSW Rape Crisis on 1800 424 017 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.
Australian National University (ANU), 2011, Boyfriends, Girlfriends, Lovers, Partners, viewed 16 December 2015, < https://counselling.anu.edu.au/brochure/boyfriends-girlfriends-lovers-partners>
Relationships Australia, 2015, Relationship Advice, viewed 16 December 2015, <http://www.relationships.org.au/relationship-advice/relationship-advice-topics>