The Spectrum of Relationships


Exploring Relationships

Relationships exist on a spectrum and can range from healthy to abusive, with unhealthy existing somewhere in between. Relationships look different depending on the partners, friends or family members within them. No matter the relationship, it should build you up, rather than break you down.

Visit the education page to browse additional educational topics or learn more about how to cultivate healthy relationships.

tables and chairs

Healthy Relationships

Healthy relationships are based on mutual trust, respect and kind communication. They allow you to feel supported and respected within the relationship, while still maintaining your independence. Healthy relationships don’t mean that conflict never arises, it just means that whenever it does it can be navigated through compromise and understanding. Within a healthy relationship, equality and respect are the norm.


Unhealthy Relationships

Unhealthy relationships involve disrespect and distrust. Sometimes this can manifest as stonewalling (refusing to speak with you or answer your questions) and/or defensiveness. In an unhealthy relationship you may not feel equal to your partner or like your goals are being supported.


tables and chairs on campus

Abusive Relationships

Abusive relationships exhibit patterns of destructive behaviors that are used to exert power or control over their partner. Abusive partners can make you feel fearful, they may make threats to harm themselves, you, your loved ones or your property. Blame is unequally shared; abusive partners don’t take responsibility for their own actions. You may feel unsafe, as perpetrators will often isolate you from your support system and exhibit various forms of physical, emotional and/or sexual violence.

Exploring Relationships

You may begin to notice some of these red flags in your own relationship, or a friend’s, but feel unsure about what to do next. It is normal to want to talk to someone to formulate a plan:

  • Visit ASU Counseling Services to learn more about counseling and crisis support on campus
  • Utilize the MyPlan app to further explore aspects of your, or a friend’s, relationship and be connected with resources for support.
  • Connect with the Sun Devil Support Network to talk to a peer about the resources available
  • Speak with an ASU Victim Advocate by calling 480-727-5167 or visit the Victim and Survivor Services webpage to explore options to speak with an advocate.
  • Reach out to EMPACT’s 24-hour ASU-dedicated crisis hotline at 480-921-1006.
  • In a life-threatening emergency, call 911.