Virtual Defining Masculinity Series
Healthy Relationships
Seth Snoap, Men As Allies Coordinator 

From birth, we spend our entire lives building relationships with other people. Relationships are so essential to our well-being, that Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs ranks them the third most important thing for humans, coming only after safety and physiological needs. Healthy relationships can improve our livesour mood, and our overall happiness. Unfortunately, not all relationships are healthyToo often relationships are one-sided, unhealthy, manipulative, controlling, or abusive. Imaintaining relationships with others is in fact essential for a healthy life, how do we ensure we are partaking in healthy relationships, rather than toxic ones?  

The key to understanding healthy relationships is communication. We need to engage in conversations with others about what we value in a healthy relationship. We need to discuss our wants and needs, and be willing to question potential unhealthy behaviors. By practicing an open dialogue with one another, we will create a collective mindset based on respect and open communication within our relationships; no matter who the relationship is with.  

Have you ever considered what you would do if your friend constantly blows you off but when they need you, they expect you to be there? What would you do? What would you say? How would you explain to your partner that you need more trust within the relationship? Talking through these situations will allow us to understand ourselves and our loved ones better, helping us have clearer ideas of the type of relationships we want and need. 

In relationships, we need to know what we deserve, what we need, and what our expectations are. A healthy relationship consists of mutual respect, trust, and communication between the people in it. Empathy is a powerful thing when relationships are built upon it.  

Be an ally for change and have this conversation with the young men and boys in your life. Click here for a guided outline on discussing Healthy Relationships.