In a healthy relationship, both partners:
- Treat each other with respect
- Listen to each other
- Talk to each other openly and honestly
- Say good things about each other
- Enjoy spending time with each other
- Trust each other
- Accept each other's limits
In an unhealthy relationship, one person (or sometimes both people):
- Disrespects their partner
- Distrusts their partner
- Uses threats of harm, physical and/or emotional violence to get their way
- Is jealous and/or controlling about what their partner does or who they talk to
- Takes their anger out on their partner
If you have any questions, or suspect you may be in an unhealthy relationship, please contact us for advice, guidance and support.
Significant problems can arise when there is an intimate personal relationship between individuals with a power differential, particularly where one individual has a supervisory role over the other. This could refer to a relationship between a manager and subordinate staff, between an instructor and student, etc. This is cautioned in the policy as follows, under section 3.0:
Anyone in a relationship with a person where a Power Differential exists is advised that, if a Complaint of Sexual Harassment or Sexual Assault is subsequently filed, the Power Differential may be construed against the person in power.
When power differentials exist, those holding positions of authority must respect the power with which they are entrusted. Consent is a required element of such a relationship.
Pursuant to the Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Act, sexual solicitation by a person in a position to confer, grant or deny a benefit or advancement to another person shall not engage in sexual solicitation or make a sexual advance to that person. A person who is in a position to confer or deny a benefit or advancement to another person shall not penalize, punish or threaten reprisal against that person for the rejection of a sexual solicitation or advance.
Because of the power imbalance that exists, a romantic or sexual relationship with a subordinate that appears to be consensual may actually be unwanted. Due to concern over the impact it may have on their academic or career progress, individuals may have difficulty communicating freely that they do not want such a relationship or that they want the relationship to end.
Always Ask! Ask yourself. Ask others. Ask us.