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Relational and Social Health


Dating and Healthy Relationships (

What is dating?

Dating can look differently for different people, which means some people may not call it “dating” anymore. Some of the alternative ways of refer to dating can be…

  • Going out
  • Together
  • Seeing each other
  • Being with someone
  • Just friends
  • Friends with benefits
  • Hooking up
  • Hubby/wifey status

No matter the label, it is important that both people are comfortable with the same term.

What is in a healthy relationship?

  • Communication is key. It’s important for both partners to communicate openly and feel safe doing so.
  • Speak up. Confrontation can be hard for some of us, but it is a necessary part of a healthy relationship. If there is something on your mind, it’s healthier to talk it out rather than hold it in.
  • Respect. Just like your own, your partner’s thoughts, feelings, and opinions have value too. Mutual respect is essential in a healthy relationship. Let your partner know you hear their ideas and will keep them in mind.
  • Compromise. You and your partner will inevitably have differences. In order to work through those differences and maintain that mutual respect, working collaboratively to find a solution that can make you both happy is the healthiest and happiest way to go. Need ideas? Here’s some tips on conflict resolution.
  • Be Supportive. Offer your partner reassurance and encouragement, and let them know when you need the same. It’s about building each other up, not putting each other down.
  • Respect Each Other’s Privacy. Every individual has their own needs for space and boundaries. Trust your partner to share the important pieces with you, and use open communication for your curiosities.
  • Healthy Boundaries. Creating boundaries within and around your relationship is helpful for keeping your relationship healthier and secure. By creating these boundaries together, it gives you and your partner the opportunity to understand each other’s needs and expectations. Boundaries are not meant to make you feel trapped or anxious, nor should they disrespect needs for privacy (e.g., sharing passwords to your email, social media accounts or phone). They also shouldn’t restrict your ability to do normal activities (e.g., spending time with friends and family, participating in hobbies, etc.).
  • Healthy Boosters. Every relationship needs boosters when things get funky from time to time. You might be feeling disconnected or things may seem a little stale, and these are great opportunities to give yourselves a boost. Try finding a simple but fun activity to do together. You could also talk together about reasons the relationship is important to one another, or to talk honestly about things that might be bothering each person. Either way, remember to continue healthy relationship habits!

What isn’t a healthy relationship?

Generally, unhealthy relationships foster power and control, whereas healthy relationships encourage equality and respect. Early in a relationship, unhealthy behaviors may not be noticeable or seen as a big deal. Power and control are reflected in behaviors like possessiveness, jealousy, insults, yelling, accusations, humiliation, pushing/shoving, or other abusive actions. No matter the situation, there is no excuse for abuse.

Here are some common warning signs of an abusive relationship:

  • Checking phone, email, or social media accounts without permission.
  • Constantly putting partner down or insulting them.
  • Extreme jealousy or insecurity.
  • Explosive temper.
  • Isolation from family and friends.
  • Making false or unfair accusations.
  • Mood swings.
  • Physically hurting partner.
  • Possessiveness.
  • Telling partner what to do, often.
  • Pressure or force to have sex.

If you are worried about your relationship or someone you know, you can find quizzes and more information at Love is

For more help, consider these resources:

  • Crisis Assistance Listening Line: (575) 646-2255.
  • NMSU Counseling Center: Offers free and confidential individual and couples counseling for NMSU students.
  • La Casa: Local domestic violence shelter that offers a variety of comprehensive services for survivors of domestic violence.

The Party Scene

You might feel like other people in college are taking advantage of this stage of life to party and drink. Realistically, many of your fellow NMSU students do not drink, and those who do tend to make more safe decisions than not.

Each year WAVE invites NMSU students to participate in an alcohol survey. The following are the results of our 2013 Student Lifestyles Survey:

  • The majority of NMSU students never drink and drive.
  • 69% reported having served as a sober designated driver.
  • Among the students who drink, students on average, consumed 4.12 alcoholic drinks per week.
  • However, students think typical students on their campus consume an average of 10 drinks per week.

For more information and resources, you can visit our following corresponding pages:

  • WAVE Alcohol Page – If you choose to be a part of the college scene in college, check out the WAVE tools for partying tips.
  • E-Chug Self Assessment Tool – If alcohol is always present when you socialize, consider taking e-CHUG, a quick assessment to your alcohol use.


Sex can be a very complicated issue for people. Why is it so complicated?

People, whether aware or not, maintain their own attitudes, beliefs, and values about sex. In addition to those ideas, sex can become emotionally-charged and intense. Everyone comes from their own experiences, and ideally, sexual partners know and respect each other’s points of view. The key? Communication.

Everyone has their own ideas of what they want, so make sure to be on the same page. The only way to do that is to talk honestly and openly. Not sure where to start?

As recommended by the American Sexual Health Association, here are some important topics you could respectfully cover:

  • Relationship status: Committed or not? Friendly or romantic? Monogamous or non-monogamous?
  • Safe sex: What barriers do you want to use?
  • STI status: When were you last tested, and what were the results? How many partners have you had since your last testing?
  • Birth control: Are you currently using birth control? What precautions do you want to take?
  • Sexual pleasure: What kind of touch feels good to you? Where do you like to be touched, kissed, caressed, and/or held?
  • Sexual desires: What would you like to do?
  • Sexual boundaries: What are you willing to try? What are you  not willing to try? Are there places on your body you do not like being touched?

For more information, here are some online resources:

If a sexual experience is aggressive, pushes or crosses boundaries, or is forced, please visit our page about sexual assault and/or relationship violence. Additionally, these resources can offer assistance:

Get Involved

Sometimes when you start college, you transition into a new social identity with new interests and new friends. This may not come naturally for everybody, so it can be helpful to get involved. Whether it’s joining a club or getting involved with the community, meeting new people with similar interests could be just what you need.

Ready to get started? Consider the following: