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Healthy relationships

We all manage many different types of relationships. These include family, friendships, romantic relationships and professional relationships with lecturers or employers.

The most important thing is to maintain supportive healthy relationships. Therefore, if you have any concerns about a relationship come and talk to us in Student Support.

Relationships are very complex things, and there is no correct way to make a relationship work. People with supportive and loving relationships are more likely to feel healthy and happy and less likely to have mental health problems, so having good relationships is extremely important.

Think about the different relationships that you have in your life and the role that each plays in being supportive through difficult times.  These may include family, friends, flatmates, classmates, intimate relationships, partners, tutors, lecturers and supervisors but also the relationship you have with yourself.  It is very important that you actively look after yourself, both physically and emotionally to maintain your wellbeing.

Exploring your Sexuality

University is often the time when we find out who we really are, identify our dreams and start to shape our future. The challenges of being away from home, making new friends and realising that there's more to life than what you thought, is often how students feel about their university experience.

Increasing awareness of sexuality often happens as part of your University experience. This can be due to having time to really focus on yourself and your feelings without the confines of parental supervision or expectation, or simply due to the variety and freedom of student life. Whatever relationship you choose, it is all okay if it makes you happy!

Ulster University is a safe and inclusive space for all groups of students and Student Support staff have been trained in LGBT awareness.  If you need any help or advice, contact Student Support or look at some of the links on our resources page.

Difficult Relationships

Difficult or unhealthy relationships can include a wide variety of scenarios, from poor communication, use of offensive language or inappropriate invitations.  If you feel insecure or unsafe in any relationship, you should talk to someone to ask for help to address the issues or to end the relationship.

Sometimes it can be hard to acknowledge when relationships or friendships change and breakdown.  However, this is something that will often happen for students, as there are so many opportunities for study, travel and development, which may lead to feelings of detachment or jealously for the other person.  Take some time to review any unhealthy or fractious relationships in your life and ask yourself whether they are worth maintaining further, or whether it will be better to end the relationship.  Consider your happiness as your priority.

If you are in a difficult relationship and want to make some changes, talk to someone that you trust like a friend or a parent or come and talk to us in Student Support.  We offer confidential advice, guidance, and referral on other sources of support if required.

Domestic violence

Conflict is an integral part of relationships, however abuse and violence or feeling scared is never acceptable.  The government strategy ‘Tackling Violence at Home’ defines domestic violence as

“Threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, verbal, sexual, financial or emotional) inflicted on one person by another where they are or have been intimate partners or family members, irrespective of gender or sexual orientation.”

If you are worried about domestic violence and need immediate support, you should contact the Women’s Aid 24-hour Domestic & Sexual Violence Helpline on Freephone 0808 802 1414. This helpline is open to all women and men affected by domestic and sexual violence.  You can also come and speak to us in Student Support or contact Inspire our counselling service, for additional support.