Relationships have a paradoxical impact on life, serving as the source of some of one’s best and worst moments.

Outside of academics, many college students devote a large amount of time and energy to finding a suitable romantic partner. However, words like suitable or good do not always serve as an effective set of guidelines for developing and maintaining a healthy relationship.

“Everyone talks about wanting to be in a healthy relationship, but sometimes people are not sure what a healthy relationship really means,” Amy Lenhart, licensed Collin College counselor, explained.

Lenhart stressed that people often only think of an unhealthy relationship as one involving physical abuse.

“However, abuse can take many forms in a relationship,” Lenhart said. “Some of these include emotional abuse, financial abuse, intimidation, isolation and sexual abuse.”

Brandon Van Kuilenburg attended a seminar by Counseling Services on healthy relationships as part of a course he took last semester. He was surprised by the lack of information the everyday individual knows about healthy verses unhealthy relationships.

“A thing called economic abuse really stood out to me,” Kuilenburg said. “I’d never heard of that before. It’s when someone tells their spouse not to work and then gives them an allowance to live off of, giving the abuser more power and control.”

He finds it concerning that many characteristics of unhealthy relationships may be hard to recognize for the people experiencing them.

“Lack of respect, trying to control and manipulate another person and stifling a person’s growth for fear that they will leave you are also means of trying to control another and is not a healthy relationship,” Lenhart stressed. “Being able to recognize that you are in an unhealthy relationship is the first step to getting out of one and is also a process.”

Collin College Counseling Services in partnership with the Dean of Students Office will offer the same seminar Kuilenburg attended, titled “How Healthy is Your Relationship?,” again this spring from 1-2 p.m. on Wednesday, April 2 in the Central Park Campus Conference Center.

Kuilenburg said the information he learned is highly applicable.

“It helps students to make smarter choices,” Kuilenburg said.

For more information about the healthy relationships seminar, contact Counseling Services at 972.548.6648 or

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