Students learn relationship tips in Counseling Center boot camp

The UCA Counseling Center hosted a healthy relationship boot camp Sept. 24 in the Student Health Center to enlighten students on the reality of everyday relationships.

Susan Sobel, UCA Counseling Center director, led the workshop, which was designed for students to look at an ideal relationship and understand how they differ from real relationships.

Sobel said people are often consumed in having the perfect love story such as “Romeo and Juliet” and the Disney princess fairy tales, but it doesn’t usually happen that way.

“The reality is we sometimes get bored with our relationships, jobs, and everyday life,” Sobel said.

She distributed flash cards to students as a group activity to place under green, yellow and red lights to let students determine what they believed would make them advance, question or cease a relationship.

Options included sharing feelings, being jealous and having unequal power between partners. Junior Toney Reed said more options were a big red light for him.

“It’s unique how many people view what they think is and isn’t okay in a relationship,” he said. “I guess some people are willing to tolerate more than others.”

Using a PowerPoint presentation, Sobel displayed charts that showed qualities that students should consider as being healthy or unhealthy in a relationship.

Qualities of a healthy relationship include having good communication skills, mutual respect and spending enough time with one another.

As for unhealthy relationships, if given the feeling of isolation, intimidation or if one is verbally attacked, a person should look to either leave that relationship or find solutions to fix it.

“Coming to college, many students are starting adult life and it becomes a big part of what they do in interacting with others,” Sobel said. “Many times they become unaware of the unhealthy behaviors they pick up.”

Sobel also gave a few tips for both surviving and enjoying dating.

Her first point was that dating is practice for a real relationship. Every person you date will not be “Mr. or Mrs. Right,” that relationships can teach people lessons. She also said having siblings is a good way to practice interacting with others.

Other points she mentioned include having the courage to commit and the impact of social media now, as compared to 10 years ago.

“Like with academics, students should know they have to put work in to get good results in any type of relationship,” she said.

She said there were four rules that not only students, but people in general should know and follow to keep healthy relationships.

According to Sobel, the first rule is to know that the intimate relationship is not all there is.

Having relationships with outside people, such as friends and family, is a good way to give each partner the space they may need.

The second rule is for partners to know their needs and limits.

“Between the two of you,” Sobel said, “what are you willing to put in and what are things that won’t be tolerated?”

The third rule is to realize that relationships take work. Just because you love the person you’re with, it doesn’t mean that you’re always going to like or get along with them.

She said the final rule is to focus on the partner in front of someone, not the one in his or her head.

People tend to often be unhappy with their partner because they have a skewed view of what they want already planted in their head.

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