Pairing relationships with health
How do relationships affect academic life?
Did you know that relationships are one of the top issues affecting students' academic performance? In a recent survey, nearly 20% of UBC undergraduates said that relationship difficulties had affected their academic work in the previous year. 
When a relationship has problems or comes to an end (for whatever reason), it can have an effect on our health. Conflict with the other person or concern about them, or grief over losing them, can result in stress, anxiety, depression, and other health issues. These, in turn, can affect academic performance.
Creating healthy relationships
The first step to taking care of our relationships is to take a look at them. A healthy relationship has a least five important qualities:
For more information about the five qualities in a romantic or sexual relationship, see Healthy relationships on sexualityandu.ca. To learn more about characteristics of a healthy relationship and about your rights in a relationship, see Healthy relationship checklist in You are worthy of a healthy relationship from the Canadian Red Cross.
Should you stay or should you go?
Tamara, a 30-year-old woman who recently graduated from UBC, says she really struggled with a relationship she had during graduate school.
"It was so hard. We'd met on the Internet and dated a few times. After a few weeks I was spending almost every weekend at his place. I thought we were exclusive, but eventually found out that he was still chatting online to other women.
"I called him on it, but he said he didn't see what the problem was. I kept trying to pretend that it didn't bother me, because I liked having a boyfriend. But it did, it really bothered me, to the point where I couldn’t really think straight.
"I finally called a friend late at night, saying that I couldn’t stand it, that I didn't know what to do. She was great; she summed it up: 'You just have to think about which would make you happier: being in the relationship or being out of it.'
"That kind of summed it up for me. I wasn't happy and I knew he wasn't going to change, so I broke up with him the next day."
Your relationships should, on balance, contribute positively rather than negatively to your life.
Coping with the end of a relationship
It can be difficult to cope when a relationship ends, regardless of how it ended. Three of the most important strategies are to:
- talk to friends (and, conversely, not to isolate yourself)
- take care of your health (e.g., exercise, get enough sleep, eat nutritiously, and don't punish yourself)
- give yourself some time to get over it (don't expect to get back to normal overnight)
If things haven't got better after you've done these things, think about getting counselling. Call or visit UBC Counselling Services, which offers confidential counselling for personal, relationship, career, and educational concerns. It also offers couples and family counselling.
 National College Health Assessment Data Survey, UBC, 2009.