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A Male Student’s Experience at a Women’s Center Event

After attending the March 2, 2011, Healthy Relationship Group Event at the Women’s Center, I was a part of a fascinating and important discussion on relationships. The event began with the discussion leader Deonte asking the group to discuss what words constituted a healthy relationship. Words such as trust, communication, space and honesty were all mentioned by the group. The question then shifted to analyzing the words on the board. For example, the group discussed what trust and communication meant to each person. One woman stated that trust and communication are necessary for a relationship to flourish. Without communication, arguments can become heated and irrational. This opinion was agreed upon by the group as a whole. Everyone within the group agreed that trust and communication were ways to keep relationships strong.

Sex was also mentioned as an important part of a healthy relationship. The discussion was honest and many within the group did not feel uncomfortable discussing the important role that sex played within the relationship. I was also told that the number of sexual partners is judged differently based on sex. For example, if a woman has had ten partners, then she is easy, while a man is praised if he has had ten partners. One participant accurately stated that, “This inequality has no place in a healthy relationship.” It was refreshing to discuss sex in a more modern way and not in the archaic way that is often discussed in school.

It was liberating to discuss my past experiences in relationships with a small, yet diverse group of individuals. It was also rewarding to hear the stories and opinions of others. I have found that many people feel uncomfortable discussing relationships, but within the group everyone was candid about their past relationships. The open and frank discussions helped me to better inspect both my past and future relationships. One of the most profound statements I heard at the Group Event centered on the fact that relationships are a process. It is a process, however, that should be fun and not debilitating for the couple. Even if a relationship does not involve verbal or sexual abuse, that does not mean that the relationship is healthy. Relationships are collaboration and not a solo activity. As such, there must be a partnership in order for there to be a relationship. I hope to take the information that I gained at the event and implement it in my future relationships. I would also encourage anyone to attend a group event at the Women’s Center. The atmosphere is both informal and inclusive, which adds a comfort level to the proceedings. There can be a great deal learned from group discussion. Ultimately, it is the job of the individuals within the group to implement several of the suggestions in order to strengthen relationships. Actions, and not words, define a relationship.