Peer Support Centre: We're here to listen.


Relationships can be a large source of stress for individuals at times. This can be in all sorts of relationships, including romantic, familial, work etc. According to the 2011 study done by NCHA, 29% of U of A respondents experienced traumatic/very difficult relationship issues with their family; 31% experienced issues in intimate relationships, and 23% experienced issues in some other form of relationship.

Relationship issues can be things such as arguments, feeling uncertain about the relationship overall, lack of communication, as well as more serious issues such as incidents of abuse.

With unhealthy relationships, some of the signs that can be seen are:

  • Frequent arguments

  • General unhappiness

  • Confusion about the relationship

Abusive relationships are a more extreme form of unhealthy relationship, and can show up in a variety of different forms. Some signs for these include:


  • Name-calling

  • Yelling

  • Demeaning

  • Threatening

  • Manipulation


  • Punching

  • Shoving

  • Slapping

  • Kicking

  • Throwing things/destroying property


  • Forced or unwanted kissing

  • Forced or unwanted fondling

  • Pressure to have sex


  • Stealing

  • Coercion

  • Fraud

  • Limiting/refusing access to financial resources

  • Refusing opportunities for employment/education


  • Unwanted attention

  • Repeated following

  • Repeated communicating at inappropriate times

These are only some of the ways abuse can happen in a relationship.

What should I know/What can I do?
Unhealthy relationships can happen to anyone, and there are lots of steps you can take to help your relationship. Familiarizing yourself with resources around campus/the community and actively trying to improve your relationship can help with less serious situations.

With abusive situations, there is a pattern of behaviour that occurs in the relationship. Oftentimes people will report a feeling of tension, like walking on eggshells, when they feel an outburst is coming. Then, the outburst will occur in some way. Following the outburst, there is a period of “good times” where the person who perpetrated the abuse will attempt to make amends, which can be by apologizing or buying gifts etc. There are a few key points to note with this cycle:

  • The cycle tightens

  • Violence escalates

  • The “good times” shrink/disappear

  • The cycle doesn’t end without intervention

*Note: It is important that survivors of abuse know that it is not their fault they are being treated that way. Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. It can be very difficult for individuals in an abusive relationship to leave their situation, for a variety of reasons. If you feel that you are in an abusive relationship, come talk to us and we will do our best to help!

Common Resources

Counseling and Clinical Services

Sexual Assault Centre




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Monday, Wednesday, Friday
9AM - 5PM

Tuesday & Thursday
9AM - 7PM

Our last day of service for this academic year will be April 19th. If you are in need of support please contact the Edmonton Distress Line (780-482-4357)

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Peer Support Centre
Room 2-707
Students' Union Building
University of Alberta
8900 - 114 Street NW
Edmonton, AB
T6G 2J7