Communication and Sharing
The most important part of any healthy relationship is the ability to talk and listen to one another. Talking and listening helps people to:
- Share their common interests
- Share their feelings
- Learn to listen
- Know they are an important part of someone else’s life
Respect and Trust
Healthy relationships also require respecting and trusting others.
- Respect people for who they are.
- People may disagree with each other, but with respect and trust they can talk about how they feel and work things out.
- People should respect and trust themselves and their feelings so they can set boundaries and feel comfortable.
How do you know if you have a healthy relationship with someone?
Ask yourself, do I feel:
- Safe, respected, and cared for?
- Like I can talk about issues or share ideas without being afraid?
- Supported to spend time with my friends and family?
- Respected in my choices and boundaries about touch?
- Can I truly be myself with the other person?
And, if you are having sex:
- Respected for when, how, and what kind of sex I want to have
- Respected in my choices of protection (like condoms, birth control., etc.?)
If you answered yes to these, and if you treat that person the same way, that sounds healthy!
How do you know if your relationship is unhealthy?
Ask yourself, on bad does, this this person:
- Put me down, scare me, or hurt me?
- Try to control me or keep me from seeing people?
- Pressure me to send sexual pics or harass me online or by text?
- Make me do sexual things I don’t want or refuse to use protection?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, it’s not your fault and you don’t deserve this. There is help. And/Or if you do these things to the person you’re with, there is help for you too.
What should you do about an unhealthy relationship?
Unhealthy relationships usually do not get better over time and can create more problems the longer they last. A really bad relationship can make someone feel mentally or physically ill. Sometimes people in unhealthy relationships are often “stuck” as they are manipulated or isolated from their friends and family. If you are in an unhealthy relationship, and you feel that you have the option of breaking up with your partner, there are three main ways of ending it. If the gentlest method doesn’t work, try the next one.
- Fade them out. If you feel like you’ve just grown apart, or you’d rather spend time with other people, try just fading the person out. It’s a non-confrontational approach that is often effective.
- Formally end the relationship. This method involves sitting down with the person and letting them know that the friendship is over. This is a pretty tough option and requires a lot of courage from you. Make sure you think through what you’re going to say and look after yourself.
- Completely drop them. If your friend is bullying you or pressuring you, you don’t owe them anything. Their behavior is not okay and you have the right to remove yourself from their company.
If you do not feel safe breaking up with someone, if you think your partner will threaten or harass you, you should speak with someone who can help create a safety plan for you. For example, Standing Together Against Rape (STAR), Abused Women’s Aid in Crisis (AWAIC), and Loveisrespect.org all are great resources. Breaking up any relationship is not easy. It may take time to heal and adjust, but once you are able to spend time for yourself and figure out who you are, you may feel healthier and more whole. It is encouraged to reach out to friends and family that you trust when you are in this transition from being in a relationship to being single. When you move away from a unhealthy relationship, you’ll be moving on from a whole lot of negativity and will be free to be yourself.