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Healthy and unhealthy relationships

Learn the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships.

Relationships are part of life and whatever relationship you find yourself in, it’s important it’s a healthy one.

There are all kinds of relationships: romantic, family and friendships.

There is no need to rush into a romantic or sexual relationship. It is okay to be single and to take your time.

What is a healthy relationship?

A healthy relationship is one that has:

  • trust
  • honesty
  • respect
  • good communication
  • fairness
  • equality
  • appreciation of each other
  • support
  • boundaries
  • fun.

A healthy relationship respects personal space, separate identities, individuality and consensual sex (if it’s a sexual relationship).

A healthy relationship should bring more happiness than stress in your life! This includes friendships.

In a healthy relationship you can:

  • communicate
  • take care of yourself
  • feel good
  • maintain relationships with your friends and families
  • continue with your own interests and hobbies
  • spend time together as well as apart
  • feel fulfilled – not stressed out or worried
  • be able to work through any difficulties together.

What is an unhealthy relationship?

An unhealthy relationship can make you feel unsafe or under pressure. They certainly don’t make you happy and aren’t good for you.

There are a few signs to keep a lookout for. If the person you’re in a relationship with shows signs of these behaviours, or you feel like you can relate to any of the following indicators, the relationship is potentially unhealthy.

  • You feel like you have to choose between them or your family and friends.
  • You feel criticised and put down.
  • You feel that you’re unable to communicate and discuss your feelings.
  • You feel like you’re walking on eggshells and scared.
  • They’re verbally or physically abusive towards you.
  • They use emotional abuse as a way to control you or get you to do something you don’t want to do – ‘If you loved me you would’, ‘I can’t live without you’.
  • They pressure you into doing something you don’t want to do.
  • They harass you and won’t leave you alone.
  • They use threatening behaviour towards you.
  • They cheat on you.
  • They show jealous behaviour.
  • They destroy your property.
  • They blame you for their mistakes.
  • They want to check your mobile phone and social media and want your passwords.

You can create a healthy relationship from the beginning by setting boundaries. Boundaries are a bit like an agreement as to how your relationship will work. It’s good to speak to someone you trust about relationships.

Have a think about what you’d like from a relationship and what you can give.

Being able to communicate with the person you’re having a relationship with is key to maintaining a healthy relationship.