All relationships exist on a spectrum; healthy relationships are based on equality and respect, unhealthy relationships are based on attempts to control the other person, abusive relationships are based on power and control. It is important to know where your relationship is so you can be happy and safe. View the video, created by loveisrespect.org below to see how the spectrum works. Sometimes we have unhealthy behaviors that make us question, “Am I a good partner?”. Take the quiz below to find out if you are a good partner then continue reading to learn more about what a healthy relationship is so you can be safe and healthy for your partner.
At The Shelter we have advocates who are trained to support teens who may find themselves in an abusive or unhealthy relationship. Please contact us at 800-931-7233 to speak with an advocate, entirely confidential. See our Youth Services Page.
If you feel unsafe in your relationship call The Shelter 800-931-7233. In an emergency call 9-1-1
Am I a good partner?
Sometimes when a relationship is strained, we may be reluctant to seek the root to the problem, because the problem could be us. However, addressing problems in our relationship is crucial to maintaining a healthy relationship.
Click Am I a good partner? to take the quiz.
What is a healthy relationship?
Open, honest and safe communication is a fundamental part of a healthy relationship. The following tips can help you and your partner create and maintain a healthy relationship:
- Speak Up. In a healthy relationship, if something is bothering you, it’s best to talk about it instead of holding it in.
- Respect Each Other. Your partner’s wishes and feelings have value, and so do yours. Let your significant other know you are making an effort to keep their ideas in mind. Mutual respect is essential in maintaining healthy relationships.
- Compromise. Disagreements are a natural part of healthy relationships, but it’s important that you find a way to compromise if you disagree on something. Try to solve conflicts in a fair and rational way.
- Be Supportive. Offer reassurance and encouragement to each other. Also, let your partner know when you need their support. Healthy relationships are about building each other up, not putting each other down.
- Respect Each Other’s Privacy. Just because you’re in a relationship doesn’t mean you have to share everything and constantly be together. Healthy relationships require space.
Creating boundaries is a good way to keep your relationship healthy and secure. By setting boundaries together, you can both have a deeper understanding of the type of relationship that you and your partner want. Boundaries are not meant to make you feel trapped or like you’re “walking on eggshells.” Creating boundaries is not a sign of secrecy or distrust — it’s an expression of what makes you feel comfortable and what you would like or not like to happen within the relationship.
Remember, healthy boundaries shouldn’t restrict your ability to:
- Go out with your friends without your partner.
- Participate in activities and hobbies you like.
- Not have to share passwords to your email, social media accounts or phone.
- Respect each other’s individual likes and needs.
What Isn’t a Healthy Relationship?
Relationships that are not healthy are based on power and control, not equality and respect. Remember that abuse is always a choice and you deserve to be respected. There is no excuse for abuse of any kind.
If you think your relationship is unhealthy, it’s important to think about your safety now. Consider these points as you move forward:
- Understand that a person can only change if they want to. You can’t force your partner to alter their behavior if they don’t believe they’re wrong.
- Focus on your own needs. Are you taking care of yourself? Your wellness is always important. Watch your stress levels, take time to be with friends, get enough sleep.
- Connect with your support systems. Often, abusers try to isolate their partners. Talk to your friends, family members, teachers and others to make sure you’re getting the emotional support you need. Remember, our advocates are always ready to talk if you need a listening ear.
Whether you decide to leave or stay, make sure to use safety planning tips to stay safe. Contact The Shelter 800-931-7233 to speak to an advocate, 24/7 completely confidential for a personalized safety plan.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline. (2016). Relationship Spectrum. Retrieved from: http://www.loveisrespect.org/dating-basics/relationship-spectrum/