What is a Healthy Relationship?
Healthy relationships aren't just for couples--we need healthy relationships and friendships with our parents, trusted adults, friends and partners. Here are some characteristics that are universal to all healthy relationships:
- Mutual respect. Respect means that each person values who the other is.
- Honesty. Honesty will build trust and strengthen the relationship.
- Understanding. Each person should take time to understand what the other might be feeling.
- Good communication. Each person should speak openly and honestly with each other.
(Adapted from: Youth.gov "Characteristics of Healthy & Unhealthy Relationships").
Building Healthy Romantic Relationships
Build positive and healthy relationships by being open and honest with your partner about your desires, boundaries and sexual health. A relationship should make you feel comfortable, safe and good about yourself. Partners should respect your boundaries and not pressure or force you to do something you do not want to do. You should also respect your partner in the same way.
Screening For Intimate Partner Violence
Relationships can be complicated and look different for everyone, but dating violence or partner abuse is never okay. Tell a trusted adult (parent, guardian, teacher, healthcare provider, etc.) if you are experiencing dating violence or abuse (physical, verbal or sexual). They can connect you to resources that will help you. Abuse can include:
- Forcing you to engage in sex
- Controlling your reproductive choices like forcing you to get pregnant or to not use birth control
- Hitting, kicking or slapping you
- Threatening you and trying to control what you do and where you go