The relationships you have now can set the tone for the relationships you have for the rest of your life. For example, if you have a relationship in your teen years where your partner treats you disrespectfully or tries to control you, you may think this is how all relationships are. You may think it’s normal. It’s not. So what is a healthy relationship?
What is a healthy relationship?
A healthy relationship means both people feel good about the relationship most of the time. It means you never feel unsafe or unable to express or show how you feel.
What makes a healthy relationship?
Here are some things that make up a healthy relationship:
- Independence – You should feel comfortable with who you are. And free to hang out with people other than your partner.
- Fun – You should like spending time with each other and bring out the best in one another.
- Communication – Good communication is key to any relationship. Sharing your thoughts and feelings with another person builds trust and respect.
- Support – You support one another – through the good things and the bad things.
How do I know if I’m ready for a relationship?
There is no magic age or “right” time for your first relationship. Everyone is different. Here are some things you can ask yourself to help you know when and if you are ready:
- Are you happy with yourself? Do you love and respect yourself? You must have a good relationship with yourself before you can have a good relationship with someone else.
- Do you want a relationship because all of your friends want one or are in one? If so, now probably isn’t the right time. Your teen years are about gaining independence and freedom, so don’t jump into a relationship until you’re comfortable with who you are and until you feel ready. You don’t need to be in a relationship unless you want one.
- Are you prepared for the time and energy a relationship takes? It can be easy to get caught up in a new relationship and want to spend all of your time with your new significant other. But don’t forget about your friends or other hobbies. Balance is important for a healthy relationship too.
- Have you thought about and know what your boundaries are? For example, are you ok spending time with your partner every single day? Or do you want to keep a night free for your friends or hobbies? Are you ready to have sex? It can be easy to get caught up in the moment and kissing can quickly turn into a lot more. It’s important to know what you’re willing to do and how far you are willing to go based on your own morals or family values. And it’s also important to talk about those boundaries with your partner.
How do I know if my relationship is healthy or normal?
Your relationship is healthy or normal if:
- You feel good about your relationship most of the time.
- You feel good about yourself when in the relationship.
- You feel comfortable and safe with the other person.
- You trust them.
- They trust you.
- You have fun together.
- You support one another.
- You still have fun with your friends and/or family.
- You have hobbies or interests you like doing without them.
- They don’t pressure you to do things you’re not ready for.
- They don’t hurt you.
How do I know if my partner and I are ready for sex or intimacy?
Everybody is different, and only YOU know and can decide when and whether you are ready to take this step. It’s important that you both feel comfortable, safe and prepared. And you can’t feel these things until you’ve talked to your partner about the topic. Talking to a trusted adult or someone older that you look up to can be helpful, too.
Talking about it includes talking about the risks, such as unintended pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections. Take steps to make sure you are safe and protected when and if you decide you’re ready.
Even if it seems like everyone else is doing it, they probably aren’t. Some teens like to make it sound like they’ve done more than they have just to fit in. Remember, there is no right time and no right age to have sex. Your teen years are a time for you to get to know yourself better. For gaining independence and freedom. So make the best decision for you – when you’re ready.
How do I know if my relationship is unhealthy?
Here are some signs that you may not be in a healthy relationship:
- Does your partner get angry when you don’t do what they want?
- Do they say mean things to you or disrespect you?
- Do they keep you from seeing friends or from talking to other people?
- Do they want you to quit an activity or hobby?
- Do they have no shared interests with you, or seem to not have fun spending time with you?
- Do they push you to do things you’re not comfortable with?
- Do they post things about you on social media that make you uncomfortable?
- Do they cheat on you?
- Have they threatened to hurt you, like raising a hand or a fist?
- Do they belittle or embarrass you or make you feel ashamed in public or private?
What do I do if I think I’m in an abusive relationship?
Here are some warning signs that a relationship may be abusive:
- The person throws or breaks things during arguments.
- The person tries to control you, including controlling what you say, what you wear, who you talk to or what you do.
- The person hurts you (physically or sexually).
- The person is overly jealous of you.
If you think you are in an abusive relationship – whether physical, emotional or sexual – and you need help, you should:
- Talk to a trusted adult, like a parent or teacher.
- Reach out to one of the following resources: