Everyone deserves to be treated equally no matter their gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation. Everyone deserves equality not only at work or school but also in intimate relationships. While there are many different types of relationships, from family to friends and bosses and teachers, we are going to focus on intimate or romantic relationships. No matter what type of romantic relationship you are in, this information is the same.
What is a healthy relationship?
Healthy relationships have open and honest communication where both partners feel supported and respected. People in a relationship should listen to each other and find ways to compromise when disagreements come up. It is natural to have disagreements in any type of relationship but people in a healthy relationship should be able to resolve and move beyond any disagreements.
Sometimes people want to spend all of their time together but it is healthy to have boundaries and privacy. People often have hobbies or groups of friends outside of their romantic relationships, and should continue to focus their time and energy on hobbies and people that make them happy – in addition to their “bae”.
How do I know if I am in an unhealthy relationship?
Unhealthy relationships do not have the equality we are all looking for. Physical violence is definitely a sign of an unhealthy relationship but sometimes there are less obvious signs like lack of freedom, isolation, humiliation, lack of trust or respect, and jealousy. A person should feel safe in a relationship and if they feel unsafe either physically or emotionally, the relationship may not be healthy. Some signs of an unhealthy relationship are a partner being mad when you want to hang out with other people or do things with your family, a partner who demands to know where you are all the time, and a partner who always makes things your fault and not theirs. Remember that nobody should ever pressure you to have sex when you don’t want to.
What can I do if I or someone close to me might be in an unhealthy relationship?
If someone is in an unhealthy relationship, it is important to keep their safety in mind. If you or someone you know is in an unhealthy relationship, you may want to start by talking to a trusted adult like a family member or school counselor. Remember that while your personal information should be kept private, if you tell a school employee or medical provider that you or someone else is in danger, they may be mandated to report this information. There are many resources for getting help for you or a friend at http://www.loveisrespect.org/.
Sometimes my parents want to know what I am doing and who I am hanging out with. Does that mean I don’t have a healthy relationship with them?
Sometime it’s confusing because things your parent’s do - like wanting to know where you are all day and setting rules - are signs of a healthy relationship with a parent or guardian but are not healthy with an intimate partner. Most parents establish rules because they want the best for you and want to help you be safe and successful. In intimate relationships, setting rules and needing to know where you are is about control.
For more information about healthy relationships, visit us at: http://www.teensource.org/relationships/healthyrelationships
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This blog was reposted from TeenSource.org, a project of Essential Access Health. TeenSource.org is an online hub for comprehensive and teen-friendly information on birth control, STDs, relationships and teen’s rights to accessing sensitive services. The site features youth-developed blogs and videos, a clinic finder, a Condom Access Project and links to TeenSource social media where youth can stay updated on relevant sexual and reproductive health information and news.