Let’s face it, sometimes it can be hard to find role models for good relationships. The relationships we see on TV shows and in the movies aren’t real, and most of the celebrities we see on the Internet gossip sites or on TV usually aren’t the best examples of healthy relationships. You might have parents who love each other and support each other, or you may know other adults in your community (at church, in the neighborhood, at school) who seem to be in good, strong relationships. You might want to ask them what they think makes a good relationship.
Sometimes it’s hard to know if we are in a good or a bad relationship or even what that means.
It’s easy to get caught up in the way you feel about someone or feel like you are supposed to be with someone or maybe you just don’t want to be alone.
When that happens, we can be blind to whether or not our relationship is a good one or bad one.
But what is it that makes a relationship healthy? In healthy relationships, both people feel like equals. They feel loved and respected. Neither person forces the other to do anything they don’t want to do. A healthy relationship is free of violence, no hitting, punching, scratching, or threatening to hurt someone. They don’t put each other down, call each other names, text 100 times a day, or use threats of breaking up to get what they want. When a couple in a healthy relationship decides to do anything together – go for a walk, watch a movie, hold hands, or have sex if both people in the relationship agree to do it. When you’re in a healthy relationship, you want to spend time with that person because it feels nice, you want to support them in the things they do and feel supported when you take a chance, you want to ask them for advice when you have a problem, and you think about how they would feel whenever you make decisions in your own life.
In order to make a healthy relationship and to know if you have a healthy relationship, you have to have good, open communication, you need to be able to talk to each other and listen to each other. It’s not always easy for us to talk about how we feel about each other or let someone know when we’ve been hurt or when we liked something they did. Learning how to talk to a friend, boyfriend, or girlfriend about how you feel can be embarrassing and make both of you feel uncomfortable. Luckily, with a little practice, you’ll find that it gets easier to do, and when you learn how to have good, open communication, you can talk about what you want in your relationship and what you like and don’t like. That way, when you start feeling like you might want to have sex, you can talk to your girlfriend or boyfriend about it and about how to be safe from STDs and HIV and avoid pregnancy. If you feel like you can’t talk about birth control or about having sex with your partner, you might want to wait and focus on getting to know each other and learning to talk to one another.
It is never okay for someone to hit you or hurt you anyway, call you names, make fun of you, threaten you, or force you to do something that you don’t want to do. If you find yourself in a situation where you are afraid that someone is going to physically hurt you, run away, call for help, make loud noises, call the police, and/or find an adult who you trust to help you. If you are in a relationship where someone is abusing you in anyway, find an adult and tell them what is happening. There are plenty of adults who are will help you get out of the situation at school, at church, at clinic or doctor’s office, a community center, or the police station. You do not have to remain in the relationship and you don’t have to face it alone.
Take a quiz to see if your relationship is healthy at Love is Respect.