What a healthy relationship is and how to have one
What does a healthy relationship look like?
In a healthy relationship, the other person will:
- Listen to you and take your feelings and ideas seriously
- Talk openly and honestly with you about what matters to them
- Never use threats of harm, violence or suicide to get his/her own way
- Never hit, punch, kick, bite, slap, push or otherwise strike out in anger or jealousy
- Not try to control what you do, where you go or who you talk to
- Respect you, and say good things to you and about you
- Enjoy spending time with you, and show it whether alone with you or in a group
- Trust you, and earn your trust by keeping your confidences
- Allow you to enjoy the activities and people that matter to you
- Accept your limits about sexual activity, every time.
Tips for keeping your relationship positive
- Keep your friendships and interests
- Respect the right of your date or partner to set limits: “No means no.”
- Do not tolerate any form of physical aggression including threats, slaps, pushes, pinches or punches
- Know that violence is never the fault of the victim
What to do when you are angry
Every close relationship involves some conflict. Feeling angry is okay, because anger tells us something is wrong.
But using violence or abusive language is never an acceptable way to cope with anger. Try these tips:
- Figure out what is really bothering you and talk about it.
- Negotiate, look for healthy compromises, try to be fair and generous.
- Act as you want to be treated when someone is unhappy with you.
- Take 100% responsibility for your own thoughts, feelings and actions—You might be angry, but the other person didn’t MAKE you mad.
- If things are getting heated, take a time-out—Use this time to talk yourself down from hostile thoughts, feelings and urges, and come up with creative, healthy solutions.
- If you have trouble keeping your anger in check, or if you think you might be abusive, get help. You can change your behaviour!
- Understand your limits, and those of the other person, and respect them.
What are your rights in a relationship?
In every relationship, you—and everyone else—have a right to:
- Express your opinions and have them respected
- Make decisions about yourself and have equal decision-making power
- Say “no” to physical closeness or any other activity that makes you uncomfortable, at any time, even if you originally said “yes” but now have changed your mind
- Refuse a date at any time
- Choose your own friends, and keep your friendships
- Control your own money and possessions
- Participate in activities that do not include your boyfriend or girlfriend
- Have your needs be as important as the other person's needs
- Grow as an individual in your own way
- Not have to take responsibility for someone else's behaviour
- Not be physically or sexually assaulted, or emotionally abused
- Break up and fall out of love with someone and not be threatened or hurt
If you need help to get out of an abusive relationship
Take the free Healthy Youth Relationships online course for youth!