Relationships are everywhere. You can have friend, family and romantic relationships to name a few. By now, you have probably had many kinds of relationships. There are big differences between healthy and unhealthy relationships and how they can affect you. It’s important that you know the signs of both so that you can find and keep those that are good for you.

So how do you know the difference? Keep reading to learn more about Healthy and Unhealthy Relationships.



Healthy relationships are all about feeling close to someone and feeling good about yourself when you are and even when you aren’t around that person. Respect, trust and safety are the foundations of healthy relationships.

  • Respect refers to valuing each other and what you stand for. People in healthy relationships appreciate each other by actively communicating about what’s important to them and not trying to change each other. It also means taking the time to listen and talk to each other, not down at each other. It means not putting each other down if you disagree about something. It means letting each other grow independently as well as together. It is important to have similar interests but still be able to spend time apart and feel good about it.
  • Trust is knowing that you can depend on each other to do the right thing. It’s also knowing that you don’t have to worry about being pressured to do something you don’t feel comfortable doing.
  • Safety includes feeling safe from physical harm when you’re with a person. It also means that you will support each other emotionally and not purposely do things to make the other person feel bad about themselves. Having a healthy relationship means that if one person sees the other might be in trouble, help will be given and maybe even sought from outside the relationship when needed.

Healthy relationships don’t happen overnight. They take time to develop because there is so much that goes into them. But they are extremely important to have –you will learn to understand more about other people and even more importantly, you will learn about yourself!



No matter who it’s with, a relationship can be unhealthy. If you read through the healthy relationships section and thought to yourself that a current relationship (or even a past one) seemed the opposite of what you were reading, you might be in an unhealthy relationship. It can be hard to recognize a relationship that is unhealthy because they often start out very happy and slowly change into something else. Here are some things to look out for:

  • Emotional abuse is when someone humiliates, insults or puts the other person down. It often includes trying to control the other person by making them feel bad or guilty about a decision they’ve made or about spending time with other friends or family. Possessiveness and jealousy might be flattering at first but can lead to unreasonable demands that are definitely not healthy. Pressuring you to do something you’re not comfortable with, like drinking, using drugs or having sex is a form of emotional abuse. And of course, verbal threats including those of violence are always unhealthy.
  • Physical abuse includes any kind of physical contact that hurts another person. It can be anything from hitting to kicking to using an object like a weapon. Sometimes people will try to disguise physical abuse by saying they didn’t mean it, or accusing others of being “too sensitive”. Physical abuse has the potential for real harm, so be careful. If you ever feel you are in danger call 911.
  • Sexual abuse includes any kind of unwanted sexual contact. Actual sex is not the only way sexual contact can happen. Making inappropriate sexual comments, groping or grabbing, forcing oral sex or other sexual acts are all forms of sexual abuse. Also, any kind of sexual activity when the other person is unable to consent – whether they’re under the influence of alcohol or drugs or any other reason is also considered sexual abuse. It can also make you vulnerable to getting an STD or becoming pregnant.

Accepting that your relationship may be unhealthy is difficult. After all, being in a relationship with someone naturally means that you care about him or her and it is hard to admit that you’re being hurt by that person.

However, it really is in your best interest to either talk to the other person about your concerns or get out of the relationship.  It is possible that the other person doesn’t realize their behavior is abusive and will change. But sometimes they won’t.

TIP: Find a trusted friend or adult who can help you. Sometimes, it just helps to get some tips on how to talk to the other person. Or, you may need the support (emotionally and/or physically) to get out of the relationship.