Relationships are an important part of our everyday lives. Positive, healthy relationships help us feel good about ourselves. Friends can help us to deal with problems and are there for the magical and the miserable times. However, not all relationships are healthy.
A relationship that involves someone trying to blame, control or hurt you in any way can make you feel bad about yourself, affect your self-confidence and sometimes your physical health too. You should never feel unsafe in any relationship or face violence or abuse of any kind – physical, sexual or emotional. Sometimes young people, can experience relationships where someone has a great deal of power over you and they may try to persuade you to do certain things or exploit you.
Knowing what makes a healthy relationship, and recognising some of the ’warning signs’ of an unhealthy relationship, can help you look after yourself, and feel respected, happy and safe.
- Make you feel happy most of the time, not sad or stressed.
- Make you feel safe and confident to be yourself.
- Are equal. One person doesn’t have lots more power than the other.
- Are based on respect. You can talk about how you feel and have different views without resorting to abuse, insults or violence.
- Give you freedom to be yourself. You can decide what you want to do, who to see, where to go, and make your own decisions about your future, your money, and your body. In a healthy relationship you should feel able to say no to sex or other activities that you don’t want to do, e.g. smoking, drinking alcohol.
- Allow you to disagree and even argue but know you can resolve things together.
Some of the warning signs to look out for are if someone:
- Tries to control you by telling you what you can and can’t do.
- Tries to stop you from seeing your family and friends.
- Doesn’t respect your privacy, for example checking your phone messages.
- Makes you feel bad about yourself, for example putting you down or blaming you for everything.
- Makes you doubt yourself and your knowledge, belief and values.
- Tries to persuade you to do things you don’t want to do. Learn more about consent.
- Is violent or threatens you with violence, for example hitting, kicking or pushing you.
- Is possessive and very jealous if you talk to other people.
- Tries to say sorry and excuse violent behaviour or promises never to do it again. If someone has done this once, they’re very likely to do it again.