You deserve to be safe and healthy in all of your relationships, whether it is a friendship, a dating relationship, a sexual relationship, a long term romantic partnership, or something else.
Every relationship will be different, based on the needs and personalities of the people involved. There are certain core components of healthy relationships, though, that can serve as a good guide.
Components of Healthy Dating, Romantic,and Sexual Relationships
- Communication. Being willing and able to share your perspective with your partner, and having that perspective valued. Talking about concerns rather than holding them in.
- Honesty. Being open with your partner about your likes and dislikes, your goals and your daily life. Being interested in those things about your partner.
- Autonomy and privacy. Experiencing a combination of togetherness and alone time, of mutual interests and separate interests. Having mutual respect for each other’s privacy and boundaries. Maintaining other relationships.
- Compromise. Shared decision making. Honoring the needs and wishes of both yourself and your partner. Making room for each person’s perspective and decisions.
- Respect. A genuine positive regard for your partner, and feeling that in return. Building one another up, and never belittling or degrading one another.
- Support. Wanting the best for your partner. Seeking out their happiness and wellbeing in addition to your own. Being someone your partner can turn to, and being able to turn to them for support.
If a partner exerts power and control over another partner, this may be a sign of an unhealthy or abusive relationship.
Signs of an Unhealthy Relationship
- Possessiveness or controlling jealousy. Monitoring a partner’s whereabouts or telling them what they can or can’t do. Reading negative motives into normal or benign behavior. Treating a partner like property.
- Isolation from friends or family. A partner being completely at the beck and call of another, without access to solo activities or outside relationships.
- Unhealthy communication. Only one partner’s voice or opinions seems to matter. One partner is made to feel as though their values or feelings don’t count. When yelling or shouting or disparaging statements are used as a way to silence a partner
- Boundary violations. Autonomy or privacy aren’t respected. Sexual boundaries or limits are not respected. There are unwelcome intrusions into physical or emotional spaces.
- Fear or lack of trust. A partner is fearful of the reactions of another. Decisions or behaviors are structured with the goal of avoiding negative reactions or punishment.
- One-sided decision making. One partner seems to have more control over decisions, activities, and resources than another. One partner’s needs are always more important than another’s. There isn’t space for one partner to advocate for themselves and their needs.
- Physical, verbal, emotional, sexual, or other abuse.
LoveIsRespect is also a great online resource for evaluating your relationship and getting help.