“Is my Relationship Healthy?”
6 Signs of a Healthy Relationship for Teens to Look out for
Romance can be difficult to navigate at any age but tackling new feelings during your teenage years can make for unnecessarily messy situations if not handled correctly. Relationships leave lasting impressions, both positive and negative, which means young people especially need to be completely secure and safe with their partners. Obviously not all relationships will be sunshine and rainbows, but there is a line which shouldn’t be crossed from a normal teenage heartbreak to a dangerous level of abuse. A healthy relationship should always bring happiness into your life rather than upset and distress, but it can be difficult in this time to keep your thoughts and feelings positive while also emotionally supporting someone else.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself to ensure that your relationship, current or past, is as healthy as can be:
1. Is there mutual consent within in the relationship?
Consent is the agreement from both partners for something to happen. This could be something as small as a first date, all the way to getting intimate with someone you care about and should always be at the forefront of a relationship no matter how long the people have been together. If something is not mutually consensual then it should not happen. Always look out for explicit permission from your partner and vice versa, body language and other physical indicators are useful however, words are the clearest form of communication. Consent can be given, and then taken back, as people change their minds. Just because someone wants something once doesn’t mean they will necessarily want it again.
2. Does this person make me feel safe?
Safety is extremely important in a relationship. Both people should always feel secure and comfortable without fear of consequences from their actions. Your emotions are not to be manipulated or used against you; you feel what you feel. Your partner should always want you to be happy, laughing and thriving within yourself; they shouldn’t scare or intimidate you. The obvious signs are yelling, name calling or physical violence however, you need to be aware of the less noticeable indicators such as bullying and pressuring. Relationships experience conflicts, it’s inevitable, but those problems should be resolved fairly from both points of view and no one should be in fear off their partner.
3. Do they respect me and value my opinions?
Many people tend to forget that a difference in opinions is healthy within a relationship and can help to open your minds to new ways of thinking and receive a new perspective. However, the person you are with should not try to change your mind to match theirs and should appreciate your varying thoughts and feelings. Respect towards yourself is key as your partner should always view you as equal to themselves. It is important that equality is maintained all throughout the relationship and continued after, however hard it may be. Whoever you are with, they should always keep your personal boundaries in mind and respect them. Pushing your partner to grow as a person is always good, however there is a large difference between gentle guidance and unwanted force.
4. Is there trust and honesty within the relationship?
There is a fine line between trust and control. A relationship must have a good trusting nature otherwise things can turn toxic. Signs of a possessive relationship include behaviour such as checking each other’s phones, knowing the password to personal documents and having to constantly justify your actions such as where you are going and who you are with. Once you feel the need to hide what should be normal things from your partner is when things turn sour and problems arise which need addressing. You should always be able to have privacy in a relationship and do not need to share every single detail of your life with a partner especially personal details such as passwords. You should be free to do your own thing and what makes you happy as a healthy relationship should want that for you and not try to remove you from your friends or family. Always remember communication is key and being open and honest with one another increases trust and allows for a healthy relationship.
Relationships are about two people working together to achieve happiness, not one person ruling over the other in a controlling way. Couples should have a good support network with one another and should influence each other for the better.
5. Is this relationship open to change?
Change is good, and change is always going to happen. Growing up is inevitable and people’s behaviours and attitudes are bound to change, and sometimes relationships struggle to keep up. Don’t be afraid of growing as people and bettering yourselves, however, don’t let yourself be hindered by unwillingness for new developments. Holding onto relationships which have become toxic and no longer enjoyable is unhealthy. You should always feel able to express your ideas with your partner and have open communication as to what you should do as a couple to make it the best it can be.
6. Am I my own person within this relationship?
It’s perfectly okay to become so close with your significant other to the point that you know each other inside and out, you practically merge with someone else and become a couple. However, being an individual in your life is key. Having a social life and keeping those links to family, friends, your job and your hobbies are good for your own self-esteem and individuality.
So how do you know if you are a victim of abuse and if your relationship is healthy? Domestic abuse can be hard to detect; however, it is always good to remember that abuse is not only physical violence, abuse can also be financial, psychological, emotional and sexual.
Look for warning signs
If your boyfriend or girlfriends becomes violent, uses mean language or forces you to do things you don’t want to do, this is abuse. Relationships are likely to be full of intense feelings, fun and excitement; however, you always need to be careful if you or your feelings are being hurt in any way outside of the occasional heartache.
Regardless of your current relationship status, take time to get close to people and refrain from rushing into anything. Being 100% sure is always safer and makes for a healthy, long lasting relationship.
This article was written by a young person working with UK SAYS NO MORE to ensure our messaging is on the right track.