What is a healthy relationship?
Relationships can be defined in different ways depending on who all is involved, and healthy relationships can involve a few key factors: healthy communication, healthy boundaries, mutual respect, and support for one another¹. Healthy relationships make individuals involved feel good about themselves, and feel seen, safe, heard, and respected.
Questions for thinking through relationship health
- Is/are my partner(s) supportive of my decisions and boundaries? Do I feel comfortable sharing my boundaries?
- Do I feel my partner(s) is/are consistent in their words and actions?
- Do me and my partner(s) feel comfortable spending time away from each other and having time for our own friends or activities?
- Do I feel safe to be myself and express my needs and wants around my partner(s)?
The relationship spectrum
Relationships can exist on a spectrum from healthy to abusive, the relationship spectrum can be a way to think through where your relationship sits.
Examples of unhealthy or abusive behaviors
Below are some examples of behaviors that an unhealthy or abusive partner may engage in
- Pressuring their partner to have access to their passwords or GPS location
- Monitoring their partner’s internet or phone activity
- Controlling who their partner is friends with, who they talk to, or how they spend their time
- Controlling how their partner spends money
- Intentionally misgendering their partner or denying their identities
- Belittling their partner by name calling, criticizing their interests/friends, playing off insults as jokes
- Threatening to out their partner
- Criticizing their partner’s body
- Pressuring their partner to drink or use drugs
- Coercing their partner to sext or send nudes and exposing or threatening to expose private images or videos of their partner
- Having extreme and unpredictable reactions to small things
- Coercing their partner to engage in sexual activity
- Making their partner feel guilty for things that are not their fault
- Minimizing the abuse or unhealthy behaviors
What if my relationship is possibly unhealthy or abusive?
If you notice signs that a relationship you are in may be unhealthy or abusive, the Safe Office is available to confidentially discuss your situation, find support, explore options, and develop a Safety Plan, if needed.
24/7 Helpline for urgent concerns 336.758.5285
Email us for non-urgent needs at firstname.lastname@example.org (we will get back to you within one business day).
¹ adapted from loveisrespect.org