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What does a healthy relationship look like?

A healthy relationship can apply to a boyfriend, girlfriend, close friend, or even family member.

What are some signs of a healthy relationship?

  • Honesty. Be honest even if it’s hard to be. Being honest doesn’t mean spilling every single thing about you right away, it takes time. Be honest with your girlfriend, boyfriend, or friend the way you would want them to be honest with you.
  • Respect for yourself. Always stand up for yourself. When you stand up for yourself and what you believe in, you show the other person that you respect yourself.
  • Compromise. Disagreeing with the other person is totally normal and is a natural part of being in a relationship. It’s how you handle a disagreement that defines a relationship. It’s important to compromise with the other person to solve problems in a fair way. Finding a solution that works for both people in the relationship doesn’t make you weak or a "loser of the fight."
  • Support. Be supportive and offer encouragement with your words and with your actions. On the same page, let your friend, girlfriend, or boyfriend know when you need their support. Healthy relationships are about building each other up!
  • Respect for privacy. Just because you are in a relationship with someone or in a close friendship, does NOT mean you’ve got to know all of that person’s deep dark secrets. Healthy relationships require space and time away so people can keep their own identities.

(Adapted from loveisrespect.org)

What are some signs of an unhealthy relationship?

So maybe there hasn’t actually been a physical fight, but have you ever gotten that gut instinct that your boyfriend/girlfriend/friend isn’t treating you right? The following points are most often seen in unhealthy relationships:

  • One-sided. One person controls the relationship entirely, and controls a person in the relationship. This person decides what the other can wear or say, who they can hang out with and who they can’t.
  • Manipulation. The person does anything to get what he or she wants, even if that person has to lie to get it.
  • Possessiveness – The person becomes extremely jealous if you talk or hang around with other people, even if you are just hanging with friends.
  • Anger. The person gets extremely angry or physically violent. That person may make threats to you or to other people in your friend group or family.

If you have noticed any of these signs, then it is time to speak up!

Do not feel bad or embarrassed if you have never realized it before! Or maybe you have seen the “red flags” but pushed them out of your mind, thinking it’s not that big of a deal. But if someone is physically or emotionally hurting you, it is a big deal. It’s easy to make excuses for that person but the bottom line is that you deserve to be treated better, no matter what.

(Adapted from yourlifeyourchoice.org, - Boys Town National Hotline)

How can I get help?

  • Talk to a parent, school counselor, teacher, or principal about what’s going on.
  • Talk to your Student Resource Officer for help.
  • Call the Boys Town National Hotline (800)-448-3000, (24/7), to talk confidentially to a counselor. They can help you sort through the issues and decide what to do next.