Healthy Relationships

Healthy relationships are all about respecting each other. You should feel loved, safe and free to be yourself.

A relationship doesn’t just mean what happens in your love life. Most of our important relationships are with our family and friends and the one thing they all have in common is that they involve our feelings. We have lots of different types of relationships with different people e.g. teachers, health professionals and even neighbours.

Whatever the relationship, it will probably have ups and downs, most do. Good communication and respect going both ways are really important to make it work well.

Relationships can be confusing and it can be difficult to understand what is and isn’t normal behavior. 

Disrespectful and unacceptable behavior can come in many forms. It isn’t limited to just physical behavior; it can also go way beyond that. For example, it’s not OK for someone to try and pressure you into sending a nude photo, or to expect the same things to happen that they’ve seen in a porn film. If someone makes you do something you don’t want to, makes you feel scared, intimidated or tries controlling you, it’s not acceptable and is never OK.


How do I know if I am in a healthy relationship?

Being in a relationship can be complicated - knowing your in an unhealthy relationship can be tougher.

  • Do you both want to be in the relationship?
  • Are you both equals? Do you respect each other?
  • Do you trust each other?
  • Do you feel safe with each other?

If the answer to all these questions is yes, then it sounds like you’re onto a winner. A healthy relationship means being with someone you really like and respect and who really likes and respects you.

If you want to find out if your relationship is a healthy one, why don't you take our healthy relationships quiz.

5 qualities of a healthy relationship

All relationships are different but there are certain qualities that are important if you want to have a really good relationship.


It’s important to value the other person’s opinions and feelings. You feel like your opinion matters. You might still disagree from time to time but you can talk calmly and honestly about how you are feeling. When you care about one another, you want each other to be happy so you’ll work out a solution between you.


Being reliable is important in relationships, if you can’t trust someone this leaves you feeling unhappy and worried. You trust each other to be honest, to mean what you say and to do what you say you’ll do. You don’t worry that you’re being told half-truths or lies, or ever have reason to feel unsafe.

Good Communication

This is the key to all good relationships. If you don’t talk often and honestly then it is easy to misunderstand each other. You talk and listen to one another. Being able to talk often and openly is one of the most important parts of any relationship. So too is being genuinely interested in the other person’s life and listening when they are the one doing the talking.


Good relationships aren't just about having a laugh when everything is going great. Life can throw up some real challenges- good relationships are ones that help you through the hard times. Life is a mix of up and downs. In a normal relationship you’ll feel supported at all times. You’ll celebrate together when something really good happens to one or both of you and you’ll offer each other a shoulder to cry on if you’re sad or upset.

Having an equal say 

Relationships are all about give and take. It’s important to learn to compromise because if someone gets their way all the time there could be trouble. The best relationships are those in which both people have an equal say, whether it’s what you want to do or where you want to go. It shouldn’t ever feel like a power struggle or that one person is getting their own way all the time.

Most relationships have good points and bad points, no relationship is perfect and most are able to survive that first argument or disagreement. Relationships are supposed to be fun but you should also be able to rely on that person if the going gets tough.

What is an unhealthy relationship?

An unhealthy relationship is one where someone is mean, controlling or abusive. People can be abused in a number of different ways- both men and women can either be abused or be the abusers.

An unhealthy relationship can involve:

Physical abuse 

Being hurt in a physical way such as being hit or slapped.

Emotional abuse 

Someone putting you down all the time, calling you names and trying to control everything you do.
Sexual abuse - Making you or putting pressure on you to do sexual things that you don’t want to do.


Doing things that make you afraid like sending mean text messages or threatening to hit you.


Using things like guilt or jealousy to try to control you or do things you don’t really want to do.
Isolation - trying to limit your contact with other people who are important to you or controlling who you talk to.

Lack of communication 

This could be by keeping secrets or just not being willing to talk about things that are going on.

It might be tempting to explain away violence, anger or controlling behavior as a sign of love. If it doesn't happen all the time, then it might be easy to just put up with it. Abuse like this is always wrong. You have the right to be safe, to be treated with respect and kindness.

This film clip from Australia is a good example of what you can expect from a healthy relationship.