It's totally normal to look at the world through rose-colored glasses in the early
stages of a relationship. But for some people, those rose-colored glasses turn into
blinders that keep them from seeing that a relationship isn't as healthy as it should
What Makes a Healthy Relationship?
Hopefully, you and your significant other are treating each other well. Not sure
if that's the case? Take a step back from the dizzying sensation of being swept off
your feet and think about whether your relationship has these qualities:
Mutual respect. Does he or she get how great you are and why?
Make sure your BF or GF is into you for who you are. Does your partner listen when
you say you're not comfortable doing something and then back off right away? Respect
in a relationship means that each person values the other and understands —
and would never challenge — the other person's boundaries.
Trust. You're talking with a guy from French class and your boyfriend
walks by. Does he completely lose his cool or keep walking because he knows you'd
never cheat on him? It's OK to get a little jealous sometimes — jealousy is
a natural emotion. But how a person reacts when feeling jealous is what matters. There's
no way you can have a healthy relationship if you don't trust each other.
Honesty. This one goes hand-in-hand with trust because it's tough
to trust someone when one of you isn't being honest. Have you ever caught your girlfriend
in a major lie? Like she told you that she had to work on Friday night but it turned
out she was at the movies with her friends? The next time she says she has to work,
you'll have a lot more trouble believing her and the trust will be on shaky ground.
Support. It's not just in bad times that your partner should
support you. Some people are great when your whole world is falling apart but not
that interested in hearing about the good things in your life. In a healthy relationship,
your significant other is there with a shoulder to cry on when you find
out your parents are getting divorced and to celebrate with you when
you get the lead in a play.
Fairness/equality. You need to have give-and-take in your relationship.
Do you take turns choosing which new movie to see? As a couple, do you hang out with
your partner's friends as often as you hang out with yours? You'll know if it isn't
a pretty fair balance. Things get bad really fast when a relationship turns into a
power struggle, with one person fighting to get his or her way all the time.
Separate identities. In a healthy relationship, everyone needs
to make compromises. But that doesn't mean you should feel like you're losing out
on being yourself. When you started going out, you both had your own lives (families,
friends, interests, hobbies, etc.) and that shouldn't change. Neither of you
should have to pretend to like something you don't, or give up seeing your friends,
or drop out of activities you love. And you also should feel free to keep developing
new talents or interests, making new friends, and moving forward.
Good communication. Can you talk to each other and share feelings
that are important to you? Don't keep feelings bottled up because you're afraid it's
not what your BF or GF wants to hear. And if you need some time to think something
through before you're ready to talk about it, the right person will give you some
space to do that.
What's an Unhealthy Relationship?
A relationship is unhealthy when it involves mean, disrespectful, controlling,
or abusive behavior. Some people live in homes with parents who fight a lot or abuse
each other — emotionally, verbally, or physically. For some people who
have grown up around this kind of behavior it can almost seem normal or OK. It's
Many of us learn from watching and imitating the people close to us. So someone
who has lived around violent or disrespectful behavior may not have learned how to
treat others with kindness and respect or how to expect the same treatment.
Qualities like kindness and respect are absolute requirements for a healthy relationship.
Someone who doesn't yet have this part down may need to work on it with a trained
therapist before he or she is ready for a relationship.
Meanwhile, even though you might feel bad or feel for someone who's been mistreated,
you need to take care of yourself — it's not healthy to stay in a relationship
that involves abusive behavior of any kind.
When a boyfriend or girlfriend uses verbal insults, mean language, nasty putdowns,
gets physical by hitting or slapping, or forces someone into sexual activity, it's
a sign of verbal, emotional, or physical abuse.
Ask yourself, does my boyfriend or girlfriend:
get angry when I don't drop everything for him or her?
criticize the way I look or dress, and say I'll never be able to find anyone
else who would date me?
keep me from seeing friends or from talking to other guys or girls?
want me to quit an activity, even though I love it?
ever raise a hand when angry, like he or she is about to hit me?
try to force me to go further sexually than I want to?
These aren't the only questions you can ask yourself. If you can think of any way
in which your boyfriend or girlfriend is trying to control you, make you feel bad
about yourself, isolate you from the rest of your world, or — this is a big
one — harm you physically or sexually, then it's time to get out, fast.
Let a trusted friend or family member know what's going on and make sure you're safe.
It can be tempting to make excuses or misinterpret violence, possessiveness, or
anger as an expression of love. But even if you know that the person hurting
you loves you, it is not healthy. No one deserves to be hit, shoved, or forced into
anything they don't want to do.
Why Are Some Relationships So Difficult?
Ever heard about how it's hard for someone to love you when you don't love yourself?
It's a big relationship roadblock when one or both people struggle with self-esteem
problems. Your girlfriend or boyfriend isn't there to make you feel good about yourself
if you can't do that on your own. Focus on being happy with yourself, and don't take
on the responsibility of worrying about someone else's happiness.
What if you feel that your girlfriend or boyfriend needs too much from you? If
the relationship feels like a burden or a drag instead of a joy, it might be time
to think about whether it's a healthy match for you. Someone who's not happy or secure
may have trouble being a healthy relationship partner.
Also, intense relationships can be hard for some teens. Some are so focused on
their own developing feelings and responsibilities that they don't have the emotional
energy it takes to respond to someone else's feelings and needs in a close relationship.
Don't worry if you're just not ready yet. You will be, and you can take all the time
Ever notice that some teen relationships don't last very long? It's no wonder —
you're both still growing and changing every day. You might seem perfect for each
other at first, but that can change. If you try to hold on to the relationship anyway,
there's a good chance it will turn sour. Better to part as friends than to stay in
something that you've outgrown or that no longer feels right for one or both of you. And
before you go looking for amour from that hottie from French class, respect your current
beau by breaking things off
before you make your move.
Relationships can be full of fun, romance, excitement, intense feelings, and occasional
heartache, too. Whether you're single or in a relationship, remember that it's good
to be choosy about who you get close to. If you're still waiting, take your time and
get to know plenty of people.
Think about the qualities you value in a friendship and see how they match up with
the ingredients of a healthy relationship. Work on developing those good qualities
in yourself — they make you a lot more attractive to others. And if you're already
part of a pair, make sure the relationship you're in brings out the best in both of