What is a healthy relationship?

A healthy relationship is based on equality and respect - not power and control. You should always treat someone how you would expect to be treated yourself. There are 12 characteristics of a healthy relationship that are displayed below:

  • Honesty and accountability. For example, admitting when you are wrong, communicating honestly and openly, keeping your word, not making excuses for your own or you partner’s actions.
  • Communication. For example, being able to express your feelings or emotions and knowing when it’s ok to disagree with something. You should be able to tell your partner if you feel they have hurt you in any way.
  • Negotiation and fairness. You are never going to agree with everything your partner says, thinks or does. It is perfectly acceptable to disagree with your partner as long as you are both willing to find solutions. Try understanding your partner’s point of view and try to find a compromise.
  • Money. Making money decisions together, splitting or alternating on costs. Accepting each other’s employment circumstances.
  • Shared responsibility. Making decisions together and being mindful of the other person’s needs as well as your own.
  • Shared power. One person should never have more power over the other however, at times one person may have a greater say because of more information or experience in a certain area. Each partner should be mindful or each other’s needs and wants.
  • Respect. Each partner should be valued for who they are and what they bring to the relationship. You should both find ways to appreciate and accept each other and differences in thoughts, feelings and values should be respected.
  • Trust and support. You should want the best for your partner and be supportive in their decisions, offering encouragement when necessary. It is ok for your partner to have different friends. You should be able to share private aspects of each other’s thoughts and feelings – feeling secure and knowing there will be no jealousy or possessiveness.
  • Non-threatening behaviour.  You should be able to talk and act with so that you both feel safe and comfortable.
  • Intimacy. Respecting your partner’s boundaries and each other’s privacy. Being faithful to one another.
  • Physical affection. Not all relationships need to be show public displays of affection, however whether in public or private, you should be able to feel comfortable with your partner to hold hands, kiss, hug etc. whilst always respecting one another’s right to say no.
  • Personal integrity. You and your partner should be able to maintain beliefs and a sense of self as well as offering time and attention to your relationship. You should always be able to have your own independence and privacy as well as caring about each other’s quality of life.

If you would like more information about healthy relationships or to find out what isn’t a healthy relationship, go to www.loveisrespect.org. Alternatively, speak to someone you can trust such as a family member, friend, teacher or an MYT Adviser.

For information about controlling relationships or domestic abuse, check out our other pages.


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