Healthy Relationships

What is a healthy relationship?

There are many different kinds of relationships. You may have a close connection or a relationship with many people: friends, family, boyfriends/girlfriends, partners, or a spouse. In a healthy relationship, both people respect, trust, and support each other. This means that you can share your thoughts and feelings openly, you can talk about and resolve problems together, and you always feel safe. You also feel free to be yourself and are happy in the relationship most of the time.

What is an unhealthy relationship?

Relationships are challenging and it is normal to have some disagreements. However, unhealthy relationships put your health and your life in danger. In an unhealthy relationship, your partner may try to control you, such as telling you who you can talk to or where you can go. Other signs include your partner scaring or threatening you, calling you names, putting you down, forcing you to have sex, tampering with your birth control, or physically hurting you. These are all signs of abuse and can put your life at risk.

How can your relationship affect your health?

A healthy relationship is an important part of your overall health. Having someone supportive to talk to makes you feel better about yourself and can improve your health. An unhealthy relationship is harmful to your health, and an abusive partner may prevent you from getting the medical care you need to stay healthy. Also, if you get pregnant, physical, sexual and emotional abuse can be harmful to you and the baby. Even if you do not experience violence during pregnancy, violence during the year before you get pregnant can cause the baby to be born early or weigh too little.

What to do if you are in an unhealthy relationship:

If you think you are in an unhealthy relationship, it is important to get help. If you are being hurt by a partner or someone else, it is not your fault. You deserve to be safe and healthy. You may feel alone and trapped, but there is help. Talk with someone at your doctor’s office or clinic. They can help you find support services, such as crisis hot lines, domestic violence programs, legal aid services or counseling. Violence at home tends to get worse over time, so it is important to get help as soon as possible.  

  • If you are in immediate danger, call 911. Don’t wait.
  • You can call 1-800-799-SAFE (7223) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY for the hearing or speech impaired) 24 hours a day and reach the National Domestic Violence Hotline. They can refer you to help near where you live.
  • You can also get information from the National Domestic Violence Hotline or Futures Without Violence.

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