Relationships should be fun, rewarding, and make you feel good about yourself. You can have a healthy relationship with anyone in your life, including your family, friends, and boyfriends/girlfriends. We are all different and every relationship is different. It can take a while to figure out what you want in a relationship or in a boyfriend/girlfriend. It is normal to go out with different types of people and explore what you want.
It is also normal to not be in a relationship at all. It's just as important to spend time finding out about yourself and doing the things you like to do.
When it comes to having an intimate or sexual relationship with someone having a healthy relationship means that you can both make healthy choices about sex.
In healthy relationships people respect each other for who they are. This includes respecting and listening to yourself and your feelings so you can set boundaries and feel comfortable. You can share your feelings with the other person and trust that they will be there to listen and support you. Disagreements may still happen but you learn to stay calm and talk about how you feel. Talking calmly helps you to understand the real reason for not getting along, and it's much easier to figure out how to fix it.
In healthy relationships working through disagreements often makes the relationship stronger. You will find that you learn to understand experiences and feelings of others as well as having them understand your experiences and feelings[i]. It takes time, energy, and care to build a healthy relationship. For tips on having healthy relationships see: www.scarleteen.com
Some relationships are bad for your health too – your emotional health. An unhealthy relationship will usually make you feel unsafe or bad about yourself. Some warning signs are insults, putdowns, disrespect, jealousy, or controlling behaviour. To recognise an unhealthy relationship check out www.reachout.com.
Remember it is normal for relationships to be challenging sometimes or even break down but it is not OK for someone to hurt you in a relationship.
If someone is hurting you in a relationship you should speak to someone that you trust or you can call one of the servcies below for free confidential support and information.
Kids Help Line: 24 hour telephone and online counselling service for children and young people in Australia. FREE CALL 1800 551 800. www.kidshelp.com.au
Lifeline: 24 hour telephone counselling and information service for anyone, at anytime and from anywhere in Australia for just the cost of a local call. Lifeline also works to help prevent suicide. Call 131 114. www.lifeline.org.au
DV Connect for immediate help or referral to a local support service. Tel: 1800 811 811 (women) or 1800 600 636 (men).
www.theline.gov.au : This site to allow young people to have dialogue about healthy and unhealthy relationship behaviours and how to have and maintain a respectful relationship.
www.lovegoodbadugly.com: This website site provides information and advice from the personal experiences of other young people who have been there.