Worrying about relationships in all of their forms, is possibly one of the most common worries for secondary age students. There maybe conflict with friendships, family members, concern about how to navigate new romantic relationships, or worry about how to end an existing one.

Recognising when you are in an unhealthy relationship can also be tricky – or finding a way to leave it once you have become aware it is not good for your wellbeing.

What is a healthy relationship?

All relationships are different – whether it be a friendship or a romantic connection. However there are some things that all healthy relationships share. Use this list as a checklist for your relationships.

Image: Duy Pham

Image: Thought Catalog

Trust. Both people trust the other to keep them safe. That might mean emotionally or physically. In real life and online.

Loyalty. Both people stand up for the other. Each person knows the other ‘has their back’.

Respect. Both people respect each other’s differences, opinions and wishes. Neither is mean about the other, face to face or behind their back.

Space. Both people understand when the other needs their own space, or to be on their own, without getting angry or upset. Being friends or romantically entwined doesn’t mean you have to live in each other’s pockets.

Freedom. Neither person tries to control or manipulate what the other does or believes, who the other chooses as friends or where the other goes.

Drama free. Relationships shouldn’t be stressful [although none are perfect!] You should feel that you enjoy being in each other’s company most of the time.

When a relationship becomes unhealthy

Unhealthy relationships make us unhappy. Sometimes we think we have to stay in them because trying to end a friendship or romantic partnership is too difficult.

Should I stay or should I go?

Only you can make that decision and you may want to talk to your friend or partner about how you feel before doing so. You might find that they feel the same and together you can work it out.

However if you are still unhappy with the current situation, perhaps it is time to look after yourself and move on.

Moving away and letting go.

  • Moving away from unhealthy relationships doesn’t have to be a big drama. You could gradually start seeing the person less, or having less interaction with them in school.
  • Blame it on your parent or care giver! Check first, but most parents are fine with being the bad guy if it helps you to decline invitations.
  • Remain polite. There is no reason to get into arguments, you are simply looking after yourself.
  • If you are struggling with your emotions – check into our Mindfulness pages to help.