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Healthy relationships vs. unhealthy relationships


What is a healthy relationship?

Healthy relationships can play a prominent role in a teen’s life. Everyone wants to love and feel loved. Loveisrespect.org created a “Relationship Bill of Rights” which explains everything you should expect in a relationship. Characteristics of a healthy relationship include:

  • open communication
  • honesty
  • accountability
  • shared responsibility and equal power
  • respect
  • support and trust
  • negotiation and fairness



What should I do if I need help?

Check out loveisrespect.org for 24-hour online, text and phone support.

Talk to a trusted adult such as a parent, physician or counselor.

Contact us to learn more about healthy relationships and how we can help. If you feel like you need immediate help, call the Centerstone Crisis Line nearest you.


How do I know if my relationship is unhealthy?

If you are in a relationship that is harmful to your physical or psychological health, you are in an unhealthy relationship. Characteristics of an unhealthy relationship include:

  • physical abuse
  • emotional/verbal abuse
  • sexual abuse
  • financial abuse
  • digital abuse


If I am in an unhealthy relationship, how do I fix it?

If you are in an unhealthy relationship, talk to your partner about your concerns and how you can work to fix them together. Consider couple therapy or other ways to make your relationship healthy.

If your partner ignores or is unwilling to work toward making a healthy relationship, it may be time to end the relationship.


How do I get out of an unhealthy relationship?

  • Tell someone. Talk to a trusted adult or close friend about your situation.
  • Plan your break up. If you decide to break up with this person, make sure you feel safe doing so. If you don’t feel safe breaking up in person, do it over the phone. If you do break up in person, do so in a public place. Bring family or friends along as back up.
  • Do not try and explain your reasons for breaking up over and over. If your ex doesn’t understand or care the first few times, no answer is going to make them happy.
  • Understand that it’s normal to miss your ex – even if they were abusive, you still probably spent a lot of time with them. If you are struggling with this, create a list of reasons of why you broke up and review it to remind yourself of why you’re leaving this unhealthy relationship.
  • If your partner was controlling and jealous, it is likely that they made the majority of your decisions. It can be overwhelming to choose again. If you are feeling stressed out, talk to people in your support network such as your family and friends.
  • Let the people that care about you know about your break up. They can find ways to help you feel safer.
  • Save any threatening or harassing messages your ex sends. Set your profile to private on social networking sites and ask your friends to do the same.
  • If your ex shows up at your home, school or workplace and tries to confront you, do not answer the door. Seek safety immediately.
  • Trust your instincts. If you feel afraid, you probably have a good reason.
  • If you feel like you are in immediate danger, call 911.

Being a teenager is hard. That’s why we have answers to a lot of common questions that teens might have – about mental health, drugs and alcohol, sex and relationships, social media and internet safety, bullying and more on our TEEN PAGE.

If you are a teen or parent in crisis, call the Centerstone Crisis Line nearest you now.