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What is a relationship? defines a relationship as “noun: 1. a connection, association, or involvement. 2. Connection between persons by blood or marriage. 3. An emotional or other connection between people: the relationship between teachers and students. 4. A sexual involvement; affair.”

Types of Relationships info graphic

Red Flag vs. Green Flag

A Red Flag is something that someone does, or something that happens in a relationship which sends an intuitive signal saying something may be wrong.

A Green Flag is something that someone does, or something that happens in a relationship which makes you feel good about that person/relationship.

Healthy vs Unhealthy Relationships

How do I know if my relationship is unhealthy?

Healthy vs. UnHealthy

If you are in a relationship that is harmful to your physical or psychological health, you are in an unhealthy relationship. In the graphic above there are some examples of what an unhealthy relationship might look like. This can be in a romantic relationship, a friendship, a family relationship, or any relationship. Just because you notice some of these red flags in your relationship, that does not make the relationship automatically unhealthy, unless it is some form of abuse. You may even notice them in yourself. Other than abuse, red flags can be a signal to either work on yourself or the relationship. However, if you are seeing red flags over and over again, and the relationship does not change, that relationship is unhealthy. Below are some definitions of different forms of abuse.

Physical- when someone hurts another person through bodily contact. Examples of this could be hitting, kicking, punching, slapping, burning, and other physical acts.

Emotional “any abusive behavior that isn’t physical, which may include verbal aggression, intimidation, manipulation, and humiliation, which most often unfolds as a pattern of behavior over time that aims to diminish another person’s sense of identity, dignity and self-worth, and which often results in anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts or behaviors, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)” (

Domestic- occurs within one’s home. This could be between a parent and child, partners, or anyone within the home. If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence the Domestic hotline is available 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233.

Sexual“refers to sexual contact or behavior that occurs without explicit consent of the victim. Some forms of sexual assault include attempted rape, fondling or unwanted sexual touching, forcing a victim to perform sexual acts, such as oral sex or penetrating the perpetrator’s body, and penetration of the victim’s body, also known as rape” ( ). Resources for Sexual Assault victims can be found here.


There is a difference between an unhealthy relationship and an abusive relationship. An abusive relationship is not okay. If you are in an abusive relationship, it is not your fault. Find a trusted adult to help you create a safety plan. If you talk to an adult and they do not help you or do not believe you, find another adult you trust. Sometimes you may have to report to multiple people. If this has happened to you, it is not your fault. The National Domestic Hotline has a great resource if you are trying to figure out whether your relationship is healthy, unhealthy, abusive, or maybe somewhere in between. Find more about consent in relationships.

What can I do to work on my relationship?

If you are in a relationship that you believe may be unhealthy, talk to your partner about your concerns and how you can work to fix them together. Communication is an essential skill in any relationship. It is also very important to talk with your partner about boundaries. To learn more about boundaries and how they can help your relationship click here. Everyone learns to communicate based on how they have seen others around them communicate. When two people have different communication styles, it can be difficult for both to feel heard. Below are different communication styles and what they look like.

Passive– Those who communicate passively tend to hold back what they want to “keep the peace”. Passive communication often results in miscommunication and can result in the person feeling resentment. Body language of passive communication could look like someone is uncomfortable. They may not make eye contact and may have slouched posture. They may also feel like they cannot say “no”.

Aggressive– Those who communicate with an aggressive communication style know what they want and will do whatever is necessary to get it. Aggressive communication is normally loud and demanding. It can make others feel uncomfortable with their domineering presence.

Assertive– This type of communication is the most effective form of communication. Someone who communicates assertively knows how to communicate their thoughts and desires, while also understanding the other person’s thoughts and desires. With assertive communication, both parties can be heard and understood.

Love Languages can be a great tool for those who are looking to understand more about themselves and those they are around. Whether it’s a romantic relationship or a friendship, love languages can teach you how you like to receive love and how those around you like to receive love. You can take the love language quiz here.


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 if safety is a concern.
  • 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. Block them if they harass and/or threaten you.
  • 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.



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