Healthy relationships16 are based on equality and mutual respect.
A healthy relationship does not mean everything is perfect or completely easy. Relationships change, and how you feel about each other may also change. You might like someone but not like all parts of them. You might not like them all of the time, depending on things going on in your life or theirs.
There are many different elements of a healthy relationship.
- You support each other's choices, take time to learn about what is important to the other person, and offer encouragement for their interests or goals.
- You have a say in how decisions are made within the relationship.
- You have a choice in your actions and commitments.
- You have a sense of yourself, with your own identity, values, and goals.
Boundaries can be about your physical space, emotional space, or digital/online space.
- Physical: Each person feels comfortable being honest about what they want, what they are afraid of, and what their physical limits are. Each person respects each other's physical and sexual limits without fear and does not pressure the other to do things they are not ready or interested in doing.
- Emotional: Each person takes responsibility for their feelings and reactions.
- Digital: Each person respects the other’s private spaces online and does not try to monitor or access each other's online accounts, or use of any technological devices, without the other person's full permission.
- You both agree to be in the relationship.
- You both agree to each activity that is involved in that relationship.
- You never assume what the other person wants or doesn't want. Even if you feel like you know what the other person wants, you ask and get their verbal permission and agreement.
- You ask and even when the answer is not what you want you respect the answer.
- You value each other as you are.
- You accept each other’s opinions even if different from your own.
- You can freely say no to something and know that the other person will respect your wishes.
- You listen to each other non-judgmentally, so that each person feels safe and comfortable sharing what is on their mind.
- You express yourself non-violently.
- You are honest with each other.
- You and your friend/partner are truthful in words and actions.
- You admit mistakes when wrong.
- Trust is about being able to follow through with promises, taking responsibility for mistakes, being honest about your limits, and facing difficult times together.
- Trust takes time to build and requires a commitment from both of the people in the relationship.
- Intimacy is about being close to others.
- Intimacy is a process that takes place over time and is evolving.
- Intimacy can be emotional, physical, or sexual. It does not only mean romantic or sexual closeness.