Dating and Peer Abuse

Healthy relationships make us feel good about ourselves. They are important to our health and wellbeing. You have the right to make sure your relationships are healthy ones.

What is a healthy relationship?

A healthy relationship is one where:

  • Both people feel respected, supported and valued.
  • Decisions are made together.
  • People have friends and interests outside the relationship.
  • Disagreements can be discussed in a respectful way; people have the right to their own opinion.
  • People feel happy most of the time – there are more good times than bad ones.

What are signs of an unhealthy relationship?

Relationships are unhealthy when:

  • A boyfriend or girlfriend tries to change the other.
  • One person makes all or most of the decisions.
  • A boyfriend or girlfriend pressures the other to drop their outside friends and interests.
  • Disagreements turn into arguments where people yell, threaten, hit, or throw things.
  • One person makes fun of the other one.
  • A boyfriend or girlfriend is jealous or possessive. The person may keep calling, texting, or checking in on the other one. The person may insist on knowing everything the other person does or keep the person from spending time with family and friends.
  • A boyfriend or girlfriend is verbally abusive – yelling, swearing, or spreading rumors.
  • A boyfriend or girlfriend threatens the other to engage in behavior they don’t want such as drinking, drug use, or sexual activity.
  • A boyfriend or girlfriend engages in inappropriate activity like drinking or drug us and blames the other person.
  • People feel sad or depressed a lot of the time – there are more bad times than good one.

What should I do if my relationship is not healthy?

Too many people think they are the only ones who are suffering in an unhealthy relationship. They are not. It is important to talk about your feelings with someone you trust. It can help to talk with a friend, but if you are afraid or feel unsafe, it is important to talk with a trusted adult.

Keep in mind…

Unhealthy relationships usually get worse – not better – with time.

If you are in a relationship with someone who hurts or frightens you, do not be alone with the person. Don’t let them in your house. Do not get into a car with them. Tell a friend or adult where you are going and when you will be back. If you are attacked or injured, get help and call 911.