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Healthy relationships

Qualities of a healthy relationship

All relationships are different, but there are some qualities that should be present in all healthy relationships:

  • Communication. You are both able to talk about how you are feeling and express your emotions. You also really listen to how your partner is feeling.
  • Respect. You respect your partner and they respect you. This includes respecting the right to each have your own thoughts, feelings and interests.
  • Best interests. You are able to act in line with what is in both your own and your partner’s best interests.
  • Trust. You trust your partner and they trust you. You can rely on each other.
  • Equality. What you need and want is just as important as what your partner needs and wants. Both of you are equally valued in the relationship.

 These qualities are important in all relationships, not just romantic ones.

Two people hugging tightly on the street

Signs of unhealthy relationships

Healthy relationships can sometimes change and become unhealthy. This means the relationship is no longer having a positive effect on you and your life.

This can happen for many reasons, including changes in your life or stress. Unhealthy relationships are sometimes also called ‘toxic relationships’.

When relationships become unhealthy, they can make you feel worried, scared, anxious and sometimes angry.

It’s not always easy to spot when a relationship is unhealthy.

Here are some common features of unhealthy relationships you can look out for:

  • Jealousy: your partner doesn't like you spending time with other people.
  • Control: your partner tries to control what you do and who you speak to.
  • Pressure: your partner tries to make you do things you don’t want to.
  • Threatening: your partner threatens to do something bad if you don’t go along with what they want.

These behaviours could be a sign of an abusive relationship. If someone is pressuring you to do something sexual online that you to don’t want to do, speak to a trusted adult or report it to CEOP.

Dealing with an unhealthy relationship

It is never okay for someone to make you feel scared, unsafe or upset. It is not your fault and there are plenty of ways you can get help. If you are worried about being in an unhealthy relationship, trust your instincts and speak to an adult you trust or a support service about how you’re feeling.

If you are worried that someone you know is in a ‘toxic relationship’, try encouraging them to get support or you could speak to an adult you trust about your concerns. By doing this you can help them and keep yourself safe too.

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Abusive relationships


Abuse in relationships can happen in lots of different ways and in different situations.

Healthy sexual experiences

Sex and sexual content online

There are four qualities that should be present in all sexual activity.