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Relationships: Teen Version



  • A healthy relationship is built on trust, respect, communication, and honesty.
  • An unhealthy relationship can make you feel bad about yourself, or scared of your partner.
  • If you or someone you know is in an unhealthy relationship, talk to family members, friends, or a counselor for support and help.


What is a healthy relationship?

When you are in a healthy relationship, you should feel understood and accepted for who you are. When you are in a healthy relationship:

  • You trust the other person and can talk openly with them. You have a sense of belonging. You feel safe and trust that neither of you will hurt each other on purpose or harm the relationship. You trust the other person to care about you and support you.
  • You do not expect the other person to be the solution to all of your problems.
  • You treat each other with respect. You help each other to feel valued. You can be true to yourself and know that they will understand.
  • You have common interests and are honest with each other. You are able to express your true feelings even if they sometimes cause conflict. Speaking up, finding out what's wrong, and then making a decision that works for both of you are signs of a healthy relationship.
  • You spend time with each other's families and friends, and are able to have your own friends and interests too.

What is an unhealthy relationship?

Here are signs that you are in an unhealthy relationship:

  • Your partner wants you to give up your friendships or stop doing things that you enjoy.
  • Your partner discourages or blocks your efforts to quit an unhealthy habit such as smoking or drinking.
  • Your partner doesn’t want you to be alone or spend time with your family members or friends. He or she is jealous and does not trust you.
  • Your partner disrespects or humiliates you.
  • Your partner tries to exert power or control over you by threatening or scaring you. You may feel forced to do things you do not want to do. Abuse is one person trying to control another with fear, violence, or bullying. Abuse is not just physical. It may also be mental, emotional, sexual, or financial. Cyber abuse includes using social networking sites to keep track of you, or sending or posting text or pictures to hurt or embarrass you.
  • If sex is part of your relationship, it should be something that you want to do and not done to prove anything. If someone asks you to do something you don’t want to do to prove your love, it could be a warning sign in any relationship.

Feeling afraid, unhappy, or stressed are not part of a healthy relationship. It may be time to seek counseling or end the relationship if:

  • You or your partner have cheated on each other.
  • You and your partner often argue and blame each other when things go wrong.
  • You are afraid of your partner or you have been physically or emotionally hurt.
  • Your partner is always trying to change you and make you feel like you are not good enough for them.

If you or someone you know is in an unhealthy relationship, talk to family members, friends, a trusted teacher, or a counselor for support and help.

Developed by Change Healthcare.
Pediatric Advisor 2022.1 published by Change Healthcare.
Last modified: 2021-06-01
Last reviewed: 2020-01-03
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
© 2022 Change Healthcare LLC and/or one of its subsidiaries
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