Relationships are an important part of our lives. Different people may define “relationship” in different ways, but it is important for any relationship to be healthy and safe.
What makes a safe, healthy relationship? There are a few things that all healthy relationships have in common:
Good communication – honest, open communication is a key ingredient in all healthy relationships. Talking honestly with your partner allows you both to be on the same page when it comes to each other’s needs and expectations. Good communication is also respectful of each person and allows you to feel heard and have your opinions and desired valued and supported. Open communication with your partner means you are free to share how you feel and you feel supported.
All relationships experience conflict. But in a healthy relationship, you are able to resolve conflicts safely without concern for your physical or emotional safety. In times of disagreement, healthy communication means recognizing each person’s opinion and working to find a compromise or solution that considers the needs of both partners.
Respectful boundaries – respecting each other’s boundaries is another important part of a healthy relationship. Relationships that respect boundaries make you feel safe and comfortable expressing your needs and desires when it comes to areas like:
- your sex life,
- your financial decisions,
- your friendships and relationships with family members.
A relationship with healthy boundaries means you do not have concerns about your privacy or feel coerced into sharing information or doing things that make you feel uncomfortable. You can have friendships outside of your relationship without feeling guilty.
Healthy boundaries recognize the need for both partners to participate in decision-making and value the opinions and feelings of both partners when it comes to relationship choices.
A healthy relationship is one that makes you feel safe and loved and doesn’t make you afraid or worried that something might happen to you physically or emotionally.
To learn more about healthy and unhealthy relationships, you can visit some of these websites:
Loveisrespect.org – Love is Respect has more information on safe relationships and how to get support if you have concerns or fears about your relationships. You can also call or text for 24/7 assistance:
CALL 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-799-7233 for TTY, or if you’re unable to speak safely, you can log onto thehotline.org or TEXT LOVEIS to 22522.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline has information on healthy relationships and has a referral services that can assist you in contacting your local rape crisis center.
Interested in getting pregnant? The first step is having an open conversation with your partner about becoming parents. When both partners make the decision together to have a baby, the mother is more likely to get prenatal care and avoid behaviors that could have a negative impact on the developing baby. Having a baby affects both the mother and the father and can impact a couple’s relationship. Talking with your partner before you get pregnant can help ensure that both you and your partner are on the same page about pregnancy and parenting and set you up to have a happier, healthier pregnancy.
Here are some tips for starting a conversation about pregnancy:
- Talk to your partner about why you want to have a baby and when you think you might be ready to get pregnant.
- Listen to your partner as they express their thoughts and desires around pregnancy and parenting and try to remain open to differences of opinion or desire.
- Remember that in a healthy, safe relationship both partners’ feelings and opinions are valued and respected.
- Have an open conversation with your partner about finances, child care and any cultural or religious beliefs that could impact your pregnancy and parenting.