Healthy Relationships Work Like This

As a teacher or coach, you can model and encourage healthy relationships among those students with which you have contact.

Healthy relationships are based on…

Equality means equal rights in a relationship. Each person respects, trusts, and believes the other. While each person may have different interests and abilities, neither person considers themselves better than the other. Decisions are made together. Neither person sets rules for the relationship or each other—like not allowing their boyfriend to talk to other girls, or not letting their girlfriend go to a party without them. Each person feels comfortable giving and receiving things from each other. Both partners share responsibilities—spending time with each others’ friends and family, driving, or paying on dates.

Open communication
In a healthy relationship, each person is able to talk about anything and know they will be heard. Both people can say what they mean and mean what they say. Remember, no matter how good the relationship, both people won’t agree on everything. What is important is listening and respecting both partner’s opinions. Neither person never or always gets their way—each is willing to compromise. Open communication is also about speaking up for yourself and not feeling scared of how a boyfriend, girlfriend or friend will react.

Respect for boundaries
Boundaries are the physical, sexual and emotional limits a person establishes in their relationships. Physical boundaries mean how close someone can come to you and not make you uncomfortable. For example, a person may feel comfortable sitting close to their boyfriend or girlfriend on a bus, but awkward sitting that close to a stranger. Emotional boundaries refer to how much of yourself you share with someone (e.g. feelings, thoughts, and ideas). It also means respecting things the other person tells you in confidence and not saying things to embarrass or hurt them. Sexual boundaries are what each person is comfortable doing sexually. Boundaries may change over time. By talking openly, both people  will know what to expect from the other person and how they will be treated.

Trust and commitment
If the above components of a healthy relationship are present, both partners have a relationship based on equality—both people trust, respect, and like each other. They feel good about who they are and feel comfortable in the relationship. They share interests and friends, and are committed to each other.