Healthy Relationships

Published by University of Bedfordshire

It is important to ensure that you are in healthy relationship with yourself and others. When emotions are involved, we sometimes do not look at the bigger picture and find ourselves in situations when we are hurt by others or ourselves.

What makes a relationship healthy or unhealthy?

A healthy relationship should make you feel positive, safe, and free to be yourself. It is about mutual respect, open and safe communication, and is consensual.

An unhealthy relationship can make you feel unhappy and unsafe. Signs of an unhealthy relationship are feeling generally unhappy, lack of respect and consent, threats, physical violence and emotional abuse. If you are experiencing these then it is important to tell someone.

Loving yourself

A healthy relationship with ourselves is complicated and consists of many, many parts—just like our relationship with other people. Loving yourself is key to your day to day life. Not only does it improve your relationship with yourself, but it shows others how to love you. You are the one person that you’ll always be with. So, it’s important that you enjoy your own company, can trust yourself, and recognize your good qualities.

Domestic abuse

Healthy relationships are about respect. Where there are “incidents or patterns of controlling, coercive, threatening, degrading and violent behaviour”*, this is not respect. This behaviour may be domestic abuse. Domestic abuse can happen to anyone by anyone, regardless of their gender, sexual orientation or age, and can happen in different ways.

Physical abuse

It is not okay when someone physically hurts you, for example by hitting, pinning you down or pinching.

Emotional abuse

Abuse is not only physical, it can be emotional too. Emotional abuse is when someone uses emotions to control another, and it can make them feel less confident or scared. Some of the warning signs include name-calling, shouting, blackmail, or being blamed when something goes wrong. Sometimes you and your partner may disagree which is normal, but you should not constantly feel upset in your relationship. Healthy relationships consist of trust and support.


Being forced to change your behaviour is abusive and can include being told what to wear, that you cannot speak to friends or family, or that you cannot study. Sometimes it is good to spend time with your friends apart from your partner. Control can also happen through technology. If your partner listens to your phone calls without permission, monitors your social media profiles or shows an intimate picture of you to other people without your consent, these can be abusive acts.

Remember that if you experience abuse it is not your fault. If you feel unsafe or notice any of the warning signs, you should contact

Additional Support

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