Close-up of a two friends hands with a thumb and fingers of each hand making the shape of a heart.

As you get older, it is normal for you to become more independent from your family and develop closer relationships with your friends.

In some cases, a friendship can develop into a romantic relationship where you can find a special emotional connection that can be physical or sexual.

Relationships can be amazing when they are healthy however if they become unhealthy, they can be complicated and stressful.

So how do you know if a relationship is healthy?

Healthy relationships, whether with a friend or romantic partner, are based on equity, respect and communication. In a healthy relationship, everyone is respected and feels confident expressing themselves, or saying no to something they don’t agree with, without fear of being judged or ignored.

If someone regularly teases you and pressures you into doing things you’re not comfortable with, it shows a lack of respect and it could be a sign of an unhealthy relationship.

It is important for both people to be treated as equal partners so that you can co-operate and compromise in a balanced way.

Controlling behaviour

In a romantic partnership, if someone tries to control you or your relationship – for example, by making all the decisions or sending loads of texts to check up on you, that’s a red flag. In an unhealthy relationship, disagreements may be met with silence or one person may try to pressure, bully or belittle the other.

On the flip side, when a relationship is healthy, you will feel free to say what you mean and mean what you say. Of course, that doesn’t mean that you’ll never have disagreements! It’s very natural to have arguments in a healthy relationship – the key is to discuss your issues openly, listen to each other and find a solution.

The bottom line is that in a healthy relationship you will feel good about the bond between you and your partner and content in the relationship you have built together.

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