What isn’t a healthy relationship?

Power and control play a huge role in unhealthy relationships.

If you feel like your partner…

  • Blames you for their bad behavior or a bad day
  • Is insecure or doesn’t trust you
  • Keeps you away from others including your friends, family or work
  • Yells at you and puts you down
  • Makes you feel unsafe or scared
  • Doesn’t allow you to be yourself or do things that you enjoy
  • Won’t stop touching you even when you don’t want them to
  • Threatens to hurt themselves or others if they don’t get their way

If your partner or friend does any of these things you are in an unhealthy relationship. These are signs of abuse.

Always remember that people are responsible for their own actions and how they react to things. Never blame yourself for your partner’s behavior. There are many other ways to deal with frustrating or bad situations that do not involve violence or abuse.

It is not your fault if your partner physically, emotionally, financially or sexually abused you, that was their choice and is their fault.

Relationships are hard but worth it! Everyone can work at being more respectful and a better partner or friend. The most important things to remember is that healthy relationships have trust, communication, respect, boundaries, and companionship (love).

Remember to always get consent, give your partner space when they need it and seek help if you are hurting someone or feel unsafe. Fear of your partner is never part of a healthy relationship.

What is a healthy relationship?

There are many types of relationships. Relationships exist between families, friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, partners, bosses, teachers, etc. They can be defined in different ways. However, there are some key things a relationship needs in order for it to be a healthy one.

  • Trust
  • Communication
  • Respect
  • Boundaries
  • Companionship

Here are 5 things healthy relationships must have:


You trust each other. This does not mean that you never feel jealous, but that you do not feel suspicious about your partner’s intentions, actions or feelings.

  • Your partner can talk to whoever they want.
  • You don’t think your partner is cheating on you.
  • You feel emotionally and physically safe with this person.
  • You know when you tell them things they will not share them with others.
  • Respect each other’s privacy: You don’t go through your partner’s phone, email/mail, journals or personal items to find out things.


You openly talk about your concerns and listen to what the other person has to say before responding to them.

  • You are upfront but not hurtful. No one is a mind reader and hints can be misunderstood.
  • You find solutions together. Compromise on issues that mean a lot to them and a little to you. If you need to compromise too much this might be something you need to talk about.
  • You share and support each other.
  • You are a good listener. You really hear what your partner is saying. What they are telling you. If you are confused, ask for help to understand.
  • Know when they are uncomfortable or upset. Respect their feelings and give them time to work things out.


You respect each other as individuals and as human beings. Embrace your differences and don’t criticize the other because they have different interests. You are both free to make choices about your own lives. You should consider the other person’s feelings when making decisions.

  • You talk about things you disagree on but in the end (as long as they are not hurting others) you can choose to agree to disagree.
  • You respect your partner’s choices and trust that your partner will make the right choice or has good reasons for not doing what you want or expect them to do.
  • They do not cheat on you and are honest.
  • You cannot have a healthy relationship if you do not respect the other person. Freedom to choose is what makes love meaningful.


You behave in ways that you both are comfortable with and agree upon. Healthy relationships need boundaries and it’s okay to be apart sometimes in order to spend time with friends and family. You are two separate people who love each other and bring different things to the table.

  • You can talk to and spend time with other people without fear of your partner.
  • You take care of yourself and do things that you enjoy. Have hobbies. You and your partner might not always like the same things. That’s okay and healthy.
  • You always get consent! A healthy relationship cannot exist without consent, given freely with no strings attached. Everyone involved is conscious and able to say yes or no.
  • Healthy ways of showing love will make you feel supported, equal and safe. Fear is never love.


You have some things in common and you enjoy spending time together doing a variety of activities. You share a bond that makes your relationship different than your other forms of relationships. This may include sharing private thoughts, hopes & dreams, or sexual activity.

  • You share similar likes & respect their differences.
  • You love them for who they are and not for who you want them to be… they, in turn, feel the same.
  • If you can’t be yourself around the person that is a red flag. This maybe is not the right person for you.
  • You genuinely like that the other person has their own style and life.

Article provided by the Yellowknife Victim Services Program and Status of Women Council of the NWT