Falling in love is an exciting and special time. Things can move pretty fast and it is easy to get swept off your feet. Relationships can also be confusing. So, it is important to know the difference between a healthy, and unhealthy, relationship.

Healthy relationship

No two relationships are the same. But, healthy relationships share some important characteristics.

Be yourself

You should feel that you can be yourself around your partner and you shouldn’t have to act in a certain way to impress them. Your partner shouldn’t pressure you to change parts of yourself or act differently.

It is also important to have a life outside of the relationship. You should never have to compromise your identity, or other relationships, for your partner.

Mutual respect

You should both respect and value each other’s thoughts, opinions and boundaries.


You should communicate freely with each other and be able to express your thoughts, or concerns, openly and honestly. You should feel you are listened to and understood.


While all relationships will have the occasional disagreement, for the most part spending time together should be enjoyable and being with your partner should make you feel happy.


In any healthy relationship there is always a certain degree of compromise from both sides. When a disagreement arises you both must be willing to listen to each other’s sides and be flexible.


You should be able to confide in your partner when going through tough times. Your partner should be your biggest cheerleader and support you in your decisions.


Trust is the cornerstone of any relationship. You should be able to completely trust your partner and not fear that they will break promises or agreements.

Healthy sexual relationship

Deciding if, and when, to have sex with your partner is an important decision. You should never feel pressured into making such a decision. If you aren’t ready, that is completely normal, and your partner should respect that. It is your choice when you consent to having sex.

Sex in a healthy relationship should be enjoyable for both of you. You should be able to talk openly with your partner and not feel pressure to do anything you are not comfortable with.


Do you recognise these traits in your own relationship? Are you are worried that your relationship is unhealthy? Find out more about domestic violence.

Domestic abuse services are available to women of all ages. Find out more

Learn more

Check out Spunout for more information and useful resources on healthy relationships.