February not only celebrates Valentine’s Day, it also recognizes Relationship Wellness Month, and Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. Healthy relationships are part of romance, but also family, friendships, colleagues and more. There is no single definition of what a healthy relationship is for everyone – we are all different – but there are ways to assess a situation for yourself or someone you know.
What is a Healthy Relationship?
It can look different for us all, and relationships can be complicated and challenging. Difficulty or discomfort are not necessarily unhealthy. However, a healthy relationship – no matter its form – should consider the same core fundamentals.
The Fundamental 5 As
Making and accepting ways to connect and give each other ATTENTION is one of the core components of a healthy relationship.
ACCEPTANCE means understanding and respecting each other’s strengths, “flaws”, beliefs, values, opinions… even if they differ between you.
Gratitude and APPRECIATION in all forms can keep you in tune and involved with the other person’s life. It should be conscious but easy effort.
When it comes to AFFECTION, everyone has their own ways (sometimes referred to as “love languages“) this can be comfortably expressed and received.
Last and never least, there should be ALLOWING of each person to be their authentic selves. Their own unique person, only further strengthened by a healthy relationship. Check out our podcast to hear a bit more about it:
PLEASE NOTE: The quiz is a great place to start, but to continue your journey, we hope you find these (local) resources helpful:
Assaulted Women’s Helpline: (416)863-0511 and 1-866-863-7868
Text #SAFE (#7233)
Kids Helpline: (416) 586-5437 and 1-800-668-6868
Covenant House: 416-598-4898 and 1-800-435-7308
The 519 Centre: 416-392-6874
Toronto Rape Crisis Centre: 416-597-8808
Distress Centre Toronto: 416-408-4357
Different Types of Relationships
Recognizing that relationships come in all forms is important to be aware of as you navigate what is healthy for you. Healthy relationships should be part of your everyday interactions, and something you’re able to asses with anyone with whom you share a connection.
- Romantic (monogamy, open, polygamy, asexual, casual, sexual, experimental etc.)
The work you owe yourself is establishing what healthy means to you. What’s important to you. What makes you feel like you have their Attention, Acceptance, Appreciation, Affection and Allowing… in whatever form is appropriate for any given relationship.
You also need to consider how healthy your relationship with self is. Check out our podcast to hear a bit more on this too:
Youth in Healthy Relationships
Teens and young adults face a bit of an unprecedented challenge as they navigate healthy relationships. Their life experience – with social media, online dating, mobile phones/cameras etc – is something with which their parents or teachers would not necessarily have first-hand experience at the same age in their lives.
However, youth have access to more information and support than ever, and if you are a parent or guardian of teens, you do too. However, it’s important to access information with a careful and critical eye. To get started, check out loveisrespect.org for some simple resources like their Love Like That Action Guide.
Youth in Healthy Relationships Playlist
You can also check out this great session, sharing information about the realities of human trafficking and how to look out for things that are not what they seem. We encourage youth, frontline workers, community groups, advocates, educators, parents, healthcare workers and more to REGISTER.