I. What are the qualities of healthy romantic relationships?

Sex and passion

Physical, spiritual, emotional and intellectual

Good love is best part of a healthy relationship


Being faithful

Both people are on the same page and expect the same things

Being in one relationship at a time

Being emotionally involved with one person while also being able to have social friends


Sticking with it, putting time into the relationship

Making sacrifices e.g., giving up other partners

Long lasting


Respecting the beliefs of the other person for e.g., about premarital sex

Asking permission to go and say hi to an old girlfriend

Respecting your partner’s parents

Boyfriend and father of your child respect each other

Sex Appeal




Not holding the truth back even if you know it might be hurtful

Being truthful

Honesty and courage is trust

Makes relationship more secure


Talking just the two of you



Spending a few minutes together everyday

Being non-judgmental and listening without finding fault

Asking another person to clarify what they mean

Dealing with problems as they arise

Knowing how the other person feels

Comfort and willing to talk about sex

Being able to talk and listen

Staying open during conflicts

Understanding how other person thinks and feels

Giving good feedback to your partner and not crossing signals

Good conversations


Being able to compromise; being able to meet in the middle


Not fearing the person; and being able to share interests;

Not hurting someone

Believing what they say

Sharing personal information

Sharing freely

Won’t take your emotions for granted

When give other person freedom to do what they want, have to trust them so you don’t feel insecure

Trusting other person with your emotions

Needed before you engage in physical intimacy



Not hiding your feelings and feeling you can be who you are

Accepting each other and each other’s family circumstances (eg blended families)


Can count on the other person as friend and a romantic partner

Being there during a bad time

Good person

Having a good job, good education and being responsible


Same motivations

Good chemistry

Shared rituals

Date nights even if you are married

Saying good morning, good night and good bye everyday

Kiss before a meal and foot rub


Being able to do things together but still be individuals

Recognizing each others strengths and weaknesses

Good hygiene


Knowing each other’s likes and dislikes

Being best of friends


II. What are the barriers to healthy romantic relationships?

Lack of time

Not enough priority time for the relationship

Not creating shared time together

Work- not enough time together because you are working too much

Not sharing ideas or time



Loss of love

Love becomes an obligation

Too much work

Lack of attraction

Making sacrifices for each other like giving up other partners


Lack of trust and telling lies

Being dishonest

Outside influences

Friends hurting the relationship

Gossip e.g., when people who are not in the relationship try to get in it

Parents don’t want children in relationships because of their age (too young) or partner’s race

Parents are judgmental about whether the other person is worthy of you

Parents want to know your business

Church – partner gets mad because don’t want to go to church

Peer pressure – getting into a relationship even though you don’t want to

Makes your partner feel insecure and affects your independence

Makes you resent the people who disapprove of you which makes you start doing things they disapprove of


Needing to be popular

Pressure to get married – societal expectations 

Lack of communication

Not saying what you feel

Non-shared assumptions e.g., when someone is expected home

Misinterpreting actions and responses

Keeping secrets

He says/she says


Not dealing with your own issues


Attraction - One is more into the relationship than the other

One person getting serious too soon

Not having your own identity

Lack of compromise

Being inflexible; being selfish

Love is one-sided


Straying away




Pressure to have sex – from your group


Pressure to not use birth control


Hard to let the partner have freedom without being jealous

Partner’s jealousy can make you angry and lead to arguments

Envy of other person’s grades or money

Feeling trapped by other person’s jealousy and anger

Constantly asking questions


Of being hurt (from past relationships or family; from being open)

Of giving too much and not being accepted

Not able to trust

Worry about children from other relationships

Not wanting to tell your man he has to clean up because you don’t want to be seen like his mother


If you are too big you don’t get to go out


Put-downs- telling someone you are stupid

Feeling you depend on someone too much

Hitting you, getting beat up

Being stalked

Partner being controlling – telling you what to do and how to do it


Partner takes your money

Not enough money to do things that are enjoyable

Different ideas about how to spend money

Not having enough money to live together

Partner too dependent on you for money

Partner not contributing

When only one of you have a car

Lack of employment

Medical hardship

Lack of respect


Drugs and alcohol

Gambling – stress finances and communication


Values about relationships, religion and money

Being at different maturity levels

Not standing up for yourself – being a pushover, giving in all the time

Allowing yourself to be pressured

Different needs for time alone and together

Not having good models of healthy relationships

Media influences expectations – expecting a knight in shining armor or a serial killer

Seeing so many people in bad relationships

Not knowing what you want from a good relationship


III. What can we do to support and promote healthy relationships?


Groups for students of all ages, encouraging friendship, citizenship and hospitality

Create a healthy relationship class in high school for credit

After-school programs on healthy relationships

More comprehensive sex education including how to unpack popular culture myths about sex, getting people comfortable to talk about sex, all methods of safe sex and involve parents in this

Assemblies and school summits

Peer group leaders doing groups on healthy relationships

Mediation by students for problem relationships


As a means for prevention

Make it available at work/school as a part of daily living

Relationship coaching


Premarital ministries and counseling




Advertising that promotes peer involvement – peers can pass out flyers themselves

Not just sex – respect!

Movie theatres to run short clips about healthy relationships before the show

Public service announcements


Peer produced radio programs (adult ideas uncool)

Portray different world views of relationships

Alternating gender roles

TV programs that show relationship problems worked out in a respectful and loving way

Websites on healthy relationships

Creating a healthy relationships board game

Media tech students at TCHS to create videos of healthy relationships with adult supervision

Chat room on healthy relationships

Teen created raps on healthy relationships

Hotline for relationship problems and advice

Community bulletin boards

Social events

Parties to get out information on healthy relationships

Free cultural events that demonstrate healthy relationships e.g., plays, movies, concerts

Social events like skating

Blood drive or other community service for couples to do together

Seek advice

From friends and family

College mentors

Mentor/buddy system to talk about romantic relationships, sex, emotional issues to inspire healthy relationships

Support groups

For women - Respecting yourself, your body, sharing your feelings

Mixed for men and women to improve communication

Parent-teen workshops to improve communication

Parent workshops teaching them to understand youth today

Workshops on ageism; gender roles

Relationship retreat aimed at improving relationships – should include discussion, experts in the field, workshops and social activities

Support group on creative ways to deal with break-ups or relationship loss

Learning to balance your own needs with your partners

Healthy couple activities

Regular “night-out”

National take your partner to lunch/dinner day

Public awards rewarding successful relationships

Improving what we know about healthy relationships

Community forums like this one in other communities

Survey teens and adults about how to have healthy relationships

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