Dating & Relationships

How to Know If I'm in a Respectful Relationship

03.05.2022

By Avril Louise Clarke, Clinical Sexologist, Education & Community Relations Manager

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Welcome to TPC Dating and Relationships, a column in which we will give advice and information on relationships, sex, consent and more. No question is off limits. 

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It’s true that relationships are not easy. They require work and hard conversations, but there is a difference between being in a healthy relationship or respectful relationship versus being in a disrespectful or unhealthy relationship. When in a relationship - whether it is your first or not, we can feel wrapped up in emotions! It's helpful to check in and see if our relationship is one that makes us feel good and respected. So, how do we know the difference and define if our relationships are respectful or not?

A healthy or respectful relationship is one that is defined by:

  • respect 

  • equality 

  • trust 

  • positive communication 

  • honesty 

  • support 

  • physical and emotional safety.

Ask yourself: How does my current relationship reflect these values?


A disrespectful or unhealthy relationship feels quite the opposite. It is often defined by: 

  • power and control 

  • physical, emotional or sexual abuse 

  • digital abuse

  • unpredictable behaviours 

  • humiliation 

  • fear

Ask yourself: Have I ever experienced these in my current relationship?

Even respectful relationships aren’t always perfect, it’s common to have moments of disagreements. The difference is that in a respectful relationship we use positive communication (e.g., no name calling, asking clarifying questions to understand our partners perspective, etc.) to work things through. In any kind of relationship it’s important to treat each other with respect and care.

A respectful relationship should make you feel good about yourself, make you feel confident, respected and accepted for who you are. A disrespectful relationship makes you feel self-conscious, confused, anxious, and sometimes unsafe both online and offline. The most important thing to remember is that everyone has the right to be safe. Leaving a disrespectful relationship can be a scary experience, but having a trusted adult to speak to in these moments can help you through it.

Visit the global NO MORE Directory to find resources near you that can help you navigate getting out of an abusive relationship safely, no matter where in the world you are located.

Have any other questions on respectful relationships for us? Let’s keep the conversation going by sending us a message here