10 signs of an unhealthy relationship as 60% of young adults can't spot one

Most young people don't know how to spot signs of an unhealthy relationship. (Getty Images)
Most young people don't know how to spot signs of an unhealthy relationship. (Getty Images) (Witthaya Prasongsin via Getty Images)

As many as six in 10 (60%) of young people don’t know how to spot the signs of an unhealthy relationship, a new survey has found.

In fact, 39% of 16 to 25-year-olds think intensive behaviour from a partner, such as love-bombing them, is a sign of a healthy relationship.

A further one in 10 (11%) think a partner who insists they don’t go to a party or spend time with friends is another sign of a healthy relationship when it isn’t, according to the study from education charity, Let Me Know (LMK).

"While the research findings are alarming, they emphasise the importance of young people understanding the signs of healthy and unhealthy relationships, and using this knowledge to keep themselves and their friends safe," Deirdre Kehoe, CEO of Let Me Know (LMK), says.

So, what are the signs of a healthy and unhealthy relationship? LMK has highlighted the key points from the framework developed by Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, below.

10 signs of an unhealthy relationship

  1. Intensity: When someone exhibits over-the-top behaviour or very extreme feelings that make you feel overwhelmed.

  2. Manipulation: When you feel as if your decisions, actions, or emotions are being controlled.

  3. Sabotage: If someone purposefully ruins your achievements, success, or reputation.

  4. Guilting: When someone makes you feel responsible for their actions and to keep them happy.

  5. Deflecting responsibility: If someone repeatedly makes excuses for their bad behaviour.

  6. Possessiveness: If someone is controlled who you spend time with and what you do.

  7. Belittling: When someone makes you feel bad about yourself or your achievements.

  8. Volatility: If someone has a strong, unpredictable reaction that leaves you confused, scared, or intimidated.

  9. Betrayal: If someone is intentionally dishonest.

  10. Isolation: When someone intentionally keeps you away from family or friends.

If you feel like these relate to your relationship and want some further advice, speak to a trusted friend, family member, or a professional. LMK has a list of charities you can contact here: lmkletmeknow.org/get-help.

couple in a happy relationship
A healthy relationship means you feel equal and can completely trust the other person. (Getty Images) (Westend61 via Getty Images)

On the other hand, there are several signs that the relationship you are in is a healthy one. These include feeling as if you are in an equal partnership, feeling trust in the relationship, and having respect for one another.

10 signs of a healthy relationship

  1. Boundaries: When each person feels comfortable setting limits and sharing preferences.

  2. Honesty: When you know you can be truthful and say what’s on your mind without fear of how the other person will respond.

  3. Respect: If you each value the other person’s opinions and beliefs.

  4. Kindness: If you are both caring and empathetic to one another and feel supported.

  5. Healthy conflict: This involves having respectful disagreements without judgement.

  6. Trust: When you are each confident that the other won’t do anything to sabotage the relationship.

  7. Independence: Having the space to be yourself and spend time with others outside of the relationship.

  8. Equality: When the relationship feels balanced and the same amount of effort is put in.

  9. Owning actions: When each person takes responsibility for their actions and apologises where necessary.

  10. Fun: You love spending time with each other and feel as if you bring out the best in one another.

To find out more about healthy and unhealthy relationships, and who you can contact if you would like to speak to someone, visit lmkletmeknow.org/unhealthy-relationships.

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