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Healthy and unhealthy relationships

What is love?

Different behaviours, situations or types of abuse are common in an unhealthy relationship. If you are worried, it is important to seek help.

What is an unhealthy relationship?

An unhealthy relationship is bad for you. It can be unhealthy in many ways. If you have to deal with any of the following situations in your relationship, it may be unhealthy.

  • You talk to someone else and your partner gets angry or jealous.
  • Your partner is constantly texting or calling to check where you are and who you are with.
  • Your partner is verbally aggressive or physically threatening.
  • Your partner calls you names, puts you down, makes you feel bad.
  • Your partner uses force, threats or bargains to make you do things you don’t want to do.
  • Your partner threatens to harm your family, whānau, friends, pets or property.
  • Your partner controls you and tells you what to do or how to behave.
  • You know they’re not the partner you want but you think you can change them.
  • You stay with them because it’s better than being alone.
  • Getting physical together is the most important thing.
  • They make the decisions about where to go and what to do.
  • You argue all the time.
  • They put you down and make fun of you.
  • You get embarrassed when you hang out in public.
  • You haven’t got time for anything or anyone else.
  • When you’re with their friends they ignore you or humiliate you.
  • You can’t talk about condoms or contraception.
  • They say bad things about your family.
  • They tell you what to do and what to wear.
  • They tell people bad things about you that aren’t true – like how and when you have sex.

If you’re in an unhealthy relationship, you can leave but you might need support from family and friends.

It might take you some time to get over your feeling but don’t give up on yourself. You are worth it so you can find a healthy relationship based on love.

What is relationship abuse?

Relationship abuse can be emotional, physical or sexual.

It is not just something adults do – young people can be abusers, and abused. It is not something that happens only once. It’s a cycle and it usually gets worse if nothing is done to stop it.

If you are being abused, it is not your fault. Abusers are responsible for their own behaviour.

Some examples of relationship abuse include:

Emotional abuse:

  • name calling
  • threatening
  • isolating from friends or family
  • controlling
  • extreme jealousy.

Physical abuse:

  • putting a person in danger
  • pushing, hitting or kicking
  • using a weapon or other object to harm.

Sexual abuse:

  • pressuring someone into having sex – this could include touching, kissing, fondling, or sex of any kind
  • being forced to pose for sexual pictures or to look at pornography
  • being “loaned out” for sex.

There are many more ways you can be abused in your relationship.

Who can help?

If you are in immediate danger call the police on 111. Remember you can call 111 from your mobile even if you have no credit.

If you are feeling unsafe or being abused in a relationship, the best thing for you to do is end it. This may be difficult and you will need support. Talk to someone you are comfortable with.

These organisations can also help:

  • Youthline: Free call 0800 376 633 or text 234 (24/7) 
  • Women’s Refuge: Free call 0800 REFUGE or 0800 733 843 (24/7)
  • Male Survivors Aotearoa - visit their website to find a local organisation that can help you.
  • Shine: Free call 0508 744 633 (24/7)
  • Shakti - for migrant and refugee women. Free call 0800 742 584 - 24/7
  • OutLine Aotearoa - for all-ages rainbow community. Free call 0800 688 5463 - 6pm-9pm daily
  • Stopping Violence Network - visit their website to find a local organisation that can help you. 

If you are behaving abusively in your relationship and want to change, with help you can. Call Stopping Violence Services 0800 4SVSSVS (0800 478 778).

Family Planning has clinics located throughout New Zealand. Use the clinic finder to find your nearest clinic.

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