How can I stay safe?

Healthy and unhealthy relationships

Seguro no Namoro  

Having a boyfriend or girlfriend can be really exciting, but it can also be a bit frightening.
It is natural to have doubts about what could happen in the future and about the challenges for this new stage:

  • Does he or she really like me?
  • Will we be together forever?
  • Can I trust him or her?
  • What if he/she wants to start having sex? Shall I give in? How long should I wait?
  • What if I stop liking him/her? How can I tell him/her this?
  • How can we resolve conflicts and arguments?
  • What if I want to end the relationship?

Facing new challenges is part of life. However, this will be easier if we feel happy, safe, and if we are able to assess the situation properly before taking any decision.

The ideal would be to be able to discuss some of these issues with your boyfriend or girlfriend.  You could also talk to someone older and more experienced.

There is one important point: it is normal to have doubts. Equally important is trying to get answers for all your questions.

It is also important to be able to weigh up the "health" of our relationship. This can help us identify problems that may exist and then work on ways to solve them.

The things we can feel, see and hear when we experience healthy relationships are very different from the things we can feel, see and hear in an unhealthy relationship.


What sort of things do you see people do?

- laughing;
- having fun;
- doing things together but also separately;
- having their own interests;
- being happy;
- being independent;
- not always alone with the other person (they have a group of friends);
- they treat each other equally;
- they treat each other with respect.

What sort of things can you hear?

- laughs;
- positive and supportive comments;
- words of encouragement;
- praise.

How do people feel? 

- happy;
- confident;
- respected;
- independent;
- wanted;
- supported;
- listened to;
- satisfied in their personal interests and needs.

In healthy relationships there is:

  • RESPECT for each others' opinions.
  • TRUST in each other, that others will be by our side, even if they have opinions, behaviours or preferences different from ours.
  • SUPPORT, belief and mutual help.
  • SAFETY and sharing moments free of violence.
  • HONESTY and communication free of judgements, manipulations or accusations.
  • RESPONSABILIDADE e consciência pelos próprios comportamentos e atitudes.
  • RESPONSIBILITY and awareness for the behaviours and attitudes displayed.
  • PERSONAL FREEDOM, without invading the other's space or using any type of violence.
  • NEGOTIATION, joint search for solutions for the conflicts and disagreements and accepting different opinions.


What sort of things do you see people do?

- being frightened;
- being depressed;
- always arguing;
- unhappy;
- controlling;
- jealous;
- without other friends;
- excessively dependent on each other;
- doing everything together;
- personal interests are not fulfilled.

What sort of things can you hear?

- arguments;
- crying;
- insults;
- rage;
- complaints.

How do people feel? 

- empty;
- frightened;
- sad;
- hopeless;
- controlled;
- isolated;
- hurt;
- afraid.

In unhealthy relationships there is: Separador

  • POWER, CONTROL and INTIMIDATION through verbal and physical actions that make us feel frightened.
  • ISOLATION and control of our steps, activities and friendships.
  • NEGATION of the negative impact of the aggressive, intimidating or violent behaviour on ourselves.
  • THREATS against us, our possessions or our relatives.
  • Physical VIOLENCE and verbal, emotional, psychological, sexual and/or financial ABUSE.



Violence is an obstacle to the development of positive and healthy relationships.
If you think that violence is present in your relationship, search on Dating violence to get more information.