Relationship Spectrum

All relationships exist on a spectrum from healthy to abusive with unhealthy somewhere in the middle. The following information was adapted from (1).

Healthy relationships are based on equality and respect.

Healthy Relationships

You make decisions together and can openly discuss whatever you’re dealing with, like relationship problems and sexual choices. You enjoy spending time together but can be happy apart.


Unhealthy relationships are based on attempts to control the other person.

Unhealthy Relationships

One person tries to make most of the decisions. They may pressure their partner about sex or refuse to see how their actions can hurt. In an unhealthy relationship, you feel like you should only spend time with your partner.

Abusive relationships are based on an imbalance of power and control.

Abusive Relationship

One person is making all of the decisions — about sexual choices, friend groups, boundaries, even what’s true and what’s not. You spend all of your time together and feel like you can’t talk to other people, especially about what’s really happening in your relationship.


To determine how your relationship falls on the relationship spectrum go here or click here to download a pdf.


  1. The Relationship Spectrum project was supported by Grant Number 90EV0426 from the Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Family and Youth Services Bureau, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Accessed at on April 11, 2018.