Maintaining a Healthy Relationship as a Parent

Being in a relationship whilst you or your partner are pregnant or when you have children can be complicated - knowing you're in an unhealthy relationship can be tougher. We're here to help.

How do I know if I am in a healthy relationship?

Relationships can be complicated – having a baby can make you and your partner closer but can also add a lot of strain. It’s important to make sure you are in a healthy relationship before planning a pregnancy.

Knowing when your relationship is unhealthy can be difficult, we’re here to help.

  • Do you both want to be in the relationship?
  • Are you both equals? Do you respect each other?
  • Do you trust each other?
  • Do you feel safe with each other?

If the answer to all these questions is yes, then it sounds like you’re onto a winner. A healthy relationship means being with someone you really like and respect and who really likes and respects you.

Five Qualities of a Healthy Relationship

All relationships are different but there are certain qualities that are important if you want to have a really good relationship

  • Respect - It’s important to value the other person’s opinions and feelings.
  • Trust - Being reliable is important in relationships, if you can’t trust someone this leaves you feeling unhappy and worried.
  • Communication - This is the key to all good relationships. If you don’t talk often and honestly then it is easy to misunderstand each other.
  • Support - Good relationships aren't just about having a laugh when everything is going great. Life can throw up some real challenges- good relationships are ones that help you through the hard times.
  • Equality - Relationships are all about give and take. It’s important to learn to compromise because it someone gets their way all the time there could be trouble.

An unhealthy relationship is one where someone is mean, controlling or abusive.

Most relationships have good points and bad points, no relationship is perfect and most are able to survive that first argument or disagreement. Relationships are supposed to be fun but you should also be able to rely on that person if the going gets tough.

What is an unhealthy relationship?

An unhealthy relationship is one where someone is mean, controlling or abusive. People can be abused in a number of different ways- both men and women can either be abused or be the abusers. 

An unhealthy relationship can involve:

  • Physical Abuse - Being hurt in a physical way such as being hit or slapped.
  • Emotional Abuse - Someone putting you down all the time, calling you names and trying to control everything you do. 
  • Sexual Abuse - Making you do sexual things that you don’t want to do.
  • Intimidation - Doing things that make you afraid like sending mean text messages or threatening to hit you.
  • Manipulation - Using things like guilt or jealousy to try to control you or do things you don’t really want to do.
  • Isolation - Not being allowed to see other people, or controlling who you talk to.
  • Lack of Communication - this could be by keeping secrets or just not being willing to talk about things that are going on.

It might be tempting to explain away violence, anger or controlling behavior as a sign of love. If it doesn't happen all the time then it might be easy to just put up with it. Abuse like this is always wrong. You have the right to be safe, to be treated with respect and kindness. 

What if we have a child together?

Having children can complicate a relationship and add extra strain. Sometimes we just need some time alone or a date night together to get things back on track. If you think your relationship is worse than this and is unhealthy, it’s important to tell someone.

Speak to your family nurse, a trusted friend or call Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0800 027 1234.

Families can come in all shapes and sizes and sometimes a relationship doesn’t work out. Read our article in co-parenting for advice on how to bring up your children together whilst living separately.

You and your children have the right to be safe, to be treated with respect and kindness.  

Visit CSE: The Signs for more information on telling healthy relationships from unhealthy ones.

Head back to the Ping Campaign page.