THE RELATIONSHIP SPECTRUM
Relationships can range from healthy to abusive, and some relationships may be
unhealthy, but not abusive. Here’s a breakdown of the relationship spectrum:
A Healthy An Unhealthy An Abusive
Relationship Relationship Relationship
A healthy relationship means that An unhealthy relationship starts An abusive relationship starts
both you and your partner are… when just one of you… when just one of you…
1) Communicating 1) Not communicating 1) Communicates abusively
You talk openly about problems Problems are not talked about at During disagreements there is
without shouting or yelling. You all. You don’t listen to each other screaming, cursing, or
listen to one another, hear each or try to compromise. threatening, or these things
other out, respect each other’s 2) Disrespectful happen even when there is no
opinions, and are willing to One or both partners are argument. A partner is demeaning
compromise. inconsiderate toward the other. or insulting toward the other.
2) Respectful One or both partners don’t treat 2) Is disrespectful through
You value each other as you are. each other in a way that shows abuse
Culture, beliefs, opinions and they care. A partner intentionally and
boundaries are valued. You treat 3) Not trusting continuously disregards your
each other in a way that There is suspicion that your feelings and physical safety.
demonstrates the high esteem you partner is doing things behind 3) Falsely accuses the other
hold for one another. your back, or your partner is of flirting or cheating
3) Trusting suspicious of your loyalty without A partner suspects flirting or
You both trust each other, and the any reason. cheating without reason and
trust has been earned. 4) Dishonest accuses the other, often harming
4) Honest One or both partners are telling their partner verbally or
You are both honest with each lies to each other. physically as a result.
other but can still choose to keep 5) Trying to take control 4) Doesn’t take
certain things private. For One or both partners sees their responsibility for the
example, you both know that it is desires or decisions as more abuse
important to be honest about important. One partner is or both The violent or verbally abusive
things that affect or involve the partners are focused only on partner denies or minimizes their
relationship and still know that it getting their own way. actions. They try to blame the
is also o.k. to keep certain things 6) Feeling smothered or other for the harm they’re doing.
private. forgetting to spend time 5) Controls the other
5) Equal with others partner
You make decisions together and So much time is spent together There is no equality in the
you hold each other to the same that one partner is beginning to relationship. What one partner
standards. feel uncomfortable. Or says goes, and if the other partner
6) Enjoy Personal Space sometimes both partners spend tries to change this there is
You both enjoy spending time so much time together that they increased abuse.
apart and respect when one of you ignore friends, family or other 6) Isolates the other partner
voices a need for space. things that used to be important One partner controls where the
to them. other one goes, who the other
partner sees and talks to. The
other partner has no personal
space and is often isolated from
other people altogether.
INSTRUCTIONS: Give an example from real life or make up a story
about a couple in one of these relationships and include all 6 of the traits.
SAMPLE STORY FROM THE RELATIONSHIP SPECTRUM
My friends, Sam and Marie, have a very healthy relationship. First of all, they
have good communication with each other. They talk openly about any problems that
come up without shouting or yelling. Sam and Marie always seem to be listening to each
other and respect each others’ opinions. When they have a difference of opinion, I have
seen how they negotiate and are willing to compromise on important decisions that have
to be made.
Secondly, they both trust each other because they are loyal to each other and
never stray. They both know how important it is to be honest about their feelings.
There is another important thing that Sam and Marie do together and this proves their
relationship is a healthy one. They both enjoy spending time apart and feel secure about
their partner’s need for personal space.