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HealthInfo Canterbury

Relationships in youth & teens

teen relationshipsRelationships are a part of being human. We all have them – with our families, friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, and partners. We can learn a lot about ourselves through our relationships.

This page is mostly about intimate or close relationships with another person, and it doesn't have to mean a sexual relationship.

When you are in a healthy relationship you will feel safe, respected and cared for by the other person. You feel good when you are with them and comfortable to be yourself. They listen to you. If you're in a sexual relationship, you don't feel pressure at any time to have sex, and you feel respected. You can take this simple quiz to test the health of your relationship.

Unhealthy relationships

Sometimes it can be difficult to see the signs of an unhealthy relationship when you are in one. But if a relationship is unhealthy you may not feel good about yourself, you might feel scared, controlled or put down by the other person. Try using this interactive power and control wheel to find out more about different forms of abuse. And this pamphlet has information about relationship abuse.


It's pretty usual to experience your first heartbreak during your teens or early 20s. Breakups can be incredibly difficult, especially so if you have had extra challenges in your own family growing up.

When a breakup happens the pain you feel might be like nothing you've ever experienced before. It can feel unbearable. It's important to remember that the pain will get better with time and you will get to feel OK again.

Grief is a normal process and we all go through it. But if you're finding it really hard to get through it's a good idea to talk to your doctor or another health professional.

Supporting friends

You may also find yourself supporting friends who are going through difficult life and relationship stuff, and want to know how you can support them. (This site is Australian so the numbers won't work in New Zealand). Sexual assault for youth and teens also has information about how to support a friend.

Phone and email helplines

Sometimes it can be easier to talk anonymously and the free phone lines can be a good start.

0800 What's Up

Freephone: 0800‑942‑8787

Monday to Friday, 12 noon to 11 pm

Weekends 3 pm to 11 pm

You can also read all about relationships and chat to a counsellor online.


Freephone 0800‑376-633 (any time) or free txt 234 to speak to a counsellor.

Email any time. Counsellors aim to respond to emails within 24 hours, so if you need help immediately it's better to phone, txt, or use the online chat.

You can also read about relationships and what a healthy relationship looks like. Also phone, text and chat to a counsellor online.

  HealthInfo recommends the following pages

Information about sexual relationships and consent

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed October 2016. Last updated January 2019.


See also:

Anger in youth & teens


Emotional & physical abuse

Grief information for youth & teens

Page reference: 53186

Review key: HIREL-53186