Most relationships we see in the media do not model how to treat each other with care and respect. In addition, most people in the U.S. never received comprehensive sexuality education, let alone education on healthy relationships. To compound this issue, we also know that people with disabilities are much less likely than their peers to access this information.
Learning about how to build and maintain different types of relationships is vital to our everyday lives. This includes relationships with friends, family members, acquaintances, dating, coworkers, and helping professionals. People with disabilities have added obstacles to building relationships and dating, and often feel isolated as a result.
But everyone has the right to engage in healthy relationships and to seek connections with others. It is important to remember that every relationship looks different, and that is okay! For a relationship to be Healthy, however, there are important ingredients you need. Some of those ingredients are:
- Speaking with respect
- Showing care for each other
- Respecting your boundaries
Unhealthy relationships can also look different to individual people, and what might feel unhealthy to you may not necessarily feel unhealthy to someone else. That said, there are some common ingredients, such as:
- Lying or withholding important information
- Telling you what you can and cannot do with your body, money, and time
- Blaming and threatening you
- Pressuring you to do things