When you’re all loved up or have big time feels for someone, it can be hard to see whether your relationship is a good one or not. Don’t worry, it’s good to ask ‘how is my relationship’ from time to time. Hopefully this relationships graph will help.
For more general advice on how to do relationships read the Brief Guide to Relationships
Loads of people I’ve worked with have filled this out for themselves or with their partner to give themselves a relationship check up. Young people and adults have told me that it’s a useful way for them to see what their relationship needs work on.
Rate each category from 0 – 9 and then connect the dots. I guess the bigger the shape in the middle then the more healthy the relationship? For example
The how is my relationship graph
So here it is. If you draw on your computer/phone screen please use a water based felt tip. Or do it on a bit of paper yeah? If you aren’t sure what each category means I’ve put a little guide below the graph. As you can see, since I first wrote this article I’ve written a few more. Have a click around the relationships section to learn more about how to do relationships.
These categories are just suggestions. You might not be in a sexual relationship, it might be an asexual romantic relationship, or a friendship. Have a think about what’s important to you in a relationship. What do you want and why?
Do you trust each other? Do you trust that you aren’t going to deliberately hurt each other, are going to do the right thing about safer sex, that you are each others main squeeze?
Is there pressure to go beyond each others relationships limits? (To go beyond sexual limits, or limits around how committed you want to be, or the future of the relationship).
Read more about negotiating relationships
Do you both feel safe from physical or emotional harm from each other? Do you try to look after each other? Have you found anything scary? Are you able to say if you are scared about doing something? Are you giving each other enough information and options about doing things?
Is the relationship fair? Do you both share the good and bad? Do you stick to the same rules in your relationship or is one rule different for one person and different for another? Is there a power imbalance in your relationship – eg one person has more money, or space, or has more rights generally? How do you manage that?
Read more about power in relationships.
Feel the same?
Are you on the same page about the relationship? Do you agree on what the relationship is? Friends, friends who have sex, casual relationship, dating, going out, boy / girl / them friend, partners?
Are you both able to do your own thing too? To have your own mates/family time, your own career plan, own hobbies, have time on your own, you can make your own decisions about you and your health. Does your partner get eggy* if you put mates before dates?
*90s term for ‘mardy’ or ‘upset’. Hey I like it and I’m old.
This is an old fashioned word used like people like me to say ‘they’re hot.’ How much do you fancy your partner? If your relationship isn’t about that you can replace this with something else like ‘chemistry’ or ‘vibe’.
Think about the beauty standard and what culture tells us is attractive. What about who you’re attracted to?
Good sexy times
Are you doing the sexy stuff that you want? Do you both get good sexual pleasure from each other? Do you feel you can talk to each other about making the sexy stuff feel good (within your limits of what you want to do)?
Do you have good times together? What about doing nice things for each other, going out (even if you are both skint). Do you both want romance? If so do you get and give this?
How to be romantic (this counts for friends too)
Do you support each other? Are you there for each other if you need some support? Are you good to each other. Do you try to make each other feel happy?
Do you both feel you are listened to? Do you just shout, get angry, wheedle away, or criticise. Or can you talk, reason and share your thoughts calmly too?
Can you be honest with each other? About how you feel about each other and other stuff. What level of honesty is okay with you both? Are you able to be honest about that?!
After reading all this and doing the graph some of you might find that your relationships are not that great, or even abusive. If so check out my guide to abusive relationships, with some advice on what to do if you’re in one.
If you want to be an expert sex educator with your friends (like that kid in Sex Education) try doing my course Teach Yourself Sex Ed. I guarantee that you will find it interesting, challenging, and way better than anything you learnt in school. It’s free, give it a go.
If you’re a teacher and you want to teach about relationships try my Love, Innit resource pack, it has a version of this that you can print.
Comment below if you like. I moderate all comments before they appear, so don’t be cheeky!
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© Justin Hancock, 2023
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Justin Hancock has been a trained sex and relationships educator since 1999. In that time he’s taught and given advice about sex and relationships with thousands of young people in person and millions online. He’s a member of the World Association for Sexual Health.