Safe Dating

"Provide for and take good care of your family" -Bristol Bay Yu'pik Traditional Value

couple smiling and looking at one another with a metal heart artwork hanging behind them on a red wall 

If you or someone you know are experiencing signs of an unhealthy relationship, take the healthy relationship quiz here (we like the one at or read about what a healthy relationship is further down.

Casual fling or serious romance--these rules apply!

Less than half (38%) of all high school students have ever had sex.*

In a healthy relationship:

  • Both people should feel good about themselves and each other.
  • Both people should be able to spend time alone, as a couple, as a couple in groups, and apart with their own friends.
  • Nobody should feel like they “lost” themselves to their relationship.
  • Both people should respect the other’s right to say no and change their mind.
  • Both people should encourage honesty and openness about thoughts, opinions, and feelings.
  • Arguing is normal in any relationship, but compromises should ultimately be reached.

Healthy relationships should have:

  • Communication This doesn't mean that each of you know where one another is 24/7. What it means is there are topics ranging from “how was school?” to talking about taking the next step in your relationship is done in a way that is open, without fear of the other person’s reaction, and done without manipulation. Men and women do speak the same language, but many of us make assumptions about what the other person means with their words when they are not clear. To avoid miscommunication, remember to ask questions! 
  • Trust All of us value trust as something we want in a relationship. Trust means that we have faith in our partners, we don’t try to control them, and that we believe that they will be faithful. Remember, a little jealousy is okay but if your boyfriend/girlfriend gets upset because you’re talking to a friend who is also a guy/girl, that’s not having trust in each other.
  • Respect
    Remember to have respect for your girlfriend/boyfriend! That looks like supporting their life decisions, letting them make their own decisions, not trying to change them, and giving them their privacy. Respect also means talking about your girlfriend/boyfriend in a positive way, not bringing them down. Most importantly, both of you are supporting each other in growing into better people. There are plenty of examples out there, but good rule to remember: if it would bother you, don’t do it to the person you’re dating!
  • Honesty
    You can’t have trust without honesty. If your boyfriend tells you he’s out helping his family fish but he was really out with his buddies all weekend, that’s gonna make it really hard to trust him next time around or even for different situations. Or if your girlfriend says she's out visiting her auntie and you find out later from her friends that they went out for the night. Even though your partner doesn't need to know where you are 24/7, lies don't have a place in healthy relationships. 
  • Compromise
    This can also be summed up as fairness or equality. Who gets to choose the dates? Or what movie to see or where to go eat? Remember it should be back and forth between both of you. If it doesn't feel fair, there's a good chance it isn't. Watch out, a relationship that doesn't have compromise can turn unhealthy quick. 
  • Individuality
    Dating another person has some great aspects, like doing things together. Healthy dating still means each person still has their own friends, hobbies, goals, favorite foods, their own time alone, and their own lives. Nobody should have to feel that they should give up activities they love, stop seeing their family or friends, or pretend to like something just because their girlfriend or boyfriend likes it. 
  • Problem solving
    We all have disagreements now and then, but not agreeing doesn't mean that it has to turn into a fight or be solved with violent actions or hurtful words. Remember to keep it focused on the problem, don’t bring up old problems, and work towards fixing the problem together. Remember, you are both on the same team. 
  • Anger control
    This goes hand in hand with problem solving. Anger doesn't solve anything and can hurt the relationship. Controlling your anger means not speaking or doing things because you’re angry or want to get even. Not controlling your anger is a sign that the relationship may be unhealthy. 
  • Understanding
    Part of being in a relationship is knowing that both of you are different people who work well together. Having understanding that the other person is not the same as you and will help stop miscommunicating or fights before they happen. 
  • Self-confidence
    You know the saying “You can’t love someone else until you love yourself?” Well, it’s true. Without self-confidence, a sign of a healthy relationship with yourself, you can’t have a healthy relationship with anyone else. Your girlfriend or boyfriend should also be supporting you in having self-confidence by being happy for your successes and never purposefully hurting your feelings.

If you feel that maybe you are not in a healthy relationship, read more about unhealthy relationships and abuse.

Or check out this quiz about unhealthy relationships (opens in a new window) then come read about Dating Violence & Domestic Violence.

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This article was informed by the following resources:

Photo copyrights:
Middle right: Brendan Smith/ANTHC

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