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Fact Sheet

Assessing a relationship

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Figuring out what’s best for you

We have lots of different relationships in our lives with our friends, family, teachers, doctor, classmates and people we work with, as well as boyfriends and girlfriends. Sometimes relationships work well and are easy going, and other times they can be hard and you might wonder if they’re worth it.

Most relationships have difficult times, and during these times, you might feel like avoiding the other person in the relationship, or you might want to reassess the relationship all together.

Reassessing the relationship

In reassessing a relationship with another person, you might want to consider some of the following questions.

Are you getting what you want from the relationship?

If being in the relationship isn’t making you or the other person satisfied it might be worth reconsidering how much time you spend with that person. You should also consider what you want from the relationship. Check out the Do I want a relationship? fact sheet for more information.

Are you willing to compromise?

When you disagree, argue or are fighting with someone, you might find it hard to listen to his or her point of view. To maintain a relationship you may both need to:

  • Agree to disagree;
  • Walk away and take time out;
  • Compromise;
  • Keep talking about what is important to you, and listen to what is important to the other person;
  • Respect yourself and the other person;
  • Think about what is fair;
  • Remember that having different opinions and ideas is ok.  Avoiding conflict is not necessarily healthy.  Resolving disagreements in a respectful way can be a sign of a healthy relationship.

How significant is the person to you?

If this person means a lot to you, it’s probably worth putting effort into maintaining the relationship. You might have relationships where you feel you have limited choices. These relationships may be with a teacher, employer, co-worker or family member. It’s also not uncommon to be in a relationship with someone you do not like. You might not like the person because:

  • You have a personality clash;
  • He or she has done something you don’t like;
  • You don’t agree with his or her decisions or rules;
  • He or she is abusive. If this is the case, you might want to check out the Abusive relationships fact sheet for more information.

It’s not ok to be abusive. If you are experiencing violence, you might want to talk to someone you trust, like a friend, family member or counselor. See the Get Help section for more information.

How often do you have to see the other person in the relationship?

If you are fighting with a teacher or parent, chances are you are going to have to see that person regularly. This can make it difficult to change the relationship, and you might have to compromise on some things for the time being.

Are you safe?

In some cases you might feel threatened in a relationship or fear for your safety. If you don’t feel safe with someone, avoid situations where you are alone with that person. Make a safety plan for yourself by:

  • Letting people know where you are and who you are with;
  • Telling friends, family and people you trust about your relationship, and asking them to help protect you by being around when the abusive person is there;
  • Listening to your feelings, and leaving a place as soon as you feel unsafe;
  • Keeping a phone and transport money with you when you’re away from home, or arranging for someone to pick you up;
  • Having someone with you or close by when you end the relationship;
  • Talking to someone about what you can do to legally protect yourself.

Your local police can advise you on steps you can take to protect yourself. See the fact sheet on Assessing your safety fact sheet for more information. You can also contact the Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network (RAINN) for assistance 1-800-656-4673.

Resolving problems

If you feel that a relationship is worth maintaining, you might need to be clear about what problems you are having and try to find solutions with the other person in the relationship.

Before talking to the other person you may want to:

  • Write down a list of your concerns;
  • Consider talking to someone who isn’t involved in the situation-this outsider can provide a different perspective and help you sort things out for yourself;
  • Think about what you are willing to compromise;
  • Think of a time and space where you can talk about your relationship calmly.


Where to Next?



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