Power and Control vs. Equality

So why does anyone have relationships?! What do we need them for? Healthy relationships are important. Human interaction is a basic need. Having a partner you can trust, communicate with, count on, laugh with, feel emotionally and physically safe with is what dating is all about. Sounds great, right?

A healthy, mutual and equitable relationship should include all of the things included in the “equality wheel” below. There might be more you expect from a partner that’s not listed here. I would add the right to privacy (including on your phone, Facebook and other social media), and DEFINITELY the right to make decisions about sex and other physical parts of a relationship. Consent should always be gained and never assumed even when you’re in a relationship. Lastly, I would include “nonviolence” meaning any form of violence (physical or sexual) is never acceptable.


Unhealthy relationships have elements of power and control in them. The “power and control wheel” below provides examples of different forms of power, control and abuse that might be present in an unhealthy relationship.


You can CLICK on either of these wheels if they’re difficult to see on your computer or device.

A good visual activity would be printing these wheels off and using a highlighter to identify which parts of each of these wheels are present in your relationship and comparing them!

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