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Tips for Healthy Relationships and Intimacy

Individuals with an FASD are often victimized at a higher rate than their peers. This can mean being harmed emotionally, physically, financially or mentally.*

Why is this?


  • Issues with impulse control can put them in high-risk situations
  • It may be difficult to understand social cues
  • They may “settle” for people who are not positive influences because they have a difficult time making friends
  • It may be difficult to understand the complexities of relationships, such as the difference between a friend and a romantic partner
  • They may trust others shortly after meeting them

Tips for healthy relationships and intimacy

  • Establish trust with others before “jumping in” to relationships. This means learning about them, their family, their history, and their lifestyle
  • Ask others to help clarify relationships (Ex. Are we in a romantic relationship or are we just friends?)
  • Assess the situation. Determine if a relationship is healthy.
    • Ensure that there is equality in the relationship
      • Both people make decisions about activities
      • You are similar in age
      • Both people pay for themselves or take turns
      • Both people listen and value each other’s opinion
    • Make sure both parties set healthy boundaries, meaning you can have other friends, other interests and privacy
  • Be sure that both parties use consent during intimate (physical) relationships. Consent means a person asks permission before touching, kissing, having sex and the other answers with an enthusiastic “yes.”
  • Use reliable birth control and condoms. Many young women with an FASD choose an IUD or implant instead of “the pill” because it can be hard to remember to take them consistently.
  • Avoid internet relationships in which you do not know if the person is who they say they are- this includes avoiding sending nude or provocative photos
  • Avoid using substances that may impair your judgment and put you in risky situations

View sources

1 Victimization in People with FASD a Krystal Glowatski, MA, and b,cMichelle Stewart, PhD aSimon Fraser University; b University of Regina; c Canada FASD Research Network