Not all the relationships you write in your manuscripts will be relationships in turmoil. If your main character has finally “found the one” and you want them to have a healthy relationship (as they should), try to do some thinking before you dive right in. What makes a healthy relationship? Why is all that important, especially for YA readers?
I think there are too many “stalker” type relationships in YA novels lately, so we need more healthy relationships portrayed based on mutual respect. This is the job of the writer to figure out how their two characters should get along. It’s not good if a young reader believes that it’s true love if someone pressures them into dating them by NEVER LEAVING THEM ALONE. Their significant other should not make them feel uncomfortable. No one should ever feel guilty about not wanting to date another person. You shouldn’t feel guilty about not returning someone’s advances. No one should make you feel bad about not wanting someone or something.
But how do you write healthy relationships then? How should your characters act? I would say the same indicators that make real life relationships work should be the same for your characters—
There’s mutual respect. No one has ever pressured the other into doing something they didn’t want to do. They support each other’s goals and really think the other person is someone amazing. They listen to each other and take each other seriously. They pay attention to each other. They are inspired by each other and find inspiration or motivation in the other person. They are able to compromise with each other. THEY ARE INDEPENDENT PEOPLE ON THEIR OWN WITH THEIR OWN HOPES AND DREAMS. They do not add to the stress in each other’s lives. They have the ability to be their own people.
Keep these things in mind while you write and you’ll create an excellent respectful relationship between two characters. I think we need to see more of this in YA novels because healthy relationships are important.