Dating can be a very unpredictable experience. According to LoveisRespect.org, one out of three adolescents has experienced verbal, physical, emotional, or sexual abuse from a dating partner. There are several building blocks to healthy relationships:
Communicate. In a healthy relationship, if something is bothering you, you can tell your partner. It is safe to express your feelings, wants and needs and you know your partner will listen/respect what you have to say.
Compromise. Disagreements are a natural part of healthy relationships, but it’s important that you find a way to compromise if you disagree on something. Try to resolve conflicts in a fair and rational way. Meet each other half way.
Be Supportive. Offer reassurance and encouragement to your partner. Also, let your partner know when you need their support. Healthy relationships are about building each other up, not putting each other down.
Respect for Interdependence. Healthy relationships require space. Just because you’re in a relationship, doesn’t mean you have to share everything, think the same way, and/or constantly be together. It is healthy to see each other as separate from each other, but also connected. Healthy relationships leave room for each of you to go out with your friends without each other present. It is important to continue to participate in individual activities you enjoy. No need to share passwords to your email, social media or phone in trusting, respectful relationships.
Boundaries and Trust. By setting boundaries together, you can both have a deeper understanding of the type of relationship that you and your partner want. Creating boundaries is not a sign of secrecy or distrust, it’s an expression of what makes you feel comfortable and what you would like or not like to happen within the relationship. It helps to make sure you are both ‘on the same page.’
If you’ve ever been threatened by someone, pushed, shoved, grabbed, hit or sexually assaulted, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help:
The National Dating Abuse Helpline can offer immediate and confidential support. Call 1-866-331-9474, text "loveis" to 22522, or visit www.loveisrespect.org.
The world of technology allows us to share our experiences and advice with one another. On February 29, Break the Cycle will promote the hashtag #ChalkAboutLove. The goal is to show what love means to you through chalk art. Share your photos and videos by tagging @breakthecycleDV on Twitter. Break the Cycle is a national, non-profit organization that coordinates teen dating violence prevention education and public awareness campaigns, supports policies to promote safe and healthy relationships, and provides tools and training materials for teens, parents, and educators.
*Dating Abuse Statistics. February 22, 2016. http://www.loveisrespect.org/resources/dating-violence-statistics/