Teen Dating

Is My Relationship Healthy?
Relationships exist on a spectrum: from healthy to unhealthy to abusive -- and everywhere in between. It can be hard to determine where your relationship falls, especially if you haven’t dated a lot. Explore this section to learn the basics of dating, healthy relationships, and drawing the line before abuse starts. 

In a healthy relationship:

  •  Your partner respects you and your individuality.

  •  You are both open and honest.

  •  Your partner supports you and your choices even when he/she disagrees with you.

  •  Both of you have equal say and respected boundaries.

  •  Your partner understands your need to have time alone or to hang out with friends or family.

  •  You can communicate your feelings without being afraid of negative consequences.

  •  Both of you feel safe being open and honest.

A good partner is not excessively jealous and does not make you feel guilty when you spend time pursuing your interests or hanging out with family and friends. A good partner also compliments you, encourages you to achieve your goals, and does not resent your accomplishments. 

My Partner Doesn’t Physically Hurt Me 
Just because there is no physical abuse in your relationship doesn’t mean it’s healthy.

It’s not healthy if your partner:

  •  Is inconsiderate, disrespectful, or distrustful

  •  Doesn't communicate his/her feelings

  •  Tries to emotionally or financially control you 

  •  Keeps you from getting a job or gets you fired

  •  Humiliates you on Facebook or in front of your friends

  •  Threatens to out you to your family

So, Is My Relationship Unhealthy? 
Everybody deserves to be in a healthy relationship free from violence. Drawing the line between unhealthy and abusive can be hard. If you think your relationship is going in the wrong direction, check out the warning signs of abuse. 

Remember, there are many types of abuse, and while you may think some of them are normal -- they are not. Even though teen and young adult relationships may be different from adult ones, young people do experience the same types of physical, sexual, verbal, and emotional abuse that adults do. You should take abuse in your relationship seriously. 

If you think are in an abusive relationship, you're probably feeling confused about what to do. You may fear what your partner will do if you leave or how your friends and family will react when you tell them. If you are financially or physically dependent on your partner, leaving may feel impossible. You may also think that the police and other adults won't take you seriously. 

These are all understandable reasons to feel nervous about leaving your partner, but staying in the abusive relationship isn't your only option. Learn more about your options for staying safe. 

What Should I Look for in a Partner?
Relationships require respect, trust, and open communication. Whether you’re looking for a relationship or are in one, make sure you and your partner agree on what makes a relationship healthy. It’s not always easy, but you can build a healthy relationship. 

Look for someone who:

  •  Treats you with respect

  •  Doesn’t make fun of things you like or want to do

  •  Never puts you down

  •  Doesn’t get angry if you spend time with your friends or family

  •  Listens to your ideas and comprises sometimes

  •  Isn't excessively negative

  •  Shares some of your interests such as movies, sports, reading, dancing, or music

  •  Isn’t afraid to share his/her thoughts and feelings

  •  Is comfortable around your friends and family

  •  Is proud of your accomplishments and successes

  •  Respects your boundaries and does not abuse technology

  •  Doesn’t require you to "check in" and doesn't need to know where you are at all times

  •  Is caring and honest

  •  Doesn’t pressure you to do things that you don’t want to do

  •  Doesn’t constantly accuse you of cheating or being unfaithful

  •  Encourages you to do well in school or at work

  •  Doesn’t threaten you or make you feel scared

  •  Understands the importance of healthy relationships

Remember that a relationship consists of two people. Both you and your partner should have equal say and should never be afraid to express how you feel.  

Every relationship has arguments and disagreements sometimes -- this is normal. How you choose to deal with your disagreements is what really counts. Both partners should work hard to communicate effectively.