People go into relationships for many reasons, but most want affection and to have fun spending time with somebody. Healthy dating relationships teach people about themselves—about who they are, what they value, and what they are eventually looking for in a life partner. They should also make people happy and feel good about themselves.
What kind of qualities do you want in someone you date? Look at the list below for suggestions, decide what is important to you, and then don’t settle for anything less. If you make that commitment to be with someone for the rest of your life, it will almost certainly be someone you are dating! So it pays to be picky now to help give you the best chance for a happy, fulfilling relationship long-term.
Types of abuse defined
Physical—any physical aggression against someone (examples: hitting, shoving, pushing, throwing things at someone, pulling hair)
Emotional—basically, makes the victim feel bad about him/herself and/or tries to control the other person through degrading, belittling, accusing the other person (examples: put down, make fun of, humiliate, reject until getting his/her way, threatens with physical violence, suicide or to leave/break up)
Sexual—any unwanted sexual touch, from kissing or touching against the victim’s will to rape, or forced sex. Can be a stranger, but often is someone the victim knows, and can even be someone the victim is or has been in a romantic relationship with.
Qualities to consider:
If you are in a relationship now… When you look at the list above, if you find that the person you’re with does not live up to what you’re looking for, consider whether it’s the right relationship for you. Maybe you would be better off as friends. You deserve someone who will treat you well and make you feel special and loved. Don’t sell yourself short!
If your relationship does not have good communication, honesty, and respect, it may be unhealthy. Relationships where one person gives more than the other or one person feels scared or unhappy will rarely be good for you in the long run. If you can, talk to your partner about how you’re feeling. If you don’t feel safe, get help from a trusted adult. Surveys show that almost 1 out of 3 teen relationships involve violence1, and it often doesn't start out as something obvious. Talk to someone before you get hurt.
1 Barrie Levy and Patricia Occhiuzzo Giggans, What parents need to know about dating violence (Seattle: Seal Press, n.d.), 161-62.
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