Teen Relationships:
Healthy or Not?

By brandon

From a young age, people are exposed to this idea of finding “The One.”  Fairy Tales often depict a handsome prince or beautiful princess risking everything in pursuit of their one true love.  Most of these stories end with the traditional Happily Ever After.

However, reality is not as kind.  Though their appearance may say otherwise, not every man is Prince Charming, not every woman is a Fairy Tale Princess, and not every relationship is destined to go the distance.

When first starting a relationship, it is easy to throw common sense to the wind and get swept away in a whirlwind romance full of passion. 

After all, this is what you’ve been after, a person who gets you accepts you for your faults, has similar interests, and cares deeply about your hopes, dreams, and plans for your future. This newfound intimacy can be fun and liberating, which makes it easy to ignore the warning signs and red flags that might be trying to alert you that things aren’t what they seem.

So, how does one recognize when something is wrong, despite looking so right on the surface?

As a relationship progresses, it is important to take time and assess where you stand.

Here are some questions to consider when evaluating the health of your relationship:

  • Am I drifting away from my friends and family?
  • Does this person make me feel small or insignificant?
  • Is the person I’m with possessive or controlling?
  • Do I get jealous when this person is talking to another attractive person?
  • Am I always doing what the other person wants to do?
  • Am I struggling to keep my hands off the other person?
  • Has this person pushed, shoved, or threatened me?
  • Do I feel emotionally safe with this person?
  • Did our romance start very quickly?
  • Does my significant other make fun of me or embarrass me in front of others?
  • Do I spend a lot of time alone getting physical with the other person?
  • Does my significant other have a short fuse?
  • Do my family and friends disapprove of my significant other?
  • Do I get along with his/her family and friends?
  • Does my significant other respect my boundaries?
  • Does my significant other blame others for their actions rather than taking responsibility for themselves?
  • Is my significant other consistent with their financial decisions?
  • Does my significant other make me feel like there is no way out of the relationship?

(The Center for Relationship Education, The REAL Essentials curriculum, Lesson 33)

It takes two for a relationship to work.  A healthy relationship requires open communication, openness, shared life experiences through dating, true friendship, shared values, shared boundaries, shared trust, similar goals, and ultimately similar desires for a long-term commitment.  If after reviewing this list you’ve determined your passionate romance is not destined for a “Happily Ever After,” it’s time to make a change.

Removing yourself from a toxic situation isn’t always cut and dry.  You’ve invested time, energy, and passion into this relationship.  In some cases, it can quite literally feel like your heart has been torn in two.  However, getting out now could save you from a lifetime of mental and physical harm.

So how do you do it?  How do you separate yourself from something that meant so much to you?

Below are some helpful tips for getting out of a bad relationship.

  • Involve a third party adult and discuss a different course of action.
  • Make a list of Pros and Cons about the relationship.
  • Go over what you’re going to say before you meet, but be sure to speak from the heart.
  • Talk to a friend and fill them in on your plan so that you have a supporter.
  • When it comes time to break up, do it in a public place especially if you are concerned about the other person’s reaction. 
  • Be direct, calm, and honest without casting blame.
  • Reassure the other person that you hope they will be happy.
  • Make a pact not to communicate with each other for a period of time after the break up.
  • Take time for yourself after the relationship. Don’t jump into something else right away.

(The Center for Relationship Education, The REAL Essentials curriculum, Lesson 33.)

After the breakup, don’t expect your feelings to go away overnight.  You just gave up something incredibly important for you.  Give yourself time to grieve.  Get back into a routine, look for healthy outlets, avoid alcohol and drugs, and don’t jump into another relationship too soon.  Use this time to learn from your relationship and regain your independence.  Most important of all, don’t give up on relationships forever.  Just because this one became unhealthy doesn’t mean they will all end that way.  Your “happily ever after” is out there, and you CAN find it…when you’re ready.

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