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Dating Teens

Dating and Dating Safety

Learning how to foster healthy relationships in your teen years will serve you well as you mature into adulthood. Watching for red flags in your partner can help to prevent unhealthy relationships. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), approximately 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men experience intimate partner violence (IPV) in some capacity, whether physical or emotional, or stalking.

Remember that you are in control of your own body – no one else is.

There is no perfect age to start dating. Everyone goes through different experiences and feelings.  While those around you may start dating, you should not feel pressured to do it until you are absolutely ready.

Whether you are dating or in a committed relationship, the following tips can help you maintain a healthy relationship:

  • Honest communication is key. Speak up when something is bothering you
  • Respect and value your partner’s opinions. Let your partner know you are making an effort to understand their feelings
  • Compromise when you are facing a disagreement and aim to solve conflicts in a rational way
  • Be supportive to your partner and let your partner when you need his or her support.
  • Encourage self-confidence in another
  • Respect your partner’s privacy and space. Show trust in one another.
  • Maintain your own individualities by keeping your own healthy hobbies and interests, but also support your partner’s hobbies and interests

You should feel good about yourself and safe with the person you are with at all times.

If you experience the following, it is important to understand that you may be in an abusive situation and reconsider whether the person you are dating or in a relationship with is right for you

  • Your partner is controlling, makes all the decisions, and tells you partner what you can or cannot do
  • Your partner is hostile, picks fights or is dishonest
  • Your partner is disrespectful, makes fun of you or crosses boundaries
  • Your partner is completely dependent on you or loses a sense of their individual identity
  • Your partner intimidates or controls you using fear tactics
  • Your partnering is monitoring what you are doing when you are not with them or stalking you
  • Your partner engages in physical or sexual violence. Physical violence is when someone pinches, hits, shoves, slaps, punches, or kicks their partner. Sexual violence is when someone forces a partner to have sex or engage in sexual activities when he or she does not or cannot consent.

If you feel you are in an abusive situation, think about your safety first and inform trusted friends, family, teachers and/or your provider of your situation.  Consider leaving your partner before the abuse gets worse.

Remember that abuse is not normal or okay, and you cannot help or fix an abusive partner.  Your safety should come first.

Talk to your provider if you are in an emotional or physically unhealthy relationship or dating situation. Your provider can help you create a plan to protect yourself, talk to the right people and get the help you need.

What questions do I ask?

  • I had a question about the relationship I’m in.
  • I don’t feel good in my relationship OR I feel out of control in my relationship. Can you help me?
  • My partner does these things: <what your partner does>. Is this okay?
  • How do I get out of a relationship I’m not comfortable with?

How can I learn more?