Getting involved in a relationship is exciting! Sometimes it can feel like the best thing you experience as a young adult. You want to be together all the time and you think about them all day. It feels special to be liked by someone and that feeling can be powerful! Dating is an important time to be learning what kind of person you want to spend your time with and also learning about who you are as a person. Relationships can be overwhelming and have a negative impact on our life if we do not keep them in check. Here are a few things to look out for:
Mutual respect. Do you guys treat each other with respect? Is it all about one or the other of you all the time? Does one accuse the other of keeping things from each other? Do you feel insecure even though the other person has done NOTHING to deserve your doubt?
Trust. Growing up is a time when we do not always have the highest self esteem and confidence – do you trust that the other person is telling you the truth about their feelings? Sometimes when we do not trust others, it is a direct result of us not having confidence in our self. Are you telling the truth to your partner EVEN WHEN IT IS DIFFICULT?
Honesty. Are you being honest with this person about your likes, dislikes, feelings, and dreams? Are you just trying to be who you think THEY want you to be?
Support. Do you encourage them to do things in life and reach goals that are in their best interest? EVEN if it means they might have to spend less time with you or away from you to achieve them?
Fairness/equality. Do you treat them the way YOU want to be treated? Do you feel good about the way they treat you?
Separate identities. Is EVERYTHING you do about your significant other or do you still keep that friend from middle school and do things that you like even if your partner does not take part??
When a relationship ends, it sometimes feels like the end of our world. Remember that relationships are learning experiences to help us discover who we are and what kind of relationship we want in our life. The next one has new hope and promise of being even better than the last! Do not be afraid to take a break from relationships and just be with your friends also. You do not have to be part of a pair to be whole! Talk to an adult you trust or call 1-800- 273-TALK 24/7 to speak with someone.
Submitted by Stephanie Lange. Stephanie has her Masters in Social Work from the University of Michigan and has been employed by Dakota High School as the Student Assistance Specialist since 1999.