It seems like whether you’re crushing on someone, dating exclusively, or hooking up, relationships can get really complicated, really quickly.
But no matter what your relationship status is, you get to decide the limits when it comes to sex. You decide if you’re ready, when, and with whom, every time. In a healthy relationship your bf/gf will listen to you and respect your decisions. The REAL DEAL is that while every relationship is different, all healthy relationships do have a few things in common: respect, trust and communication.
RESPECT means valuing the other person’s opinion, treating them well and not trying to make someone feel bad about themselves. A healthy relationship builds you up, it doesn’t tear you down. Respect from others comes from respecting yourself, so trust your own feelings, and believe in your own worth. There are a lot of haters in the world who like to make fun of what makes people unique — how they look, their interests or even their sexuality. Don’t let them. Stand tall and know yourself.
TRUST means not freaking out if your boyfriend or girlfriend likes to spend time with other friends. Trust comes from being honest with each other, not from spying on each other or reading someone’s emails or texts. It may take time to build up trust in a relationship, but invading someone’s privacy or trying to control what they do will make it impossible to have a real relationship.
COMMUNICATION isn’t just talking on the phone for hours or texting each other all day, it means expressing how you really feel and listening to each other. When two people are great at communicating, it means that even if they argue or disagree on something they can talk it out, and eventually find a solution to the issue. Communication is especially important when you need to talk about big decisions. If you aren’t comfortable doing something, talk openly with the other person. And if you have sex, talk about protection and getting tested.
So you know the basics, but you probably have a TON of questions and you can find answers on the FAQ page.
Being in a healthy relationship can bring a lot of great things to your life — it’s always nice to have someone who supports you, respects you, and cares about you! Unfortunately, a lot of relationships can be painful too — some are harmful emotionally, some physically. If you are experiencing any kind of treatment that hurts you, or makes you feel bad TELL someone.
Love is Respect
Stay Teen and the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy
Williams Institute, UCLA