It feels wonderful to be in love! And it can be exciting, romantic and fun to be in a relationship.
You are probably in a good relationship if you feel comfortable expressing your thoughts, opinions and feelings and if your partner treats you with kindness and dignity.
Unfortunately, not all relationships are healthy and respectful. Some people find themselves involved with people who are physically and emotionally hurtful. Your relationship might be abusive if there is anything about it that makes you feel scared, worried, ashamed or uncomfortable.
Did You Know?
Dating violence affects between 25 to 50% of teen girls
Your partner is acting abusively if they are:
- Acting jealous and possessive
- Keeping you away from your family or friends
- Deciding how you should dress or act
- Hitting, kicking or pushing you
- Using guilt or manipulation to get you to do things you don't want to do
- Insulting you, degrading you, humiliating you
- Forcing you to have sex
Abuse can happen gradually. At first you might not be sure that what is happening to you is wrong. Maybe you are used to being treated badly or don't believe that you deserve to be treated well. Most people don't want to admit or believe that they are in an abusive relationship. You may find yourself making excuses for your partner's behaviour or thinking some of the following thoughts:
- "They only pushed me. It's no big deal."
- "I can handle this. I can make it stop."
- "I asked for it because I provoked them."
- "Name calling isn't really abuse."
- "They're just doing it because they love me."
- "They promised they'd never do it again."
Abuse is still abuse even if it only happens "once in awhile" or if your partner promises not to hurt you again.
Maybe you recognize that there is a problem but you are too ashamed, embarrassed or scared to tell your family and friends. You might be afraid of losing your partner or worried that no one will believe you. Or maybe you don't feel able to leave the relationship because you are confused or don't feel very confident. The reality is, if you stay in the relationship the abuse may get worse.
All relationships have difficulties but no relationship should EVER include violence or abuse. You are not responsible for the other person and your decision to leave or stay should not be guided by fear. If you are afraid or intimidated in your relationship talk to someone that you trust: a friend, parent, teacher or one of the counsellors at Kids Help Phone (1-800-668-6868). You have a right to be treated with respect and you deserve to feel safe.
Last checked: March 2010