Being part of a relationship does not mean you are no longer a unique and distinctive individual. If you are part of a relationship it is probably because you enjoy being around that person but it doesn’t mean that they get to run your life. Your BF/GF should let you have the time and space to hang out with your friends and family and to spend time alone when you want to. Your BF/GF shouldn’t ask you to compromise your plans for your life.
No relationship is perfect, even the best have ups and downs, but both individuals in a relationship are entitled to basic human rights. You have the rights:
- To start and end a relationship
- To be heard and taken seriously
- To freely express what you think and feel
- To make decisions about your body, property, schedule, opinion and privacy
- To feel safe and protected in a relationship
- To live free from all forms of abuse including emotional, physical, sexual and tech abuse
- The right to freely make decisions regarding sexual activity
Both individuals in a relationship should have the same rights and responsibilities:
- The responsibility to listen to your partner
- The responsibility to respect
- The responsibility to be fair
- The responsibility to support
- The responsibility to analyze the problem
- The responsibility to communicate openly
- The responsibility to think about your own well-being
- The responsibility to be honest
- The responsibility to be accountable for your own behavior
Have you ever wondered whether your relationship is normal? Is this ok? Is it typical for guys/girls to do this? How committed should I be in this relationship? Why is he/she acting this way? Please take our short quiz; it’ll help you to figure out if there are elements of abuse in your relationship.
Quiz- Is this abuse? Are you or someone you know being abused?
Does your BF/GF…
- Constantly call or text you?
- Check your cell phone?
- Act extremely jealous or possessive?
- Try to control where you go and what you do?
- Follow you or obsessively check on you to know where you are and what you are doing?
- Make you feel like you can never do anything right?
- Make you feel like you need to change things about yourself?
- Make you feel fearful?
- Make you feel worthless?
- Blame you for the abuse?
- Ignore what you think and make important decisions for you?
- Use alcohol or drugs as an excuse for saying offensive things or abusing you?
- Put you down in front of your/their friends and family?
- Keep you from seeing your friends?
- Makes you do things you do not want to do?
- Pressures you to have sex?
- Ever hit, push, choke, kick, or slap you?
- Threaten to hurt you or hurt someone else (including pets) if you leave him/her?
If you answered YES to any of these questions you may be in an abusive relationship. Have you ever felt like you don’t want to be in that relationship anymore? Do you feel like you are being abused, but don’t know where to get help? If so, you are not alone. If you can, please talk to a friend, your parents, other family members or a trusted adult. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to someone you know about your relationship yet, there are lots of great advocates who get it, who you can talk with on the phone or online to get info anonymously. Check out the list below.
- National Dating Abuse Helpline – 866.331.9474
- National Dating Abuse Helpline TTY – 866.331.8453
- Love is Respect Live online chat
- National Domestic Violence Hotline – 800.779.SAFE (7233)
- Rape Abuse & Incest National Network – 800.656.HOPE (4673)
- Indiana Youth Group (LGBT) – 317.541.8726
Check our resource page, you will find other very informative TDV websites
The Teens Experiencing Abusive Relationships project has designed the image above to explain abusive relationships. It is divided in three stages.
- The Green stage shows dynamics at the beginning of a relationship. If you were the victim, you might believe that this guys or girl is “the one” you have waited for. Everything feels perfect and you can’t spend enough time together.
- During the Yellow stage, things start to get complicated. Tension starts to build up as you continue with the relationship. He or she might start to act really jealous. You might start to have lots of fights about disagreements. Your partner might try to keep you from spending time with other friends and expect you to do what he or she says. He might yell or destroy some of your stuff to make you feel afraid. Tactics to control or monitor your behavior tend to get worse over time.
- The Red stage begins where the abuser physically or sexually abuses you. He or she may threaten to hurt you if you don’t do what they say. They may threaten to kill you or themselves if you try to end the relationship. You try to protect yourself, you may try to fight back, but at the end you are just so confused.
Then, the cycle begins again. Your partner might deny the abuse or promise that it will never happen again. He may say that he is not sure why he did that to you. She may send you flowers or gifts. The beginning of this abusive cycle is also called the “honeymoon” stage where everything feels normal. As your relationship continues, the green stage becomes shorter and shorter. Sometimes victims will move from the Red to the Yellow stage without a non-abusive gap.
It’s time to move on!
Unfortunately, there is no manual that tells people when a relationship should end because it should be your own decision. Even healthy relationships are complicated and complex. However, you may want to end a relationship when YOU…
- Know you would rather do something else than spend time with that person
- Consciously try to avoid your partner
- Feel your relationship is not happy and/or healthy
- Experience fights and disagreements all the time
- Believe your partner makes you feel uncomfortable
- Believe you are being mentally, physically, or emotionally abused
- Feel you have to compromise your ideas to keep your partner happy
- Feel you have been isolating yourself from other people
- Don’t care any more about the relationship
- Have waited for change and have tried to support your partner in changing, but you see no progress
- Feel you do not share the same interests and values
- Don’t feel that person is supportive
- Don’t feel safe anymore
Remember, it’s all about safety. Breaking up an abusive relationship can be the most dangerous time for a victim. There are many informative websites about how to develop a safety plan. Visit The Safe Space to see their comprehensive safety planning information.
Here are a few suggestions of strategies that might help you stay safe and emotionally supported when you end the abusive relationship.
- Break up with your BF or GF in a public place or in front of people you trust.
- Avoid having contact with that person.
- Tell other people you are breaking up with your BF/GF and ask for their support.
- Stay in touch with your close friends and try to meet some new people. Be around people who share similar interests and values.
- Try not to be alone (even when you are traveling to a close place). When you’re away from home, let those who care about you know where you are and what time you plan to be back.
- Talk to your counselor or teachers about your situation.
- Carry cash and make sure your cell phone is fully charged when you leave home.
- Make sure you have at least 4 safe places to go, 4 people to call, and important phone numbers such as 911, and your local police department number.
- Consider filing for a protective order. This civil, legal document prohibits an abusive individual from contacting you directly or indirectly.