Many of us want to Stand Up, and Speak Up to promote respect and create safer relationships and communities. The first step to standing up and speaking up is understanding the relationship and respect basics.
No relationship is perfect all the time, but a relationship should feel good to both individuals in the relationship. Here are some things that you can do and expect in a healthy relationship.
- Resolve conflicts fairly
- Know your boundaries (your own and your boyfriend/girlfriend's)
- Support your boyfriend/girlfriend in their goals and interests
- Break down a problem and solve it
- Speak honestly
- Value your boyfriend/girlfriend
No relationship is perfect and there are things that you might have to work on together, but if your boyfriend or girlfriend is putting you down, makes you feel ugly, hurts you, ignores your feelings or disregards your boundaries, or tries to control you then it may be time to end the relationship or get help.
- Love yourself. It is important that you are comfortable with yourself. Know your own strengths and be proud of them. If you are happy with yourself, you will be a happier partner.
- Share your feelings. If you are upset or concerned, talk about it. Working through difficult situations builds trust and helps make relationships even stronger.
- Don't assume you know what someone else is thinking or feeling. If you want to know what is on your partner's mind — ask. Make sure you are ready to hear the answer.
- Spend time on your own. Sometimes people think a healthy relationship means spending all your time together. It is actually healthier for people to spend time with different people other than with just one person. That way they can develop their own interests and talents and grow as individuals.
- Communicate openly and honestly about sex. This is the only way your partner will really know what is comfortable for you and what gives you pleasure.
- Take care of your sexual health. In a healthy relationship, both partners talk about and decide if they want to have sex. If both partners choose to have sex they take responsibility to protect their sexual health. Check out some resources here: www.sexetc.org, www.iknowmine.org, www.plannedparenthood.org.
The first thing to consider when deciding to talk about your concerns: Is this safe? If you do not feel it is safe to talk to your partner about your concerns, click here to learn more. If you feel it is safe to talk to your boyfriend or girlfriend then:
- Be clear about your concerns
- Be honest
- Listen to and respect their point of view
- Identify some concrete ways in which you can address your concern
- Trust your instincts and decide if this is going to work
If you are ready to end a relationship there are several things to think about. The first question … is it safe to end the relationship or should you get help? Here are some other pointers for ending the relationship…
- Communicate your reasons for ending the relationship clearly
- Do not break up with someone as a way of manipulating them or negotiating
- Give both of you the time and space to talk about your feelings.
- Choose a public space to end the relationship.
- Try not to be too isolated and make sure other people can hear you in case things get out of control quickly.
- Unless there is a concern about violence …don't break up over the phone, in a text message, or through a letter, or through a friend.