From dating to "it's complicated", relationships can be…. complex!
Here are some values that help relationships stay strong
Of course, these values are not candy that people get at the store. It takes time to get to know each other and it is important to be humble to learn from our own mistakes. Every relationship we have, even if there is a breakup, shows something about ourselves and is an opportunity to get to know each other better.
If you’re worried that your relationship might be unhealthy or abusive, you should go to relationship myths and unhealthy relationships sections.
Unhealthy and abusive relationships are about someone having power and control over the other person. Unfortunately, many people experience abusive relationships or domestic violence. That includes young people. Each year, 1.5 million high school students in America experience intimate partner violence.
There are some signs that a relationship is unhealthy or abusive. Keep in mind that abuse can either be physical, psychological, or both. There are many ways a person can have power and control over others.
In my relationships, I have the right to
We learn about relationships from a lot of different places like social media, family, friends, and tv. But sometimes what we hear are myths and not true.
Here are some common myths about relationships
MYTH: My partner and I need to have each other's passwords to trust each other.
FACT: Passwords to your social media accounts and email are private, you don’t have to share that information if you don’t want to.
MYTH: They paid for the date and I flirted with them, so I owe them sex.
FACT: Nope! You never owe sex to anyone for any reason. And you can change your mind at any point.
MYTH: Love means never having to say you are sorry.
FACT: Everyone makes mistakes, so hopefully we will all say sorry at some point. Apologizing and working to do better in the future is an important way to build trust.
MYTH: If my partner really loved me, they should be willing to change for me.
FACT: Everyone has the right to be loved and respected for who they are. If your partner wants you to change part of your personality or your life goals to fit them, it could be a sign that the relationship is unhealthy.
MYTH: It is normal for my partner to tell me not to be friends with someone or that I should spend all my time with them.
FACT: You have the right to be friends with and talk to whomever you want. Jealousy and possessiveness can be unhealthy. Just because you’re in a relationship with someone doesn’t mean that person owns you and can control everything you do.
MYTH: Constantly calling/texting to see where I am is normal. It means my partner cares.
FACT: Constant checking in can be a sign of a partner who is trying to control you, and a sign of an unhealthy relationship.
MYTH: Only men can be abusive.
FACT: Anyone, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation, can do things in a relationship that are unhealthy or abusive.
MYTH: Obviously it is not an abusive relationship. If it were abusive, they would want to leave.
FACT: People stay in abusive relationships for a lot of reasons including kids, fear, guilt for being with this person, and not knowing what to do. Staying doesn’t mean the relationship is not abusive or that you are okay with it.
MYTH: Abuse happens only in straight relationships.
FACT: LGBTQ+ relationships can be unhealthy or abusive. Anyone experiencing harm in their relationship deserves support and help.
MYTH: Women make false rape accusations all the time and men have to pay the price.
FACT: It can be really hard to make an accusation of rape or sexual assault. When someone experiences sexual violence, they might feel like it was their fault or it isn’t a big enough deal to report even if that isn’t true. Very few rape accusations are found to be false after an investigation.
MYTH: We are not dating, so it is not abuse.
FACT: You have the right to feel safe in any relationship, even if you are not officially a couple. If they disrespect, control, threaten, harass, stalk, or manipulate you, it is an abusive relationship.
Boundaries are the limits that show under what circumstances you feel comfortable and safe, and where is the line where you feel exposed or in danger.
How do you figure out what your boundaries are?
Consent is someone agreeing to do something. We’ll be focusing on what consent means when it comes to sex and relationships, but people consent to lots of other things too. When it comes to consent in sex, it’s about someone understanding what is happening and having a choice.
Consent should be
There are some situations that under the law can’t be consensual
Consent is about respect. Just because someone:
…it doesn’t mean they are consenting!
If someone is wondering whether someone is consenting to have sex or not, the best way to find out is by having a conversation. Sometimes it is awkward or hard to say the words to consent to sex but normalizing these conversations makes it so much easier. Maybe practicing helps. Give it a try! “No, I will pass, I don’t want to have sex”. Or “Yes, I want to have sex with you, I have condoms in my backpack”.
Respecting someone’s decision if they don’t consent is also important. Sure, it can feel hard to feel rejected, but it is their choice. Thinking ahead of time about how you might feel if someone doesn’t want to do something sexually with you can help you deal with those feelings. Having suggestions about something else you could do to have fun or make you feel close to each other also helps! Here you can find more tips.
If someone doesn’t respect the other person's boundaries and makes them have sex with them, that is called abuse - even if the manipulation is physical or psychological. It is an act of sexual violence and a crime, and the person abused is a victim that needs help ASAP. More information about this and resources are on the sexual violence page.
Hey there! We are making a pause to let you know that the info on this page is about topics like abuse and violence, which can cause a strong emotional reaction. If that happens, it can really help to talk to someone.
If you feel like something is wrong, trust that feeling and find someone you trust to talk with. Only about a third of young people who experience abuse talk about it. That means a lot of people who have been hurt are not getting support, and there can be long-term problems for people when they keep it to themselves.
Here are some good places to start
Sexual violence is when a person has power and control over another person through unwanted or harmful sexual actions. Rape, sexual assault, and sexually harassing comments are examples of sexual violence. Sexual violence is a criminal act, and the person that suffers the assault is a crime victim.
Sexual assault is defined as any sexual contact to which the other person didn’t consent.
This can include
Rape is a legal term that refers specifically to penetrative sex without consent. This includes vaginal sex, anal sex, fingering, and oral sex. All rape is sexual assault, but not all sexual assault is legally considered rape.
If you have experienced a sexual assault, the first thing to do is find a safe place away from the abuser that hurt you. You can stay in your house, go to a friend or family member's house, find a police station, go to a hospital or call someone for support.
Suggested options if you are a crime victim
Keep in mind that
You can find support by calling the Pueblo Rape Crisis Services 24-hour hotline at 719-549-0549. The team offers case management among many other resources.