Being a teenager is exciting, challenging, and confusing. Dating is one of the most awesome things about being a teen. Your teen years are a time when you find your place in the world, and are faced with a lot of challenges.
Although dating can be fun and exciting, it can create issues. You may have difficulty deciding if you want to date just one person, or go out with lots of people.
You may feel rejected by someone you ask out and they turn you down. You may have fights with your partner. You might feel hurt, or could hurt your partner, if one of you decides to end the relationship. There are no simple solutions. Learning how to deal with these issues is one of the challenges of dating. It's part of growing up.
While we want to believe that hand holding, moonlight walks, gifts, sweet words, and loving glances are all part of a dating relationship, and that these new feelings and experiences are so wonderful … it isn't always that way!
You could be in a relationship where your partner is verbally, emotionally, physically, or sexually abusive. Maybe you're afraid of your partner. Maybe you think that it's your job to make the relationship work. Maybe you don't know that it's notokay for your partner to beat you. Maybe you're afraid that there's no one else in the whole world who would want you. Maybe you think it's your fault that your partner is so abusive … after all … they don't treat anyone else that way. Maybe you're afraid to tell anyone!
Dating violence affects about one in ten teen couples. Teenagers can often misinterpret abusive and violent behavior as a show of love. Hitting, yelling, threatening, name calling, and using and hurting you sexually isn't love!
Verbal and emotional abuse can include ridiculing, name-calling, threats, constant criticism, controlling, belittling, and other negative behavior to scare their partner or destroy her/his self-esteem. Both men and women have long-term effects from this type of abuse. Verbal abuse, like physical abuse, is rooted in the low self-esteem of a partner. It's also rooted in the helplessness, guilt, and confusion of a partner who allows another to treat them this way. Submitting to this behavior in the name of love doesn't work and is self-destructive.
Date rape is rape! Whether by a friend or acquaintance, it's a punishable crime! Males and females have very different ideas about what dating means. A man may expect it to end in a sexual experience. That's not always true. A woman may view it in friendly or romantic terms. A rapist uses assault as power and control. He'll use force to get his date to do what he wants. He may not be overtly violent - that's why date rape is hard to prove. Sometimes his victim isn't even sure she's been raped. She may feel confused and guilty about the assault - not angry.
Abuse usually happens because one or both partners has been abused as a child, or comes from a family where one or both parents is abusive. The media also plays a part in portraying violence. The abusive partner has not learned positive and peaceful ways of solving problems. They don't know how to deal with fear, jealousy, or anger which can trigger violence. These problems begin in the way people learn to relate to others during childhood.
Signs of Abusive and Violent Behavior
Dating Violence is a pattern of violent behavior! It can also occur in same-sex relationships.
If you find yourself in a violent or potentially violent relationship:
Remember, you cannot change the behavior of another person!
Help a Friend Who's in an Abusive Relationship:
What You Can Do:
Places to Contact for Further Information:
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