Healthy Dating Relationships
At North Care, we want you to be informed and safe when it comes to your dating relationships. February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, which is focused on raising awareness of dating abuse and preventing dating violence by encouraging healthy relationships. Learn more about #teendvmonth here.
Here are a few ways to cultivate healthy dating relationships (they’re even practical for other relationships, too).
Set healthy boundaries
All healthy relationships have boundaries, which aren’t meant to be negative or constricting but allow you to feel comfortable, thrive, and grow in your relationship with your significant other.
Setting boundaries may look like talking about what you’re comfortable with physically. It also may look like talking about how to respect the other person’s needs, wants, desires, and likes.
BreaktheCycle.org provides some good examples of healthy boundaries vs. unhealthy boundaries if you need some specifics to get you started.
Stop the comparison game
Comparison is toxic. It never—yes, never—leads to increased happiness, contentment, or joy. Whether you’re comparing yourself to others or comparing your relationship to another couple’s, you’ll always wind up discontent and unhappy.
Every relationship is different, and nothing is exactly the way it seems from the outside looking in. “That couple” may be picture perfect on Instagram, but Instagram doesn’t show you their disagreements or disfunction.
Practice contentment by focusing on your own relationship and what you enjoy about the other person. If you and your significant other need to work on something, take the time to talk about it and work through it. But the comparison isn’t a healthy way to gauge performance, relational compatibility, or happiness.
Work on your communication
It seems like a no-brainer. But because of different communication styles and personalities, communication in relationships is challenging. Plus, add romantic feelings (“butterflies in your stomach”) to the mix and suddenly communication with your significant other is way harder than talking to your mom or best friend.
Be an engaged listener. Ask questions – whether small talk or deep discussion – and really listen to the response (don’t assume you know the answer). Be honest about how you feel, no matter how hard or uncomfortable it may feel. Good communication isn’t just healthy – it shows interest, respect, and demonstrates that you care.