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The PLEA: Hanging Out and Hooking Up

The PLEA: Hanging Out and Hooking Up

Dating Relationships

It’s important to recognize that the concept of “dating” can vary greatly depending on who you are talking to, their age, life experience, culture, religion, and gender. But, regardless of these differences, healthy relationships – whether casual or well-established – have many elements in common: respect, communication and trust.

Everyone, regardless of who they are, has certain rights. When you become involved with someone else, you still have these rights. Being in a relationship doesn’t change what you can or can’t choose for yourself. And it doesn’t change what the people you’re dating can or can’t choose for themselves. Understanding these basic concepts is a great start to building a healthy and respectful relationship.

  • Healthy relationships are based on mutual respect. Everyone deserves and is entitled to be treated with respect.
  • Everyone has the right to choose whether they want to date someone or otherwise spend time with them.
  • Everyone has a right to privacy. Individuals are free to choose what personal information they want to share and what they want to keep private.
  • Everyone has the right to keep their independence and spend time with their own friends and family.
  • Everyone has the right to set boundaries in their relationship and decide for themselves what activities are right for them.
  • Everyone has a right to be safe and have a relationship that is free from violence and abuse.
  • Everyone has the right to end a relationship without being harassed or bullied.
  • Individuals in a relationship have a responsibility to respect that the other person in the relationship has these same rights.
  • Individuals in a relationship have a responsibility to accept the choices that the other person in the relationship makes for themselves.

Signs of an Unhealthy Relationship

Within the relationship, does one person...

  • worry about making the other person angry?
  • need to ask permission before deciding to do something?
  • apologize or make excuses for the other person’s behaviour?
  • feel isolated from other friends and family?
  • deal with jealous or controlling behaviour?
  • constantly receive calls or texts from the other person?
  • worry about the other person’s drinking or substance use?
  • feel fearful or threatened?
  • have unexplained bruises or injuries?

I heard you were flirting with Taylor last night. What’s up with that? You’re mine.

Jealousy and possessiveness can be early warning signs of violent or abusive behaviours. People often excuse the behaviour, thinking that it only happens because the person loves them so much. This type of behaviour is not about love. It’s about power and control.

Ditch your friends. You spend too much time with them anyway. I don’t like it when we’re apart.

It might seem flattering that someone wants to spend all their time with you and only you. But healthy relationships are about balance. Any attempts to isolate you from friends and family or other activities that are important to you is not a sign of love or affection. It is a sign of wanting power and control.

I don’t like it when you dress like that.

In a healthy relationship, people are free to make their own decisions. Dictating what type of clothes a person wears is a controlling behaviour that signifies treating the person more like a possession than a person.

Are you really that stupid? Good thing you’ve got me!

The impact of put-down’s and name-calling is often underrated and may be justified as harmless joking around. But, the fact is that this behaviour is hurtful and damaging to a person’s self-image and confidence.

No? You say you love me – it’s time to prove it.

It is unreasonable, unfair and disrespectful to expect sex in return for anything. Sexual activity must be free and voluntary – and only when both people are ready.

I am sorry I grabbed you like that. It’s just that I can’t take it when we aren’t together. I love you so much I don’t want to let you go.

Teenagers and relationships can make for some intense emotions. Sometimes this intensity is used to justify unacceptable or abusive behaviours. Abusive behaviour is not okay, even when emotions are intense. Behaviour like this is about power and control, not love and respect.

Albert Camus' The Plague: The Learning Resource