The Oarsman

Make Sure You Have a Healthy Relationship

Nevan Campos, Asst. Opinion Editor

Something that I find happens a lot but doesn’t get acknowledged often is abuse and unhealthy habits in teen relationships. When a significant other is being toxic and abusive, many people see these occurrences as normal. Abuse is not always physical. Just because you don’t hit your partner doesn’t mean you are exempt from being abusive and toxic. Emotional abuse is a valid concern. It’s worrying to see dysfunctional relationships play out like nothing is wrong.

No matter how old you are, what your gender is, or who you’re attracted to, everyone should recognize a healthy relationship and the red flags of an unhealthy one.

Possessiveness is one of the biggest problems I see in teen relationships. Someone will control who their significant other talks to, is friends with, where they go, what time they go out, every aspect of their life! Even online, you see posts about girlfriends who don’t allow their boyfriends to play their favorite video games just so they can pay attention to them. Some people see nothing wrong with this and even think it’s “cute”. Being clingy and affectionate is one thing, but taking total control over your partner is another. Relationships with so much possessiveness are very abusive and not healthy at all.

Obsessive possessiveness is a huge red flag. This dominating and controlling nature stems from insecurity, jealousy and trust issues. Your significant other is their own person and can do whatever they want. It’s wrong to limit their freedom just because of your own insecurities. If you have problems with trust, it’s important to talk to your partner about how you feel, but it is not an excuse for being a control freak over everything your partner does.

Another issue that’s very prevalent among teenagers in relationships is constant arguing. I sometimes overhear conversations between girls talking about how them and their boyfriends argue everyday, but eventually just get over it and stay together. Call me crazy, but if you and your partner are arguing constantly and never truly resolve your issues, maybe you aren’t right for each other. Little arguments happen every now and then. No one is perfect and it’s totally understandable. However, if you and your significant other fight over tiny things constantly, there’s something wrong.

I find a lot of other teenagers don’t like to talk about their issues with their partner and give them the silent treatment for the sake of being petty. Being spiteful in a relationship hasn’t gotten anyone anywhere. It’s so annoying to see people praise others for being petty and unwilling to talk about what’s wrong. If you wonder why some couples last only a week or break up 3 times and keep getting back together, it’s probably because they lacked communication. Learn to be open, communicate effectively and come to a solution together. It will strengthen your bond as a couple and help you understand each other on a deeper level. Not only that, but chances are you won’t have to fight over that issue again!

This is pretty obvious, but you should always support your partner. If they’re feeling sad or struggling with something, try to cheer them up and reassure them that everything will be okay. If they don’t want to talk about it then and now, respect their decision and let them know you’ll be there to listen when they need it. Being there for your significant other in their time of need is one of the easiest and most important things you can do to keep your relationship healthy. A relationship with no support is maladaptive and toxic. You should always care for each other and be each other’s support system.

Be wary of emotional dependence, which is when your partner becomes reliant on you for all their emotional needs. If this occurs, be sure to talk it out and let them work out their own issues. It isn’t healthy to rely on someone for all your validation, and it isn’t healthy to give someone all your emotional labor. It’s draining for both parties involved. Encourage your partner (or yourself) to practice self-love and care.

Also, don’t treat your significant other like your personal ATM. They don’t live to give you money and shower you with gifts all the time. If you want to spoil each other, go ahead, but don’t make it a mandatory thing for them to buy you things all the time. Once again, they are their own person who should be in charge of what they choose to spend their money on. This isn’t that common in high school relationships, but it needed to be said.

These are just a few examples of what healthy and unhealthy relationships look like. A healthy relationship has so many different components, trust, compatibility, love, honesty, mutual respect, all that good stuff. A strong and healthy relationship really comes down to communication. All of the other good aspects of a relationship stem from and grow stronger with communicating and simply just talking about your feelings. You should be able to grow emotionally with your significant other, not be dragged down by petty little fights or anything else. By maintaining a good flow of communication and truly caring about each other, you should be able to overcome so much. It’s my firm belief that communication is one of the most important elements of a relationship (other than mutual love and care, obviously).

Hopefully this can help anyone who needs to keep their relationship in check. Please stop stalking your partner’s every move and treating them like a dog. If you find your relationship is too much to repair, it’s fine to just break it off. Something better will come soon. Good luck!

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