By Bobbi Sudberry —
So you’ve got a boy/girlfriend; Now what? Being in a relationship of any kind, even when you’re in middle school or high school, takes work. Just because you’re “with” someone doesn’t mean you lose your rights as an individual. It does mean that you do have some responsibilities though. All in all a dating relationship should be fun and enjoyable not stressful and sad. The last thing you should ever be in a relationship is afraid of the other person or what they might do.
According to Kaity’s Way, a Healthy relationship consists of Patience, Empathy, Acceptance, Caring, and Equality. When you take the first letter of each word you have P.E.A.C.E.. In a healthy relationship you should feel peaceful, happy and secure. Each element is broken down to help you understand how to obtain and /or maintain a healthy relationship.
- You have the RIGHT to take your time and decide when and where you want to do something or become part of a relationship.
- You have the RESPONSIBILITY to be patient and respect a person’s position in any situation.
Just because everyone you know might have a boy/girlfriend doesn’t mean you need to rush into a relationship and risk making the wrong choice. Remember, it’s definitely okay to be single. Once you find that special person, take your time to get to know each other. Relax and enjoy the time you have with the person you are with. The goal is to have fun and be happy. Don’t rush into snap judgments or make assumptions. Most of all understand that you can choose who you want to be in a relationship with and if you are not feeling it that is okay. You should never feel like you have to take part in anything if you don’t want. By the same token, if you are approaching someone to have a relationship with them, if they say no, don’t take it personally. It is not you, it really is them.
Bottom line, no means no. No never means yes and it does not mean “convince me.” If you are confused about the message you’re getting from someone, maybe they are saying no but you think their actions are saying maybe, or yes – have the conversation. Talk about it and make sure you both understand the situation. Never make assumptions.
- You have the RIGHT to be with someone who takes the time to try to understand your feelings.
- You have the RESPONSIBILITY to take the time to try to understand your partner’s feelings.
Being able to imagine how others feel is an important skill in any relationship. This becomes even more important when you decide you’re going to become part of a couple. You are not always going to know how someone feels but you can try to understand. Asking them if they want to talk about it or if there is anything you can do to help are some really nice ways to try to empathize with your partner.
- You have the RIGHT to be accepted for who you are.
- You have the RESPONSIBILITY to accept your partner for who he/she is not what you want him/her to be.
Who they are is what attracted you to your boy/girlfriend. Their style, beliefs, and principles are what make them special and unique. Respect the individuality of the person you have come to know and care for. Also, be honest with yourself! Your style, beliefs and principles are what make you special and unique and you should always be who you are. Even though you are in a relationship you are still an individual.
- You have the RIGHT to be in a caring relationship that ensures that your opinions and ideas are your own and your boundaries are respected.
- It is your RESPONSIBILITY to respect your partner’s opinions, ideas and boundaries.
Encourage, empower, appreciate and recognize the positive in your partner and what they do. Care enough to be honest and kind at all times. When someone cares about you they will use language that lifts you up. They will encourage, empower, appreciate and recognize the positive in you and what you do as well. Your partner should listen to you without judgment when you express an opinion or idea.
Know that you are going to disagree from time to time, but that is no reason to get into an argument or fight. Having a difference of opinion is natural and often times it will give you the opportunity to learn or teach something. It is also important that you set and honor each other’s boundaries.
People sometimes struggle with boundaries, knowing what they are and how to set them. If someone says something, does something or touches you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable that is a boundary. Now, while it is important to not only discover that boundary, it is equally important to make sure the other person understands that is a boundary for you. Therefore, you need to let the other person know that whatever they said, did or how they touched you made you feel uncomfortable, by simply telling them just that. When you let them know about your boundary, they should honor it and not cross that boundary again.
- You have the RIGHT to be an equal party in your relationship.
- You have the RESPONSIBILITY to treat your partner as an equal party in your relationship.
Ask your partner for their input about where you go and what you do together. If you cannot compromise or come to an agreement about something, agree to disagree. Your input to decide where to go and what to do should also be equally taken into consideration. Overall, because you have a choice, when it comes to disagreements they should not become arguments and never should become a fight.
The last thing anyone should do in a relationship is hurt that person in any way because you cannot go back and change it. Once the damage has been done it is done. Besides, nothing is more important than the feelings of the people you love and care about.
Remember the only true power and control you have is over yourself and how you act or talk. How you react to any situation is on you and no one else. We cannot fix anyone but ourselves. So look inside and begin your healthy relationship journey by loving yourself first and foremost. Understand that the P.E.A.C.E. rights and responsibilities can be utilized with all relationships. Friendships, teammates, peers, co-workers, family, teachers, coaches, anyone you come in contact with. Some relationships are temporary and others last a lifetime, either way they should be happy and healthy. Take care, Be safe and P.E.A.C.E.