It’s been a while since we talked, so this conversation is definitely long overdue!
Welcome to 2016, BTW! I hope your new year is treating you well 🙂
So, in case you didn’t know, it’s Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (TDVAM)!!..right now, in February. Since of course, TDV is our area of expertise, now is the perfect time to talk about it! If you have browsed our lovely website (you so should!), you have, no doubt, read up on some positive and negative aspects of a dating relationship.
Making sure you know what is COOL and NOT COOL in a relationship is why we’re here.
JEALOUSY = NOT COOL
RESPECT = EXTRA COOL
…And so on….
What I want to talk about right now is, when enough is enough…when the NOT COOL has gone too far, for too long.
How many of you have gone out with a guy or girl much much longer than you should have? If you haven’t, then I’m sure you know someone who has. That’s the thing, we either have, or we know someone who has stayed with somebody long after an unhealthy line was crossed. And seriously, this happens so much more than you think.
1 in 3 teens is a victim of physical, sexual, verbal or emotional abuse from a dating partner. It’s common, you guys.
So, I want to tell you a story. I found this story in Amanda Palmer‘s book, The Art of Asking. It was passed on to her at a young age by a very wise man, and it goes like this:
A farmer is sitting on his porch in a chair, hanging out.
A friend walks up to the porch to say hello, and hears an awful yelping sound coming from inside the house.
“What’s that terrifyin’ sound? asks the friend.
“It’s my dog,” said the farmer. “He’s sittin’ on a nail.”
“Why doesn’t he just sit up and get off it?” asks the friend.
The farmer deliberates on this and replies:
“Doesn’t hurt enough yet.”
Yes, the story is a metaphor….Humans are beautiful, magical, charming and so smart…but we humans are also strong willed and stubborn. We tend to let the time and the pain drag until it crosses that invisible line in our minds. We all do it, really. But a relationship is not the place or time to wait until it hurts beyond ‘enough.’
So, how can you determine whether or not your partner has gone too far? Only YOU know when your safety and your spirits are being compromised by your relationship. One of the best things you can do is to set boundaries. Setting boundaries doesn’t mean you’re distant, or uncommitted, or mean; it just means that you know what you are and are not comfortable with. If you aren’t comfortable with getting intimate with your boyfriend/girlfriend, then tell them. If you need some alone time to read or think or dance around in your underwear and sing into your TV remote microphone, then make sure you make that clear (of course you don’t have to tell them about the underwear romping). But the point is, set those boundaries. Maybe even take a minute to think on it, and jot down what is COOL and NOT COOL for you; you may uncover some things you hadn’t yet realized.
Don’t forget, it’s okay to let your partner know those things; if they are a healthy match for you, they will respect your boundaries. And please remember that despite our human condition to wait until it hurts ‘enough,’ it can be dangerous and debilitating to sit on that nail, because ‘enough,’ in an unhealthy situation, will usually translate to, too much.
Know when your lines are being crossed. Respect your partner and make sure they’re doing the same for you. Stay healthy, stay COOL.
Oh and…Leave us a comment about your experience with setting boundaries…how were they received by your partner?