As teens in the 21st century, we all see it. “Prefect” couple photos on Instagram with captions of the next milestone they’ve passed. “Happy” teens who hold hands in the hallways and kiss between passing periods. Many teens desire this and many teens achieve it. As our generation has seemingly driven us to believe, being in a relationship is an accomplishment among peers. Many do find love, but others feel they need to keep up a relationship purely because of the thoughts of others. As tricky as it is, it is extremely important to consider: how do I know when I’m in a bad relationship?
Personally, I am a helper. I am beyond passionate about ensuring that the people I love are feeling loved themselves. This has given me a lot of experience with helping to combat bad relationships that my dearest friends have unfortunately been in. My biggest takeaway from everything is that the hardest part about evaluating a relationship is putting your own feelings first. Everyone wants their significant other to be happy, but what if you yourself just are not? Yes, you can look happy in selfies and tell the world that you are content, but if you don’t feel happy then you don’t. That is OKAY. Allowing your boyfriend/girlfriend’s emotions be more important than your own is not okay. So, the first part of combatting a bad relationship is evaluation. It is more simple than many want it to be, it is asking: “am I happy?”
Another key element to understanding if you are in a bad relationship is shifting to a bigger picture mindset. It is the sad truth that many teens get involved with someone who is not loyal. Whatever boundary they have crossed, whether it be cheating or not giving you what you deserve, it’s crucial to realizing that something just is not right. Many teens become caught up in the “if they love me they will change” mindset. Someone can love you and care about you, but that doesn’t mean that they will stop making mistakes that will hurt you. 2 people who love each other can indeed coexist in a bad relationship. By shifting to a big picture mindset, one can realize that the moments of love and bliss are only temporary. If someone has hurt you and you can see them hurting you again in the future, recognize that and don’t let the temporary take over.
Lastly, COMMUNICATE. Today’s teens are some of the strongest people on the planet, but you cannot be your own hero. Ask for help, talk to friends, deal with your issues with your boyfriend/girlfriend. If something needs to stop, don’t just expect it to stop on its own. Be proactive about the situation. You never know which advice you could change your life, so seek that advice. You may feel something is wrong with your relationship, but the only conclusions you have is “I don’t know.” Begin talking about your emotions so that the “I don’t know” becomes an answer in no time. Whether you speak to your best friend, your parents or your partner themselves, opening up a conversation is the best way to understanding what’s going on in your own brain. By being clear with your own emotions, you can begin to see the difference between good and bad and what needs to change.
Of course, every relationship is unique in its own way. Love comes in all shapes and sizes and can bring a plethora of emotions with it. However, if you are unsure if your relationship is healthy, stable, or just one that is good to be in, I hope these simple evaluation techniques will help clear it up in your mind. Remember, were strong together as generation because we are strong as individuals. Remain strong with who you are and what you want, because no one has the strength to stop you from being you.
– Paulette, 17 years