By Allison Crowe, See the Triumph Co-Founder
This month at See the Triumph, we're focusing on teen dating violence. We believe it’s so important to educate young people out there about dating violence, and how to prevent it. One of the ways we believe dating violence can be stopped is through education about dating relationships, in particular learning the difference between healthy and unhealthy dating relationships.
Our message this week is: dating relationships should be a time for learning and growing. Many young people enter into relationships, and perhaps stay in them, even when the relationship is an unhealthy one. So, how does a teenager ensure that the relationship is one that promotes health, insight, and growth?
Well, in counseling and therapy, we talk about the power of reflection. This means taking a moment to think through your thoughts and feelings on a particular matter to really explore the details. So, this week we challenge all of those out there in a dating relationship to do this a little more.
Take a minute to reflect on yourself and the relationship you are in through journaling, talking to a friend or family member who is close to you and knows you well, seeing a professional counselor to talk about this topic with, or just sitting quietly and thinking through these questions alone.
Too often, we find other ways to spend our time without pausing to be contemplative and thoughtful. Below is a short list of reflection questions to use to perhaps spend a little time on this topic. This is not an exhaustive list – only a start, so use it as a way to begin thinking about your relationship – perhaps it will help you come up with even more questions to ask yourself.
1. Do I feel like I have learned about who __________________ is since we have started dating? If yes, what have I learned that I like? What are the things that I might not like as much/want him/or her to work on or change?
2. Do I feel like I have learned more about who I am since __________ and I started dating? If yes, what have I learned about myself? How did this relationship help me learn this?
3. Has my dating relationship with _________ helped me challenge myself in new, healthy ways? If so, how? If not, why not?
4. How can ________ and I continue to learn about each other? List ideas for how this can occur.
5. What does my idea of a healthy relationship look like? Does my relationship with ________ match this idea or not? If no, what would need to change in order for it to?