By Christine Murray, See the Triumph Co-Founder
When you’re first dating someone that you like, and maybe even fall in love with, it can be tempting to want to spend every waking moment with them. If you’re dating someone you’re really interested in, they’re probably on your mind a lot of the time, and you want to focus a lot of your time, energy, and attention on getting to know that person and spending as much time as you can with them.
Obviously, you need to spend time with someone you’re dating to really get to know them. But, I encourage you to resist the urge to make any person the center of your life early in a dating relationship. An important part of having a safe, healthy dating relationship is keeping up with your friends, family members, and interests during the relationship. It’s important for each person in a relationship to have some separate interests and experiences, as well as to maintain their own unique identity even as the relationship gets really close.
Isolation is a key factor that can increase teens’ risk of being involved in an abusive relationship. Even if your relationship stays safe, you’ll want to have a strong network of friends, family members, and others around you for support for the challenges that you’ll face in your life, whether they relate to your relationship or other issues in your life. Also, keep up with your interests (such as sports or hobbies) so that you’ll always have opportunities to enjoy fun and positive experiences in your life.
When you first start dating someone, it’s normal for there to be a transition time as you figure out how much time you’ll spend with your new partner, and how that relationship will impact other areas of your life. Overall, though, be sure in your new relationship to ask yourself if your new relationship is helping you stay connected to the people in your life, as well as the other things that are important to you. If you find yourself becoming more isolated, talk with a friend, trusted adult, or counselor so they can support you in figuring out if this is a healthy relationship for you.
For all of these reasons, our second message during this second week of our focus on #safedating4teens is this: Stay connected to your friends, family, and interests when you’re dating.