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I AM in Control.org Iowa Adolescents Making Choices to Control Their Future Teen:Health, Relationship, Body and Sexuality
Jul 22

Toxic Relationships

Posted By iamincontrol | July 22, 2014

Upset teen male
By Brittany

Although this story is not a personal one, it affected my fiancé, Hunter, who is obviously extremely close to my heart. He told me about his dating history shortly after our relationship began and I think his story is something we can all relate to in one aspect or another.

He was 16 when he met Ashley on a band trip with their high school. He had just moved to this school from a couple hours away and was excited to meet new people. Their relationship started slowly at first, and before he knew it he was completely enamored with this mysterious, older girl. Soon they started spending more and more time together, and Hunter could tell he was really starting to fall for her. His parents saw red-flags right away though. They noticed he was acting differently, dressing differently, and was almost never home to spend time with them or his younger siblings. They became concerned and expressed these concerns to him, but he blew them off. He thought he was old enough to make his own decisions, and ‘What did they know about his relationship?’ Hunter told me that he knew he was in a full blown ‘puppy-love’ state of mind with Ashley. He wanted to spend every waking moment next to her. He began to abandon other important things in his life to be with her. He stopped participating in after-school activities because she would want to hang out. He even stopped being friends with a couple of his closest friends because she did not like them. His relationship was getting to a toxic point, yet he didn’t realize it.

His parents sat him down and told them that they did not approve of his relationship with Ashley. They wanted him to get back to the student, friend, and son he was before their relationship started. Hunter thought he was old enough to be making his own decisions, and soon every conversation about his relationship with Ashley turned into a screaming match with his parents. It got to the point where he stayed with a friend for a couple days because the fighting had gotten out of control. His parents were setting limits with curfew and grade expectations that he was no longer meeting. They felt like they were losing their son.

Ashley and Hunter’s relationship ended up running its course and eventually they broke up, but Hunter admits it wasn’t because his parents wanted that to happen. It took him years to realize just how toxic his relationship was. He lost himself and precious time just being a high-schooler, participating in activities and bonding with friends he could have had for life, for a relationship that was more detrimental than anything. Although at the time he felt defensive and that his parents were trying to control him, he now realizes that they saw the negative changes in him. They knew he deserved better than to be changed by a relationship. Relationships are meant to be a place where two people can be themselves, where there is no need for change, but instead room for acceptance and growth. At a young age and the beginning of new relationships, we can get caught up with the idea of someone liking us and wanting to spend time with us. But at the end of the day, has that relationship changed you, or has it helped you grow into a person you’re happy with?

If you are in a toxic relationship, there is help.  You can chat with someone at loveisrespect.org, call 866.331.9474, or text “loveis” to 22522.  Everyone deserves a safe, healthy relationship.