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I AM in Control.org Iowa Adolescents Making Choices to Control Their Future Teen:Health, Relationship, Body and Sexuality
Nov 5

What Makes a Good Relationship?

Posted By iamincontrol | November 5, 2013

What makes a good relationship
By Viv

This month’s poll asked readers to vote for the quality they look for most in a boyfriend or girlfriend.  Here are the results:

What’s the most important thing you look for in a boyfriend or girlfriend?

  • Looks (56%)
  • Similar interests (21%)
  • Money (10%)
  • Sense of humor (4%)
  • Honesty (3%)
  • Intelligence (3%)

So, while most of you prefer beauty over brains we all know that a good dating relationship is based on several qualities.  I’d bet that if we asked you to rank order these, your responses may have been a little different.  So let’s talk about what makes a dating relationship a good one.

Here’s a personal quiz to think about if you are currently in a “dating” relationship.  Does the person you are seeing:

  • Treat you well?
  • Respect you (including what you feel comfortable doing sexually)?
  • Give you space to hang out with your friends?
  • Let you wear what you want to wear?

You’ll notice these questions have more to do with a person’s behaviors and values than with their looks or money.  So, even if you are dating the most attractive person in school, a good dating relationship will be one where the other person respects you and lets you be yourself.

Respect

One way to think about respect is to consider how you would want your best friend or a close sibling to be treated by someone they were going out with.  Does the person you are seeing listen to your opinion and consider your thoughts and feelings when decisions are made about what to do or how you will spend your time?  If, on the other hand they are someone who puts down your ideas, makes fun of you on Facebook or in front of others, or waits until the last minute to make plans – then they aren’t showing a lot of respect for you or your feelings.  A good place to learn more about respect in dating relationships is www.loveisrespect.org.

Letting you be yourself

We’re all trying to figure out “who we are” by trying out different clothing styles, meeting new people or learning new skills.  Even though our teen years bring lots of changes, you already have a pretty good idea of what makes you happy or what are healthy choices.  It’s just as important for you to take the time to discover what you like and don’t like in your friends and in those you date. Are the people you hang out with or date okay with you doing things with other people or having different opinions?  Or do they constantly pressure you into doing things you are not comfortable with or that conflict with your personal values?  If that is true, they may not be looking out for your best interests.  Sometimes, when a new boyfriend or girlfriend texts a lot, it may feel special that they want to spend a lot of time with you.  On the other hand, if the texts start making you uncomfortable, it’s probably time to speak up.

If someone you are dating does any of the following things, you may want to talk to someone you trust about it:

  • They want to control who you spend time with
  • They yell at you, grab you, or shove you when they are angry or frustrated
  • They make you feel afraid if you don’t do what they want

No one deserves to be treated this way by a girlfriend or a boyfriend.  You can talk confidentially to someone at (866) 331-9474 if this is happening to you or someone you care about.

As you think about what makes a good relationship, remember that it’s just as important to pay attention to your dating partner’s actions and words as it is their looks.  Beauty is both inside and outside!

You are in control of choosing relationships with people who respect your interests and values.