Young love

Abuse rates in young relationships and young people’s relationships are staggeringly high.

First forays into the world of dating and romancing can lead to sometimes disastrous results. Not knowing what to expect, the balance of power, trust, and respect between two individuals can be tricky to figure out and even harder to realize when relationships enter dangerous territory. Wanting the commitment, the love, the feeling of being wanted can lead an individual to stay in a bad, even abusive relationship because they don’t know what a relationship is supposed to be. 

Accepting bad behaviour because you don’t understand it’s not right, puts individuals at risk of falling prey to abusive situations without knowing things are getting bad.

When you begin to date, you have no idea what to expect from a relationship. The only models you have to compare to are the relationships you’ve seen modeled in real life-like your parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles or older siblings-and those relationships you see on TV; neither one gives any indication of what your first romantic relationships will look like.

Relationships hold a number of draws for teens: feeling wanted, accepted, pretty, stating independence, rebelling against parents or other guardian figures, and the lure of sex; but going too far too fast with no understanding of what a relationship should be, and what you want it to be can lead to dangerous waters. Isolation from parents and peers and lack of autonomy in the partnership can lead to a teen staying in a familiar relationship even when it gets bad.

What can you do to prevent this from happening?

  • Don’t rush into a relationship, spend time getting to know someone and whether you will work together
  • Think about what you want from a relationship before you begin one, are you beginning a relationship for the right reasons?
  • Talk to your parents, guardian, friends, people you trust about healthy relationship expectations, begin to judge healthy behaviours and unhealthy ones
  • Understand what behaviours are unhealthy or show a risk of becoming worse
  • Learn to say no, and don’t undervalue yourself or your happiness

What behaviours should you watch for?

  • Going through your purse/bag/phone
  • Wanting to know your location at all times/limiting visiting friends and family
  • Getting very involved in the relationship very fast, becoming very involved in the relationship
  • Becoming very easily jealous
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Getting physically abusive
  • Forcing sexual acts

What you can do when things cross the line

It’s very easy when you’re young to fall into a relationship that is not healthy, and it’s sometimes very hard to admit things are bad and get help. No one can decide to get help for you, you must make the commitment to getting help yourself.

Three things to be aware of when reaching out for help are;

  • Open yourself to receiving support
  • Ask for help, it’s ok to need it and there are plenty of individuals who want to help
  • Call the crisis line in your area

Find crisis lines, centres and other resources in your area at

Article provided by Paige Leach at Tri-City Transitions