DCIM101GOPRO

Playing Their Part: How the “Good” Behavior is Part of the Act

By Bri, an advocate. Adapted from the original post at thehotline.org.

“He’s really a great guy, though.”
“I know this isn’t okay, but she’s made me feel so special, and I just love her so much.”
“They were so loving and sweet, and the good times are the best I’ve ever had.”

We often hear people say these kinds of things. Many of them struggle to understand why their partners, who were once so kind and loving, now treat them in hurtful and abusive ways. It can be so confusing because the abuse isn’t happening constantly. Most partners aren’t abusive all the time, so it makes sense to think they could go back to being that “kind and loving” person and stay there. In most of these relationships, though, when a partner acts nice, it’s really just that: an act. Thinking about their behavior in this way can be helpful by allowing you the space to prioritize your safety and well-being.

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is your sexual past used against you: young person sitting on a bed with a book looking sad; another person with glasses sits on the floor at the foot of the bed

Is Your Partner Using Your Sexual History Against You?

By Nicole H., a loveisrespect advocate

If you’re reading this post, you might be feeling like you have to change or be someone you’re not with your current partner because of things that happened in your past. Maybe you’ve had a number of partners before, or maybe you’ve experienced some kind of sexual trauma, and your current partner is using those experiences to control, blame or shame you. This can be incredibly painful; after all, why would someone who is supposed to love you make you feel so bad? It’s important to understand that if you are struggling in this way, you are not alone. You cannot change the past. You deserve someone who is willing to understand, respect and care for you, no matter what happened before.

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biphobia and bisexuality: image of a young person with dark curly hair standing in tall grass looking to the side

Biphobia is Real…and Really Hurtful: Part 1

By Heather, an advocate. This is the first of a two-part series. This post is for bi+ folks!

Hey bisexual readers, we see you! March is Bisexual Health Awareness Month, so we want to talk about the health of your relationships.

If you’re bisexual (or pan- or polysexual, hetero- or homoflexible, or Queer & non-monosexual) it’s possible that your sexuality has caused some concerns or confusion in your relationship. (Sadly, bisexual women are more likely than any other group to experience intimate partner violence.) We’re here to tell you that none of this is your fault! Healthy relationships are based on trust, honesty, respect and equality. Everyone, of every sexual orientation, deserves that. No matter which gender you or your partner are, your bisexuality is valid.

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disrespectful

“That’s So Disrespectful!”

By Anitra, loveisrespect youth organizer

“When you talk to other girls in front of me…”
“When you dress like you’re single…”
“You see me calling and don’t answer…”
“That’s so disrespectful!”
You’re so disrespectful!”

When speaking with people about their relationship experiences, one word I hear a lot is “disrespectful.” Disrespectful behavior can happen in any relationship, whether with someone we’re dating or a friend or family member. However, there are times when someone labels a behavior as disrespectful when it’s….not. Sometimes our ideas about what’s disrespectful are influenced by unrealistic expectations about our relationships, as well as feelings of jealousy, possessiveness or insecurity – which can all contribute to unhealthy or even abusive behavior. It’s okay to feel jealous or insecure at times (we all do!). But it’s never okay to use those feelings as excuses to control or isolate your partner.

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Reproductive coercion photo of hands putting a pin into a condom package

What is Reproductive Coercion?

In season one of the TV show “Desperate Housewives” (blast from the past, we know), the couple Carlos and Gaby can’t agree on whether or not they should have a baby. Carlos, anxious to start a family, replaces Gaby’s birth control with sugar pills, which leads to her getting pregnant. Five seasons (and some children) later, Carlos has again tricked Gabby, and confesses that he didn’t actually have a vasectomy, even though he’d told her he had.

While there are a lot of outlandish storylines on that show, this one isn’t far from reality for some couples. Unfortunately, these scenarios don’t just happen onscreen, and there’s a name for them: reproductive coercion. A person of any gender can coerce their partner into being at risk to have — or actually having — a baby.

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Photo of a pair of clasped hands resting on a book in the foreground, and another pair of clasped hands resting on a book in the background

Religion and Relationships

By Bri, a loveisrespect advocate

Being raised in a religious home can have some powerful effects on your life and relationships. Religious institutions can provide moral and ethical education, emotional support and social interactions. Often, they also teach specific ideas about gender and the types of relationships that are “acceptable” and “not acceptable.” Unfortunately, sometimes these ideas lead to attitudes of control and dominance in relationships, and those aren’t healthy parts of any relationship, regardless of your religious affiliation.

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Photo of a young man in a baseball cap looking down at the ground as he leans his hand on a chain-link fence

Excuses, Excuses…

Just as people make excuses for their own poor behavior, it seems to be human nature that we often make excuses for others as well — in particular, our significant others. Have you ever found yourself apologizing for the actions of your partner? “Sorry about that, they’re just tired and had a really long day,” or, “They don’t mean to act like that, they’ve just been stressed at work.”

Has a family member or friend ever directly asked you about the way your partner treats you? How did you respond? Did you come up with an excuse to put them at ease — or, to put your own mind at ease?

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Photograph of two young men, shown from their mid-torsos down, wearing casual clothes and jeans, walking and holding hands in the middle of a street

“Why Do I Love My Abuser?”

We hear from many people who are in abusive relationships, and even those who have left relationships, but say that they love their abusive partner. They wonder, “Why do I love someone who has hurt me so much?” It can feel strange, confusing and even wrong to love someone who has chosen to be abusive. 

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Artistic rendering of comic book characters Harley Quinn and the Joker, separated by a jagged white line on a background of comic book spines

Relationship Goals or Relationship No’s?

By Anitra, youth organizer

Last weekend I saw the movie Suicide Squad. I had heard a lot about the “love story” between Harley Quinn and the Joker, and I wanted to see for myself if it lived up to the hype. Some people on social media have been calling their relationship “goals.” But it didn’t take long for me to realize that what was happening between Harley and the Joker is no love story.

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