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long-distance

Is Your Long-Distance Relationship Unhealthy?

This post was written by Gabriella, a loveisrespect intern.

You might be in a long-distance relationship because of a high school graduation, a connection you made with someone over the internet, or any number of reasons. Long-distance relationships have a bad rap for being notoriously difficult and complicated, requiring even more commitment from both partners than usual. Sure, everyone knows they aren’t easy, but how do you know if your long-distance relationship is healthy or not? Are they all doomed?

Thankfully, the answer is NO, not all long-distance relationships fail! But it can be tricky figuring out if yours is healthy. Here are some warning signs of an unhealthy long-distance relationship:

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Show Your Respect: Texting in a Relationship

Texting is often the preferred method of communication in a relationship. If you’re just getting to know someone, it’s low-key and doesn’t involve the pressure that can come with talking face-to-face. If you’re already friends but just are now getting to know them in a romantic way, texting can help ease the transition from friendship to relationship. And even though relationships cannot be built solely on texting, they’re often a great way to stay in touch with your partner and deepen your bond.

Nothing can replace face-to-face conversation, but knowing how to text in a relationship means you’ll be able to communicate effectively and show your special someone the respect they deserve, from one phone to another.

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Talking Texting on Wall Street Journal Live

Today our very own loveisrespect supervisor Whitney Laas was on Wall Street Journal Live talking about our innovative text messaging service:

Need help? You can always text “loveis” to 22522 anytime to check in with a peer advocate. Way to go Whitney!

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Dating in the Summer

By Kirby, Break the Cycle intern

School is out and the sun is shining, and if you’re like me, you’re already sweating up a storm. That’s right, summer has arrived! Summer is a time for relaxing and recharging, but it can also be a good time to reconnect with that partner you only saw three times during finals week. Or trade numbers with the cute lifeguard at the pool. Regardless of your relationship status, summer has some of its own unique rules for dating.

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Teen Mom 2: Warning Signs

Last night’s episode of Teen Mom 2 was the second week in a row we witnessed dating abuse among one of the couples. This week, Jenelle and Gary’s fight escalated to the point of landing them both in jail.

Anytime someone punches, hits or strangles their partner, it’s abuse. Both Gary and Jenelle chose to engage in physical abuse in the fight. There is never a reason that an argument needs to escalate to physical violence.

Let’s look at what warning signs we can pick out from Jenelle’s re-cap of the night. Keep in mind each person is responsible for his or her own actions — neither person caused the other to act a certain way.janelle and gary

“The only thing wrong with our relationship is Gary has a worse anger problem than me.”

If you find yourself saying something similar to this, ask yourself if your partner has anger problems with everyone or just with you? If it seems like the anger is only focused toward you, it could be that they are trying to gain power and control in the relationship — a sign of an abusive relationship.

“I said I didn’t want to have sex with him because we were going to sleep. He got mad, walked out and when I locked the door behind him, he kicked it in.”

No one should make you feel like you have to do anything sexually that you don’t want to do and using physical threats such as kicking the door in is abuse. Asking is fine, but when Gary got mad and pressured Jenelle, it became a form of sexual abuse. You always have a right to say no for any reason to any person.

“Everything spun out of control.”

All relationships have their ups and downs. The difference between healthy and unhealthy is how you handle those ups and downs. When things escalate to a point where neither person is making good choices, it’s time to stop and let both people calm down. When emotions are that high, the chance of talking it out in a healthy manner is slim.

Take a walk, go into a different room or call someone to get you out of the situation. You can always contact one of our advocates to help come up with a plan of action until everyone calms down.

“I jumped on top the bed and punched him once in the back.”

Any type of physical violence is a choice and abuse. Physical abuse from one partner does not make it ok for the other partner to retaliate.

If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship and feels like violence is the only way to be heard, call us to discuss safer alternatives.

“I didn’t go with him but I wanted him to come home so I was blowing up his phone. When he got home, I checked his phone.”

Healthy relationships are built on trust not jealousy. Reading someone’s texts without their permission or demanding they constantly check in are signs of an unhealthy relationship. Feeling the urge to snoop on your significant other? Text a close friend instead and remember that jealousy isn’t a sign of love. Often jealousy is about your own feelings more than it is about your partner’s behavior.

“He broke my phone and when I started crying, he wrapped the blanket around my neck telling me to stop crying.”

Breaking your possessions, strangling and punching are all acts of physical abuse. It not only affects people in the relationship, but those who care about them as well. Gary and Jenelle have a history of fighting, unhealthy and abusive behaviors that unfortunately ended in pretty serious harm and legal consequences.  It’s hard to hear about someone we love suffering physical violence and we heard the concern from Jenelle’s friend and mom when hearing what happened.

What did you think when Jenelle told the story? Was it difficult to watch?

What about the children? Jenelle’s son wasn’t there to witness this fight, but the two have expressed themselves in dangerous and unhealthy ways for some time. Growing up around dating violence can have a huge impact, both physically and mentally, on children. They may grow up thinking dating violence is ok or mirror the behaviors they’ve seen. It’s important to let them know violence is never ok, it’s never their fault and to get help. Not sure what to do? Creating a safety plan for you and your children can help ensure the well-being of everyone. Our advocates are here to help.

We saw Jenelle’s mom help her leave the situation. Stay tuned for the next post where we look at how Janelle chose to end the relationship and ways to do it safely.

Did you see last night’s episode? What warning signs have you seen in Gary and Jenelle’s relationship?

Is there any way for them to have a healthy relationship?

Tell us below.

 

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Now You See It…

And now you still see it.

If only there was a way to be able to send pictures or messages without having to worry about it coming back to haunt you later.

Say hello to Snapchat and Poke.

Most of you are probably already using one or both, as a way to send messages and photos only to have them disappear seconds later. It’s the answer to those embarrassing status updates or pictures we couldn’t wait to share with the world and now regret.

There’s one catch.

Nothing ever fully disappears from the Internet. As quickly as someone can come up with a new way to keep things private, someone else can figure out how to share it. Snapchat and Poke are no exceptions.

Check out some scary realities of how much “private” messages are spread around:

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No More Cell Phone Drama

Our NO MORE guest blogger Erica, student at The University of Louisville and American University and intern at Break the Cycle, wants cell phones to be used for good, not evil. And certainly not for controlling a partner.

College can be a difficult time for students.  Many are stressed and are trying various methods to relieve the weekly pressure. Students are consumed with classes, papers, exams, work, and yes, even parties. This leaves no room for unnecessary cell phone drama. There should be no more worrying about answering excessive phone calls or text messages, especially from a controlling partner.

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Mary Kay <3 loveisrespect

Mary Kay is supporting loveisrespect – in fact they’re the lead sponsor of our texting service!mary kay and lir connected rings

We’re proud to announce this partnership and have Mary Kay’s support in providing the nation’s first and only texting service that focuses exclusively on helping young people build healthy relationships.

Remember, you can contact us anytime just by texting “loveis” to 22522. No matter where you are, you’ll connect instantly with one of our trained peer advocates. They can give your relationships a check up, connect you to a local resource or help you plan for your safety – whatever will help.

Mary Kay is committed to making sure those who need loveisrespect the most – teens, 20-somethings and their parents – have access to our trained peer advocates, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They’re raising awareness by sponsoring the “Don’t Look Away” campaign, an initiative to help friends and family become stronger allies against abuse. Check out their campaign here!

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Private v. Public — How Much Sharing is OK?

There’s a line in the Sony film Easy A where Mr. Griffith tells Olive, “I don’t understand what your generation’s fascination is with sharing your every thought. They’re not all diamonds.”

He was talking about our use of social media to connect with each other and the occasional tendency we have to over share on the internet. While his statement was meant as a joke, Mr. Griffith brings up a really good point — what’s ok to talk about and what should be avoided?

Social media has made it really easy to tell the world about our lives and really hard to define appropriateness. We can click a box and announce a relationship’s beginning or end, we can comment on photos and status updates and we can share our opinions — and there’s nothing to stop us from saying exactly what we want.

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Relationship: Please Define

Facebook official? Friends with benefits? Just benefits? The labels for relationships can go on and on. To us at loveisrespect.org, it doesn’t matter what name you place on your relationship, as long as it is healthy for both partners and you both agree to it.

Are you not sure if you’re both on the same page? Bring up these points and compare notes with your partner to know how to proceed with your relationship.

Exclusivity: This one is first because it is most important. Set clear boundaries so don’t unintentionally hurt or get hurt by your partner. This includes a wide range of behaviors. Can you date other people? Can you dance with other people? Remember that in a healthy relationship, one partner never dictates what the other can or cannot do. This step is just making sure that you both know the extent of your relationship.

Affection: Public displays of affection can make a partner really uncomfortable if not used to holding hands, kisses on the cheek, hugs, and everything else.

Time: How often are you going to hang out? If one person has a billion things on their plate and the other doesn’t, this can be a deal-breaker. Things can be different depending on schedules, so be sure to let your partner what your plans are.

Texting and Calling: How often will you text? Think really hard about where your own boundaries are and when you feel smothered. Do you need to talk every day? Or just when you need to make plans? If you are someone who responds to snail mail faster than a text, let your partner know to avoid hurt feelings.

Sleeping Over: Is it okay if your partner stays at your place and vice versa? If you have roommates, setting clear boundaries is a must. No one wants to be the hated housemate. Mention something to your partner’s roommate so they are always comfortable.

Any relationship arrangement that you come up with is fine by us, as long as you are comfortable. If you are ever uncomfortable in a relationship and need to talk it out, chat or call us anytime at 1-866-331-9474.

What else do you think should be on the negotiating table? What else do you like to talk about when defining your relationships?