What's Love Got To Do With It?

Sometimes in relationships, things that may seem innocent and romantic can be something else entirely. A young woman hopes for a boyfriend who pays attention to her and watches out for her but, not one who won't let her out of his sight. A young man may appreciate a girlfriend who calls to see how his day is, but not one who calls every hour to see where he's going.

Television, music, videos, and magazines scream the message that to be complete, you must be loved, and that love should be romantic, sexy, and all-forgiving, even if it involves physical or sexual violence.

By high school, it is no wonder teens have difficulty recognizing the fine line between sweet and smothering, concern and control, passion and possession. And, when that line is crossed, they have even more difficulty realizing that the relationship can be harmful, even deadly.

One-third of teens report they have experienced some kind of abuse in their romantic relationships. Studies have shown that young people who experience domestic violence at home or in their own dating relationships are more likely to smoke, drink, fail in school, get pregnant, use drugs, suffer from eating disorders or problems, consider suicide, or be murdered by an intimate partner.

What you can do

Take time to talk with the young people in your life about what a healthy, loving relationship looks like. Encourage your kids to talk to their friends who may be abusive or in an abusive relationship.

When young people understand that trust, patience, and kindness — not jealousy, rage, and obsession — are signs of love, it increases the chances that they will be safe in their dating interactions and recognize true, loving relationships.

If you are worried about your teenager and you need to talk, call us.

National Domestic Violence Hotline
1-800-799-SAFE (7233) (TTY 1-800-787-3224)

Help is available in English and Spanish and many other languages. All contact with the hotline is free and confidential.