Great and thriving dating relationships are built on safety, which provides the best possible environment for emotional intimacy to develop. Since emotional intimacy takes people to some of the most vulnerable places a relationship can go, the risks are great. To have a foundation of safety built into your relationship makes opening up significantly easier.
In order to create a safe and healthy dating relationship, both individuals must be committed to protecting themselves as well as their partner.
The bottom line: Healthy dating entails both rights and responsibilities.
Dating bill of rights and responsibilities
(adapted from ChooseRespect.org)
You have certain rights and responsibilities in a dating relationship. Here are some examples. Personalize these for yourself, and make a commitment to stick by them.
I have the right:
To be treated with respect always
To be in a healthy relationship
To not be abused – physically, sexually, or emotionally
To respect and value my body, feelings, beliefs, and property
To have friends and activities apart from my boyfriend or girlfriend
To set limits and values
To say no
To feel safe in the relationship
To be treated as an equal
To feel comfortable being myself
To leave a relationship
I have the responsibility:
To determine my limits and values
To respect my boyfriend's or girlfriend's limits, values, feelings, and beliefs
To refuse to abuse – physically, sexually, or emotionally
To be considerate
To communicate clearly and honestly
To give my boyfriend or girlfriend space to be his or her own person
To not exert power or control in the relationship
To compromise when needed
To admit to being wrong when appropriate
To ask for help from friends, family, and trusted adults