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Dating & Relationships

If a partner is harming you or your loved ones physically, mentally, emotionally, sexually, and/or psychologically, it is time to seek help.  If he/she is encouraging other harmful behaviors, like substance abuse, unsafe sexual activity, or other activities that make you feel uncomfortable, you have a right to leave.  There are a lot of resources available to help you.  Perhaps the most important thing to do is trust your instincts and the people close to you whose opinions you trust and value.  Keep in mind that one of the strongest signs of a healthy relationship is that both people involved feel good about themselves.  Also, by treating yourself with self-respect and believing in your right to be treated well, you are taking important steps towards developing equitable, mutually fulfilling ties in the future.


Legally, you need a partner who is voluntarily, actively, clearly giving his/her consent prior to sexual activity. That means they have to be awake and able to communicate what they want or don't want. Sexual activity is nonconsensual when a partner is incapable of consent by reason of mental incapacity, drug/alcohol use, illness, unconsciousness, or physical condition.  For the specific definition of consent, please refer to the Student Conduct Code (under Violations).

Basic guidelines for consent:

  •    If the other person says no, take no as an answer no matter how badly you want to have sex.  Even if you think she/he is saying one thing but really means another, or you thought she/he was giving you the green light earlier.
  •    If the other person says nothing, take that as a no too, and don't go any further unless she/he says it's okay.  Silence can easily mean something other than "yes," and bad judgments in this area are no excuse.
  •    Never guess at consent.  It's not worth guessing about, for either of you.  Even if you're not used to talking about sex, or asking if it's okay, or being asked.  Even if it seems like everyone else is hooking up and no one is checking in along the way.


Healthy vs. Unhealthy Relationship

Being in a healthy Relationship means... Being in an Unhealthy Relationship means...
Loving and taking care of yourself, before and while in a relationship. You care for and focus on another person only and neglect yourself or you focus only on yourself and neglect the other person.
Respecting individuality, embracing differences, and allowing each person to "be themselves." You feel pressure to change to meet the other persons's standards, you are afraid to disagree, and your ideas are criticized. Or, you pressure the other person to meet your standards and criticize his/her ideas.
Doing things with friends and family and having activities independent of each other. One of you has to justify what you do, where you go, and who you see.
Discussing things, allowing for differences of opinion, and comprising equally. One of you makes all the decisions and controls everything without listening to the other's input.
Expressing and listening to each other's feelings, needs, and desires. One of you feels unheard and is unable to communicate what you want.
Trusting and being honest with yourself and each other. You lie to each other and find yourself making excuses for the other person.
Respecting each other's need for privacy. You don't have any personal space and have to share everything with the other person.
Sharing sexual histories and sexual health status with a partner. Your partner keeps his/her sexual history a secret or hides a STI from you or you don't disclose your history to your partner.
Practicing safer sex methods. You feel scared of asking your partner to use protection or he/she has refused your requests for safer sex. Or, you refuse to use safer sex methods after your partner has requested or you make your partner feel scared.
Respecting sexual boundaries and being able to say no to sex. Your partner has forced you to have sex or you have had sex when you don't really want to. Or, you have forced your partner to have sex.
Resolving conflicts in a rational, peaceful, and mutually agreed upon way. One of you yells and hits, shoves, or throws things at the other in an argument.
There is room for positive growth and you learn more about each other as you develop and mature. You feel stifled, trapped, and stagnant. You are unable to escape the pressure of the relationship.


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