Communication Always Helps
Originally Published: December 15, 2015
Revised: January 4, 2016
When I knew I was going to start dating my boyfriend, I began to devise a plan for how to tell my parents—as though I’d crashed the car or failed a class, rather than romantically liked someone. There were many things I was worried about: Would they like my boyfriend? What kind of dates would they allow?
Talking With My Parents About Dating
I anxiously deliberated how to talk to my parents about dating, but it turned out that the best way to gain their approval was simply through straightforward communication. When my boyfriend invited me to his New Year’s Eve party, I almost didn’t even ask my parents, but I still asked tentatively, “Can I go to Will’s party? His mom will be there and it’s going to be from seven to midnight at his house.” I thought they’d be more reluctant, but they replied, “As long as his parents will be there and you call us if anyone has alcohol, we trust you to make good decisions.”
When I approached talking to my parents about dating by trying to be as clear as possible, they warmed up to the idea. I want to show my parents my relationship is healthy because like most parents, they’re concerned about the choices their children make, none so more than the decision to go further sexually—which for most parents is the elephant in the room of teen dating. Even though my parents and I haven’t discussed this yet and it certainly will be awkward, it’s important to me to have my parents’ support if I become sexually active because I trust them and the way they’ve handled my relationship so far, as well as I want them to continue to trust me.
I don’t need someone to be my other half, because I am a whole, complete person of worth, all by myself.
Honest Talk With My Partner
I didn’t communicate well with the first person I dated, and consequently, I couldn’t confront him when he made a crass comment or pestered me about going further sexually even though I’d said no. Luckily, I realized that wasn’t healthy, and I’m much healthier with my current boyfriend.
We knew we wanted to communicate in a healthy way with each other, but it was still awkward the first time we talked about sexual or physical things. However, nervously explaining that I wanted to know when we were going to have our first kiss was more than worth it when he sweetly kissed me at the zoo, and I was excited and less nervous because I knew what was going to happen. We’ve decided that when we want to be more sexual, we’ll talk about it together in much the same way. These experiences with my boyfriend are important because they make us feel safe with each other—in the metaphorical bedroom and beyond.
Complete By Myself
When my first boyfriend broke up with me, I was devastated because I was too dependent on him to realize it was unhealthy. I had idealized him so much that I couldn’t believe he could do anything wrong—much less call him out for it. I thought I was not a whole person, or not entirely me, without my significant other.
People are not puzzle pieces, locks to another’s key, or someone else’s “the one.” I don’t need someone to be my other half, because I am a whole, complete person of worth, all by myself.
Applying this to my current relationship doesn’t make it any less real, committed or loving. On the contrary, it makes me more likely to have a healthy relationship because I have more respect for both my partner and myself.
Looking to the Future of Our Relationship
Communicating well with my boyfriend, my parents and myself are each equally essential parts of having a healthy relationship. This will become especially important as our relationship becomes more committed. If my boyfriend and I decide to become sexually active, I know now to discuss it clearly with him, ask my parents for support, and reflect upon what I personally want as well. Even though it has been difficult, I’m glad I’ve practiced communicating in all aspects of my relationship because now I have faith in my parents, my boyfriend, and most importantly, myself.
Hannah is a 17-year-old contributor from Tennessee.
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