For many young adults, being in a relationship can be a fun aspect to their lives. It’s considered exciting and thrilling at times, but not always exactly how it was planned to be in the first place. Many teenage relationships spiral into complications, potentially winding through the cycle of abuse. It kills me to see such a large amount of my friends and peers slipping down this path. A lot of times they’re aware of the abusive warning signs, but the comfort they find in having a boyfriend/girlfriend outweighs the negative aspects for them, and thus they stay together.
In my personal experience, it seems impossible talk them out of the relationship, or have them see what everyone else sees. I’ve come to output a lot of advice to my friends over my three years in high school so far, that it’s become apparent to my attention that commonly, those in abusive relationships simply fear to be alone. They fear being single. So I stopped the usual “wow he’s so mean to you”, “you need to get out of the relationship” type of advice, and decided to paint the picture for them, of what it’s like when they recover. I understand that the first few weeks after a break up are heart wrenching and painful for anybody. But, when that’s over, it’s so worth it for all the positive things to enjoy in life. So these are the five different reasons that I like to tell my friends, to help them see that being single isn’t so bad!
1. Independence: Not having a spouse controlling you means more time to think and do for yourself. We are still so young and we have so much to discover, I know it’s cliche... but we only live once. So don’t live trapped under somebody’s wrath, live for yourself. Take the time to discover who you are, what your values/morals are and what means the most to you. It’s what being a teenager is all about.
2. More time to do more things: Being single means more time to build closer relationships with your friends and family. Believe it or not, they can make you just as happy as a significant other could, if you let them. Being single also means more time to focus on school and activities, which paths to a brighter future and ultimately will benefit you more in life than being in a relationship, especially an abusive one.
3. One less thing to worry about: In my opinion, there’s a lot to stress about at the high school age... college, parents, sense of self, friendships, rumors - all that fun stuff - being out of an abusive relationship means one less thing to drag you down and stress about.
4. You are healthier if you are happily single: The initial devastation of a break up does not last forever, I’m a big believer in that everything can heal with time. Even though it may be hard to see right now, you WILL get over the relationship. Keep an open mind to the happier you that awaits in the future after an end is put to the relationship.
5. Freedom to find someone who will love and care for you in healthy ways: Why stay in an abusive relationship when you could be out freely trying to find a better person for you? Other people are out there. When one door closes another opens, so close the door on abuse and allow yourself to let brighter people into your life.
Written by Beth Self, Peer Educator