Learn about healthy relationships

A 17-year-old young man, Tyler, came in to the clinic to update his immunizations as well as to get a sports physical for participation in football. As part of taking his health history, he revealed that his relationship with his girlfriend of nine months was very stormy; on again, off again. When it was on, she would scroll through his cell phone calls and question him about each one he received. She also was known to call every hour to check where he was during the day. If he tried to break up, she would fly into a rage screaming cuss words and insults. Later, she would apologize, cry, and then threaten suicide until he gave in and agreed to stay together.

Is this a healthy relationship? No, we don’t think so either. As you can see, abusive relationships don’t always leave scars and bruises you can see. What we call emotional manipulation and control can be just as damaging and hurtful.

We spent a great deal of time helping Tyler understand his relationship was abusive and got him help, as well as offering guidance and counseling for his girlfriend.

You should be having the time of your life learning, growing, and gaining independence. Be smart and choosy. Select friends who not only have similar interests as you have, but they are happy with themselves and don’t bring you down emotionally.

Check out the movie, Swimfan, for a look at a really abusive, dangerous relationship.

Whether your relationship is casual, serious, short-term or long-term, it is important to know what key ingredients make up a healthy relationship. It is just as necessary to know what defines a bad or toxic relationship and how to handle it.