Everyone desires to be loved and
accepted and there is absolutely
nothing wrong with that.
Yet true love is self-less and respectful.
If someone cannot give you that, then they don't deserve a place in your life.
It is healthy to set boundaries in a relationship. Even before getting into a relationship you should set your own personal boundaries and a method of accountability. Communication is key. You should feel safe sharing your boundaries with your partner. A key sign of an unhealthy relationship is if your partner demeans or disregards your boundaries.
You should feel safe discussing uncomfortable topics with your partner. In a healthy relationship you should be able to state your opinion and work through an issue without feeling dismissed, demeaned, or threatened. Of course, you need to be able to give your partner the same respect.
Signs of an Unhealthy Relationship
Does the person I am with....
Disrespect me or others
Always check up on me
Demands my constant attention or time
Sets limits on who I talk to or spend time with
Undermine my talents, goals or appearance
Make threats against me or others
Force me to have any type of physical contact
Ever use drugs or alcohol to get me to do things
Gets angry easily and cannot work through a conflict
Ever slapped, hit, punched me - even jokingly
Refuse to get to know my family
Try to control my decisions
If ANY of these are true of your relationship you may be in an unhealthy or abusive relationship
(Hope Haven flier, n.d.)
Internet and Social Media Safety...
Once you post something online you no longer have a lot of control over who or how that information is used.
Here are a couple safety tips...
Change your privacy settings
Avoid public Wi-Fi services
Ask permission before posting personal information about some else and ask that they do the same for you
Refuse access to your physical location - some sites make this information public
Before you post something personal ask yourself if you are comfortable with anyone having access to it, even with privacy settings there is always a safety risk.
Report to the site host anything that makes you uncomfortable
If you ever come across images or content regarding abuse of a child report them to the CyberTipline
Meeting an Online Friend
Meet in a public place until they earn your trust. Have your own ride to and from the destination.
Let a friend know the who, where, when, and how long of the meeting. Have them check in with you at a specific time.
Wait to reveal too much personal information until they've gained your trust.
Have an exit plan for if you feel uncomfortable or threatened.
If you are traveling a long distance for this encounter have your own resources in place. Find your own lodging, pay for your own travel, or have a friend travel with you. You may consider having a video chat before meeting for the first time.
Go Out in Groups
Arrive together and leave together. Watch out for each other and step in if something doesn't seem right.
Know Your Limits
Don't drink on an empty stomach and drink plenty of water. Be aware of how you are feeling and your personal consumption limits.
Trust Your Instincts
If you feel unsafe or uncomfortable at any point remove yourself from the situation.
Abbey, A. (2001). The relationship between the quantity of alcohol consumed and the severity of sexual assaults committed by college men. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 18(7).
Greenfeld, L. A. (1997). Sex offenses and offenders: An analysis of data on rape and sexual assault. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics. Retrieved from
Hope Haven. (n.d.) Dating violence flier
TheMamaBearEffect.org. (n.d.) Image retrieved from
Maraboli, S. (n.d.) Image retrieved from
Palmer, J. E. (2016). Recognizing the continuum of opportunities for third parties to prevent and respond to sexual assault and dating violence on a college campus. Crime Prevention and Community Safety, 18(1), 1-18. doi:
Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network. (2017). Alcohol safety. Retrieved from
Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network. (2017). Meeting offline. Retrieved from
Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network. (2017). Steps you can take to prevent sexual assault. Retrieved from
Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network. (2017). Social media safety. Retrieved from
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Wolchin, R. (n.d.) Image retrieved from