As February approaches we can’t help but feel the need to show our love for the ones we hold most dear to our hearts. Store shelves are filled with teddy bears, red hearts, roses, and any other items to be bought for our significant other to show our affection. I can’t help but wonder where this holiday originated. An anonymous writer concluded that it all began with pagan belief, holding the feast of Lupercalia now thought to be celebrations of Valentine’s day. The feast was essentially a lottery of women, celebrating by putting women’s names into a box to be drawn out by men. This custom was abolished by clergymen and instead of women’s names being drawn they were replaced by saints. St. Valentine was chosen to uphold this celebration due to the meaning of his name, “meaning sweetheart or gallant.” (anonymous, 1932).Originally the celebration of the ones we love most came from a feast that stripped women of their rights by raffling and selling them off… I am so blessed that I live in a time that has evolved around upholding equality and fighting for human rights and social justice.
On a lighter note, now we have a holiday devoted to celebrating the ones we love most. Here are a few SAFETY TIPS for you teens who are dating (Aubri, 2017):
KEEP YOUR PARENTS IN THE LOOP
- Let your parents know who you will be with, what you are doing, and when you think you will be home.
- “Worse case scenario: something bad happens and they know where to find you.”
- “Second worst case scenario: they stalk you and your date…which they won’t do! Keep the lines of communication open and the trust high. Just tell them upfront what they need to know.” (Aubri, 2017)
STAY IN WELL-LIT PLACES
- Usually bad things happen in places that have poor lighting like an alleyway, not that your date would take you there and if they did RUN! Good lighting could prevent something bad from happening and if something did then others are more likely to help. (Aubri, 2017)
GO ON GROUP DATES OR PLAN TO BE AROUND OTHER PEOPLE
- Group dates are great because tension is eased with friends are around and you get to see how they interact with others.
- The chances of an awkward situation (or even dangerous) situation are less likely because there are other people there who will have your back (Aubri, 2017).
LOOK FOR AN EXIT
- Always be aware of your surroundings to avoid getting trapped into a bad situation.
TAKE YOUR CURFEW SERIOUSLY
- Although curfews may seem like nagging, they are a good thing. “Physiologically, the later it gets, the worse off you are. When we get tired our judgment becomes skewed and we don’t have as much control over our decisions.” (Aubri, 2017)
- Be sure to abide by the curfew that you and your parents decided on, it will ensure your overall safety. Another helpful tip: make sure your date knows when curfew is at the beginning of the date so you can budget your time accordingly.
KNOW (AT LEAST) BASIC SELF-DEFENSE TECHNIQUES
- I am currently in college and was able to take it through an offered course. Everyone should at least be aware of a few self-defense techniques to be prepared for any dangerous situations.
- Take a class if you can, or at least read through this helpful article.
DON’T EVER TAKE FOOD/DRINK FROM ANYONE AT A PARTY OR EVENT
- “Don’t even leave your food/drink unattended. Date rape drugs are real and so are the consequences. And it might happen to a friend, so be aware that these drugs don’t always cause someone to pass out. If your friend is acting weird, has slurred speech, struggles remembering things or is walking funny, immediately call for help and take them to the nearest hospital. Make sure your friends also know these red flags and know what to do in this situation.” (Aubri, 2017)
NOTIFY YOUR PARENTS (OR IN SERIOUS SITUATIONS THE POLICE) IF YOU NEED HELP
- “If things even begin to get uncomfortable, tell your parents to come get you. You can even use a code word or message so it’s not awkward if your date/friends are looking at your phone. (This article is awesome for that!)”
- “In serious or dangerous situations, you may need to call the police. Parents (and officers) are there to help you and they won’t be angry at you for calling/texting.” (Aubri, 2017)
FOCUS ON DEVELOPING A PLATONIC FRIENDSHIP
- “Especially if you don’t know your date very well, focus on developing a friendship. You’ll have more fun, you’ll get to know your date in the process, and you’ll increase your chances of safe dating. Getting steamy early on is not conducive to a meaningful, healthy, and safe relationship.” (Aubri, 2017)
DON’T ACCEPT ALCOHOL OR DRUGS
- “This one should be obvious. Whatever your date is offering (along with the alcohol or drugs) is NOT worth it. Firmly say “No!” and get out of the situation as safely as possible.” (Aubri, 2017)
DON’T MEET UP WITH SOMEONE YOU’VE ONLY TALKED TO ONLINE
- “Online dating, in general, can be less safe. Online dating as a teen is even riskier. Sometimes older men will target young women (this is highly illegal). Keep that in mind and don’t post any personal information. If you do decide you want to date someone online, include your parents in the process. It’s vital to have another pair of eyes looking for red flags. This article by match.com highlights some potential red flags.” (Aubri, 2017)
Safety tips found on pinterest by Aubri, 2017
For those who are currently in a relationship, here are a few tips for developing a stronger bond and love for one another.
“No relationship is perfect. Every relationship takes work each and every day. You are constantly learning something new about each other. There will be times when you may not see eye to eye and there will be times when you may not agree…” -Duclos, E. 2019
COMMUNICATION IS KEY
Relationships will never be perfect and if that is the only thing you strive for then maybe a relationship may not be realistic. Moving past that, there will be times when you and your partner do not see eye to eye. In this case TALK IT OUT! Communication is the key to keeping a healthy relationship, it is important to express when you are upset otherwise the problem can never be resolved. “You can only make each other happy if you know how to.”
THE 5 LOVE LANGUAGES
“If you have never heard of the five love languages then let me explain a little.
A love language is the way you “receive love.” I once read this book ‘The 5 Love Languages’ by Gary Chapman and learned a lot!! I recommend this book to everyone. You can receive love 5 different ways; through: acts of service, words of affirmation, physical touch, receiving gifts, or quality time. It’s essential to figure out you and your partner’s love language so that you can show each other love in the correct ways.
Remember that your love language can be different than your partners. The way you enjoy receiving love is not always the same way your partner enjoys receiving love. Sometimes we forget that and instead of showing our partner love the way they want, we end up showing them love the way we want.
This book really changed the way I viewed my relationship and it also made me a more loving partner.
You can also take the quiz & find out your love language here” (Duclos, 2019)
NEVER GO BED UPSET
Personally I have learned that going to bed upset can make it upsetting to lay next to your partner and this is not a healthy habit to have. It can increase the situation negatively and cause there to be more tension than needed. “ALWAYS communicate your problems and make sure you two can go to bed happy with each other.”
ALWAYS DISCUSS, TRY NOT TO ARGUE
Yelling may seem like it is helping to get the point across but it usually ends up in a yelling match making matters worse. Talking out the situation in a mild tone of voice can get the point across. If you need time to collect yourself and your thoughts, do so. Jumping right into a stressful situation without having your thoughts collected may end up in exchanging hurtful words that you don’t mean.
“Don’t lie or try and hide anything from one another. It is important to be open and honest with your partner. If your partner finds out from another source (which he/she eventually will) it can lead to disappointment, arguments, and trust issues. Avoid this easily by being honest.” (Duclos, 2019)
SHOW AFFECTION, KEEP THE ROMANCE ALIVE
“Have you ever heard someone say, “Are you two still in the honeymoon phase?” I sure have. Then I find myself wondering, the honeymoon phase has to come to an end? The answer is, no, it really doesn’t. Show love and affection towards each other daily and that honeymoon phase will never end. I know some days are busier than others but, to make the effort to kiss each other day and night is quite a simple task. Don’t you think? Or even complimenting each other daily. Try to cook dinner and have a romantic night in just the two of you, once a week. Why not? Although I know with children it can be hard at times. Don’t give up though. Always kiss each other goodnight.” (Duclos, 2019)
QUALITY TIME IS IMPORTANT
It is especially important to carve out some time to spend with your significant other when you have such a busy schedule. I know personally being a full time student, working, and having an internship that there may seem like no extra time at all, but trust me there is. For my partner and I we usually set time aside to do home cooked meals at dinner time and sometimes breakfast. Set aside some time to really invest in your partner and choose something consistent and fun to do.
GO OUTSIDE YOUR COMFORT ZONE
“You will appreciate keeping the relationship exciting. Go out of your comfort zones and try something new together. Whether it be a new restaurant or activity such as sky diving! (okay it doesn’t have to be that extreme, but you get my point!) Have some fun! It can also rekindle that flame!” (Duclos, 2019)
LISTEN TO AND SUPPORT YOUR PARTNER
Be your partner’s cheerleader, metaphorically speaking unless you are in the same situation as I am where I cheer for my partner on the sidelines during his football games. As I am constantly hyping up the crowd doing crazy stunts to have the crowd interact and cheering for their team, you should be cheering and supporting your partner. Engage in conversations and be their person when they are going through a rough day or are eager to share an amazing day. Have empathy, show your partner you are with them through the good and bad days.
DON’T COMPARE YOUR RELATIONSHIP, EVER!
“It’s so easy to compare your relationship to someone else’s. Why is it that, as humans, we always look for more? We are never happy with what we have? Or maybe we are, we just fail to appreciate it. When you start to compare your relationship to someone else’s, you start to be unappreciative of what you have. No relationship is the same and no relationship is perfect.
It may look like ‘Jim and Sally’ have a ‘perfect’ relationship on the outside but you don’t know what it’s really like. The only way to know is if you were them. Focus on your relationship and the reasons why you are in it.” (Duclos, 2019)
Relationships are a lot of work, but when you are with the right person, it’s all worth it.
Relationship tips found on pinterest by Duclos, 2019
Aubri. (2017, March 10). Safe Teen Dating: 22 Tips for Parents and Teens. Retrieved from https://thediylighthouse.com/the-captains-log-diy/safe-teen-dating-22-tips-for-parents-and-teens/
Anonymous. (1932). St. Valentine’s Day. Leatherneck (pre-1998), 15(2), 25-26.
Duclos, E. (2019, December 10). 10 Things to Remember in a Relationship… Retrieved from https://www.ellduclos.blog/10-relationship-reminders/