Family Resources on Healthy Intimacy in a Relationship
Project and Purpose
Intimate relationships are different from other types of relationships in someone’s social network, students will discuss and consider these different types of relationships.
How can healthy intimate relationships fit into a person’s larger social network?
If this lesson was used in the classroom: Students analyzed healthy and unhealthy interactions with a partner within an intimate or romantic relationship. In class students watched a video where an adolescent couple talks about their respectful relationship and a different adolescent discusses a past unhealthy relationship. In groups students discussed various aspects of healthy relationships and how to help a friend who is in a potentially unhealthy relationship.
Getting Ready for the Conversation
The main characters in the video are Blaine and Genevieve who are dating and another adolescent named Grace who was in a relationship with someone who was controlling and manipulative. Blaine and Genevieve discuss openly how their relationship is based on respect for each other (and themselves). Grace discusses how a former partner made their relationship disrespectful, unhealthy and even potentially dangerous. One of Grace’s friends was able to support Grace in seeing the problems within her relationship and helped her break up with her partner.
Many dating and romantic relationships between adolescents are healthy and respectful, but some are not. Adolescents need support in understanding how to maintain healthy relationships and also what actions are needed in case a relationship becomes unhealthy. Be aware that in the video Grace discusses how a former romantic partner was verbally abusive and manipulative.
The Power and Control Wheel showing types of relationship abuse from Love Is Respect:
Article from Love Is Respect on how to help a friend who may be in an abusive relationship or has been assualted:
Parental advice on relationship violence from Love Is Respect:
Constructive Conversation Starters
The first item is for follow-up after participating in class activities.
What qualities of healthy relationships did your group discuss in class? How do these qualities lead to a respectful and healthy relationship? Why is it important to understand what a safe and healthy relationship feels like before dating someone seriously?
What actions could you take to support a friend that you suspect is involved in an unhealthy or disrespectful romantic relationship? Why is it important to take action to help a close friend?
Why is it important to maintain strong relationships with your close friends when you start dating someone new?
What are some warning signs that a relationship is potentially unhealthy or unsafe? What are some of the signs that a romantic relationship is safe and healthy? Why is it important for us to frequently have conversations about dating and romantic relationships?
School to Home Resources on Healthy Intimacy in a Relationship
- A resource for further reading and support can be found at www.loveisrespect.org website operated by the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
- Posters or poster sized pieces of paper
- Markers and writing utensils
Review and restate session norms. These should remind students how to interact and communicate respectfully. The topic involves intimate relationships and should be discussed appropriately. Please note, you need to prepare students because the people in the video will describe dating violence. Essential question should be prominently displayed.
Watch the CWK documentary film clip “Dating and Relationships” Part 1.
Ask students the following questions. Give students time to think and possibly write down some answers or thoughts.
- In the film one couple, Blaine and Geniveve, discuss being respectful of each other’s wishes regarding intimacy. What does this mean?
- How did Grace’s friend help her avoid a potentially dangerous relationship?
- What do you think the role of parents and friends are when someone becomes involves in an intimate relationship?
After students have reflected, have them share some thoughts. You may wish to read students’ comments aloud to the group to keep the comment anonymous and less emotionally charged.
No matter how you feel about an intimate partner or potential intimate partner, no one person can provide all of the social needs of any one person. Even when a person is involved in an intimate relationship or married, relationships with friends and family remain important and necessary.
Using your knowledge of students in the group, place students in groups of 2, 3 or 4. Give each group a poster and markers.
In their groups ask students to develop a list of expectations of what a good friend does when one of their friends is in a healthy intimate relationship and how to be good friend if a friend is in what appears to be an abusive relationship.
On their posters, groups will create a mock up of a billboard for one expectation within a healthy intimate relationship or a quality tip for being a good friend when one of your friends is in an intimate relationship.
[Facilitator note: for additional background on supporting a friend who is a victim of an abusive relationship see the loveisrespect.org website https://www.loveisrespect.org/content/7-ways-not-to-react-when-your-friend-is-sexually-assaulted/ ]
After groups have completed their posters, have each group share their posters and discuss healthy intimate relationships. Provide feedback and encourage positive feedback from all group members.
- Why is it important to respect your partner’s decisions in an intimate relationship?
- How can you be a good friend to someone who is learning about intimate relationships?
- What are the qualities that you should expect when you become involved in an intimate relationship?