From Will and Kate to Chris Brown and Rihanna, Paul and Linda McCartney to Ike and Tina Turner, it’s easy to spot the bad relationships, especially when placed alongside healthy, caring ones.
But for young people just starting out on the crazy, complex journey of adult relationships, with constantly shifting rules and feelings, it can all be a little tough. One of the first things to understand is that there is certainly compromise, but also a red line, limits on what you will and will not accept. Just ask Sarah Bingham.
“I went out with a guy who played football in high school,” Bingham, the public education coordinator for Lanark County Interval House, said. “I went to football games. I don’t anymore. I tried it, and I didn’t like it. I’m more of a hockey gal.”
Bingham was speaking at the “Could This Be Love?” conference, sponsored by Interval House, held at the Civitan Club hall in Perth, on Wednesday, Nov. 21.
All relationships involve a fair degree of negotiation, and the partnership must be mutually beneficial.
“You get some perks,” said Bingham. “But is it mutual if only one of you is benefitting? No. What I want in a relationship may be different from what you want in a relationship.”
While TV shows like Gossip Girl and Beverly Hills 90210 may say otherwise, mind games are not fun or funny.
“No mind games, I’m putting this in bold letters,” said Bingham, who added to the hundreds of high school students present that it was important that, in their relationships, “you feel safe in this. That’s the one thing we want you to take away from this. If you’re not free to express yourself, it’s probably not a safe relationship.”
While mind games are not cool to Bingham, a little bit of jealousy might actually be a good thing. A little bit, mind you.
“Who thinks a little bit of jealousy is acceptable?” asked Brianne Luckasavitch, public education coordinator for Lanark County Interval House. As soon as she asked, a lot of hands shot up into the air.
“As long as it is not controlling, a little bit of jealousy is OK,” said Luckasavitch.
Even fighting is reality for all couples, but while the saying goes that all is fair in love and war, in reality, learning to fight fairly is the best way to handle this.
“It’s not about how often you fight, it’s about how you fight,” said Bingham.