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Re: Romantic and Sexual Relationships: Special Discussion

Hey @Jess1-RO - nice discussion topic .

 

What are some “healthy” relationship challenges?

 

Every relationships has it's challenges - even the best kinds. Challenges in healthy relationships can arise when making "big life decisions", because you're no longer just making decisions for yourself, but have to consider the other person too. For example, buying your first property with someone can be hard, especially if you have two different things in mind, and want to live in different areas. 

 

What are your “deal breakers” (challenges that overstep your boundaries) 

 

I can't be with someone who sees the world vastly differently from me, or with someone who has very different values, opinions, and future aspirations. For example, I would struggle to be with someone who is homophobic, racist and judgmental of others. Compromise is also huge - I couldn't be with someone who doesn't compromise or is selfish. Healthy relationships are about give and take Smiley Happy

 

What do you think is most important when handling conflict with your partner?

 

Speaking openly, honestly and respectfully is huge. Remaining calm, compromising, and trying to put yourself in the other person's shoes. 

Re: Romantic and Sexual Relationships: Special Discussion

I actually love all of these responses and couldn’t agree more.
You’ve all put it into very good words 😃

Re: Romantic and Sexual Relationships: Special Discussion

I'v really enjoyed reading over all of these responses! Thank you everyone, I will ponder these questions and reply soon Smiley Happy
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Re: Romantic and Sexual Relationships: Special Discussion

I've loved reading everyone's answers! Smiley Happy I'm kind of late to this thread but here goes:

1. What do you think makes a healthy relationship different from an unhealthy one? (Can be romantic, sexual, companionate etc)
I think a healthy relationship has both members contributing to it and both are benefiting from it in some way. I agree with @recharging_introvert that being yourself is a good sign of a healthy relationship! Another good sign is being able to have discussions without them always turning into fights. Also feeling as though you can trust them. If you feel like you have to change your partner then it's probably not a healthy relationship. It's also not a good sign if they have a history of betraying people or treating them badly.

2. What do you value in a relationship, and why do you think people look for romantic or sexual relationships? Are there benefits?
Things in common (opposites usually don't attract), honesty, loyalty, a sense of humour, understanding, support, respect, someone I can be myself around and want to be around, a friend as well as a partner.
I think people generally look for partners based on proximity and what they have in common.
One of the benefits of romantic relationships is that they can improve our wellbeing and health. Smiley Happy

3. How do you know if you are ready for a relationship?
This is not really something that I've thought about but I've found that feeling self-confident, capable and being in a good headspace has enriched my relationships. When I'm not feeling those things, my relationships tend to not be as good. Those things help me to realise what I deserve in a relationship.

What are some “healthy” relationship challenges?
Not major betrayals (although some people can overcome them). Challenges where you can reasonably feel as though you can work them out.

What are your “deal breakers” (challenges that overstep your boundaries) 
Controlling people or people who do things that conflict with my values and beliefs. I also get angry when people make excuses or try to justify major betrayals instead of offering actual apologies or acknowledging my feelings. Another thing is when they point out things about your appearance and try to get you to change them, or they give you backhanded compliments such as 'I never did like people of your race, but you're an exemption'. I also can't be with a person who constantly lies or doesn't portray themselves accurately, such as by having a double life, or people who take but never give anything in return.

What do you think is most important when handling conflict with your partner?
- Trying to empathise with them.
- Working out a solution together.
- Weighing up the importance of the issue.
- Not raising your voice.
- Staying calm.
- Being respectful.
- Not catastrophising.
- Using whole messages.

Re: Romantic and Sexual Relationships: Special Discussion

Definitely agree with you, @WheresMySquishy that having shared values is super important to me too. Thought I might also add my answers to these questions too Smiley Happy

 

What are some “healthy” relationship challenges? 

Relationships will have ups and downs, that's a part of life and 100% okay! I think that working through healthy challenges such as expressing different perspectives on a situation, working through a hiccup or misunderstanding, and negotiating life together, can strengthen or break a relationship. Healthy challenges are the every day things that you work through together. Over time as you get to know someone, you may find ways of working through these challenges together that maximise each of your unique strengths. 

 

Sometimes I think it is easier to name the challenges I don't see as healthy for example, abuse, disrespect, bullying or taunting, putting down, intentionally hurting etc. In these cases, I think that doing what ensures your safety first is more important- every person deserves to feel safe and respected in relationships. If you don't feel safe- trust your gut!

 

What are your “deal breakers” (challenges that overstep your boundaries) 

A lot of my deal breakers relate to challenges that indicate we don't share the same values or approaches to life. For example, I am a family person, and I really value the role of family in my life. I would find it hard to be with someone who clashes with my family or puts them down. Respect is also big, and I would hope that there is a mutual respect- if there isn't that's a deal breaker for me. 

 

What do you think is most important when handling conflict with your partner?

Communication is everything. Being able to respectfully communicate and work through challenges as a team is crucial to getting through the tough times.

 

I recently heard of this approach to communication in relationships that talks about love languages, which focuses on understanding the different ways that individuals express themselves, love and affection. Definitely helped me be mindful that the ways I communicate and express love may be different to others, and make a conscious effort to try new ways to communicate when I need to. 

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Re: Romantic and Sexual Relationships: Special Discussion

PART 3: Sex and relationships  

 

**Note: This part of the discussion we will be discussing the importance of consent. 

 

We spoke about the role of sexual and romantic relationships in our lives, what makes a healthy relationship, and what the red flags may look like. Let’s dig a bit deeper and talk about a big topic for young people when it comes to relationships; sex! 

 

If you're having sex, or thinking about it, you've probably got a lot of questions. There are a lot of things to consider when it comes to sex, and these next discussion questions will look at choice, consent and where you can find more information.

 

lets talk GIF by Much

 

Discussion: 

 

1. Where can I get support/advice for making choices about my sex life? 

 

2. How would you best describe what it means to give consent? 

 

3. What would you like to know more about romantic and sexual relationships? 

 

 

Want to read more about Romantic and Sexual Relationships? We got you covered! ReachOut has articles on relationships, sex, consent, managing pressures of a relationship and so many more!

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Re: Romantic and Sexual Relationships: Special Discussion

1. Where can I get support/advice for making choices about my sex life? 

 I usually turn to the Internet for information. There are some helpful websites dedicated to this topic such as this one  and this one. ReachOut has a lot of helpful resources too! I found this website really useful when I had health problems.
I also found my gynecologist and GP really helpful in answering my questions.

2. How would you best describe what it means to give consent? 

 I think consent should be explicit. 'I'm not sure' or not saying anything does not mean that a person has consented. Consent can also be revoked at any time. I also think that people who are drunk or under the influence of a drug might not be able to consent.

3. What would you like to know more about romantic and sexual relationships?
I would like to see more websites and campaigns explaining the truth behind myths about contraception, virginity and sex because there is a lot of misinformation out there. Even though I come from a medical family, they still get a lot of things wrong, which I've had to clarify with my gynecologist and GP.

Re: Romantic and Sexual Relationships: Special Discussion

1. Good question, I don't really know. Looking forward to read about how other's answer this question. I've been to GP's for contraception, but that's about the extent seeking support/advice has gone for me. Actually, add in a book and internet searches.

 

2. I think giving consent is about an enthusiastic yes meaning yes, and anything else meaning no. And it doesn't count if they're being pressured or coerced into it, or if they are too young to legally consent, or like @WheresMySquishy said if their decision making is affected by drugs or alcohol. Also yes to one thing doesn't mean yes to everything

 

3. As a married 23 year old things I want to know more about are largely inappropriate for this site, haha... I guess I want to be on an ongoing journey of an increasingly fulfilling sex life for myself and my partner (which we are). My first couple of years having sex involved a lot of discomfort and not a lot of pleasure though. I think my and my partner's religious upbringing and views at the time created a difficult dynamic, where we got married and sexual elements of our relationship went from basically 'categorically not ok- you're not married!' to 'pretty much everything's expected, you're married' overnight. And it wasn't until a couple of years later (this year) I really started to figure out what I like in sex. That was prompted by stumbling across a sexually explicit meme page which helped me realise what options were out there and what sounded like I'd like it. It's been fun exploring that. For the sake of younger me I wish there was more accessible information about how to figure out what you like sexually, and less shame about exploring this

Re: Romantic and Sexual Relationships: Special Discussion

So great to see this conversation continuing!

 

@WheresMySquishy: I've just had a look at the links you provided and they look super informative- I am someone who likes to cross check my facts, so looking and multiple sources of information is super helpful. I also think you are right in saying that seeking expert medical advice is a great way to ensure one has the right information about sex. The internet can have a lot of information, but for information you can trust, speaking to a GP or medical expert is always a safe bet to ensure that you have all the facts. 

 

@hellofriend: I think the way you described consent is really important, particularly this sentence: "Also yes to one thing doesn't mean yes to everything". Consent is something that can be withdrawn at any point. 

 

You also mentioned your interest seeing more information available about sex that can help improve the fulfillment of a person's sex life. Learning about your body, your partner's body and what you both like can really add to the experience for you both, and I definitely agree there is a gap in information here. The experience of sex, and personal likes/preferences/experiences that feel good to an individual, is still a topic that is not always openly discussed. I have noticed there have been more books, podcasts and online articles exploring the topic of working towards a fulfilling sex life, but still not easy to find.

 

Even resources around how to start conversations with your sexual partner to understand what each person likes and doesn't like before, during and after sex is also lacking and would help both trust building and working towards a fulfilling sex life.

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