He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not

About 1.5 million American high school students admit to being physically hurt by their partners or someone they’ve been romantically involved with in the past year. When interviewing Nicki Herbert, licensed professional counselor (LPC-S) and licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT), I got more insight into what it is like treating young girls dealing with toxic relationships. Hebert has been working with children, adolescents, and their families since 2000. She describes a lot of the girls she sees as very intelligent and involved in their churches- ideal young ladies – and a majority of them are in unhealthy relationships.

Hebert says to ask yourself the question, How consistent can boys be in relationships? She explains, “We don’t want someone that gets so invested in a girl that they get mean and controlling, that’s the first red flag.” When asked to elaborate, Hebert explained that the person you’re talking to or dating should never pull you away from your friends. Your partner should encourage you to have your own activities. Another thing to consider is if your friends and family don’t like him, sometimes they know you better than you know yourself, so it’s important to at least hear them out. 

Even if you yourself aren’t in an unhealthy relationship odds are you know someone who is. So how can you help friends get out of these situations? Hebert suggests the following:

  • Give her commitments she can’t get out of like going shopping, going out to lunch, going to see a movie, etc.
  • Let her know you’re concerned but ALWAYS be supportive
  • Encourage her to talk to an adult or someone who can help
  • Don’t be judgmental or criticize  

The more she pulls away from her toxic partner the less connection they will have, but why is it so hard for people to leave these types of relationships? We go back to the things that are familiar because that’s all we know, and thinking about the unknown can be really scary. Think back to your first day at SSA; the thought of not knowing what to expect can be overwhelming, but once you get the hang of things, you meet some of the most amazing people and make lifelong memories. That’s what getting out of an unhealthy relationship can feel like. 

It’s important that girls never lose themselves in a relationship. Your relationship should never be your identity or your main source of happiness. It is your responsibility to make yourself happy. 

If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, call the domestic abuse hotline at (800)-799-7233 or text 88788. You can do hard things!