On social media platforms, most modern high school romance is portrayed as healthy and positive. From movies to shows, to songs, all of which influence younger audiences, love is often described as perfect. A person’s teenage years bring some of the most beautiful and exciting experiences in life, one of these experiences being first love, but like everything, it can go wrong. Surprisingly, according to dosomething.org, a global movement of young people making positive change, 33% of those “happy” couples are in a toxic relationship.
As a relationship begins, those in the relationship either grow together or hold each other back. “It can [begin] as extreme as [to] abuse, mental, physical, or emotional, but it can be subtle things that people don’t realize as well,” chemistry and physics teacher, Ms. Perfecto, said.
Signs of a toxic partner can take time to show up. M.L, a student who wishes to remain anonymous, shared that there are many signs indicating the beginning of an unhealthy relationship. “They [can] try to control what you do, make you do things you don’t want to, peer pressure you, or use you for their own benefit,” M.L said. Although it can be difficult to separate from a toxic partner, a person’s friends are their best supporters. “I remember one time when I cut [a toxic partner] off. It was because a guy friend let me know, and it opened my eyes… Listen to your good friends. Your friends just know,” Perfecto said.
According to psychologytoday.com, harmful partners can lead to anxiety and depression. A teenager’s mental health can be affected way more than realized. “It lowers self-esteem, sometimes making you feel worthless,” Ashley Jacobo, a junior, said. Although a toxic relationship can bring you down, “Don’t let yourself get pushed around, you may just [want to] make the other person happy, but you and your safety matter more in the long run,” M.L said.