We brought together young people from five countries in southern Africa to ask them what the biggest issues were for them and their peers when it came to protecting their sexual health.
It might surprise you to hear that their answers weren’t just about accessing services or getting condoms, but were about avoiding ‘unhealthy’ relationships.
But we get that knowing when something’s wrong with your relationship isn’t always easy, so together we came up with 5 signs that the person you are with might not be right for you.
1. You’re not communicating
Feeling like you can’t talk to your partner can make you feel stuck or lonely in your relationship. In some cases it might even mean that you end up doing things that you don’t want to.
When it comes to sex and your sexual health, it’s so important that you and your partner feel able to chat about your desires, boundaries, and how you can play safe.
Talking through these things can make you and your partner feel closer, make sex more fun and even help you look after your sexual health.
2. You don’t trust each other
Without trust in a relationship talking about sex and sexual health can be difficult. There might be things that you want to share with your partner without everyone else knowing.
It’s ok to build trust up slowly and to take things at your own pace, but if you really feel like you can’t talk to your partner about things that are bothering you, it could be a sign that they are not right for you.
3. They’re controlling
Good relationships are ones where both partners have equal say when making decisions. It shouldn’t be that one person always calls the shots or controls what the other one does.
In particular, if you don’t feel like you have control over whether or not you use a condom or safe have sex, it could be a sign that things aren’t working out in the relationship.
4. You feel pressured into having sex
If you’re having sex, it is crucial that both partners feel ready and are having a good time. Feeling pressured to have sex or worrying that you can’t tell your partner that you’re not ready, might be a sign that the relationship is putting you in situations that you don’t want to be in.
They’re quite a bit older
You might have heard the saying ‘age is just a number’… but actually, lots of people find that dating somebody much older than them can change the dynamic in the relationship, making them feel less able to speak up.
Dating an older person might have benefits if you are given gifts or other such things, but it can have its drawbacks. Feeling like you owe your partner something can mean that you end up feeling under pressure to do things you don’t want to do. This is not ok.
Written by Francesca Harrington-Edmans (avert.com).