By Eleanor Beeslaar, HRI Graduate Assistant

A big part of developing healthy dating relationships is knowing what to look for in a dating partner. Though attraction is an important part of dating, it’s also important to find someone who embodies the qualities of a healthy dating partner. When talking to your teen about dating, help them identify qualities to look for in a dating partner, such as trust and honesty! Be sure to give them space to communicate what they think are important qualities for a healthy dating partner throughout this conversation, as well.

We’ve provided some talking points to help you get started!

Qualities to Look for in a Dating Partner:

  • They support and encourage you through your successes and failures. A healthy partner supports you during life challenges, as well as moments of success and joy! 
  • They treat you with respect and kindness. A healthy dating partner treats you with respect and kindness even during arguments or moments of conflict. 
  • They communicate their thoughts and feelings openly and honestly, while giving you space to do the same. This is a key quality in a dating partner, as open and honest communication is a foundational element in building healthy relationships. 
  • They support your independence and individuality. A healthy dating partner is supportive of your relationships with others and they encourage you to engage in your dreams, passions, and hobbies. They don’t keep you from spending time with friends and family, and they 
  • They respect your boundaries. In a healthy relationship, both partners respect each other’s wants, needs, and limits. They are willing to have an ongoing and open conversation about boundaries and are respectful of any boundary changes that occur throughout the relationship. 
  • They are caring and honest. A healthy dating partner is honest with you and shows you that they care for you through their attitude, words, and actions.
  • They listen to your ideas and are willing to compromise. A healthy dating partner is open to listening to what you have to say and respect your opinions, beliefs, and values even if they don’t always agree. They are also willing to compromise in your relationship!

Today’s blog was adapted from information provided loveisrespect.org.

As we wrap up our Talking to Teens about Dating series, we hope you have learned some helpful tips to build your relationship with your teen as you help them navigate this new life stage!