Episode 126: "What if I want to break up, but I'm afraid of my partner's friends?"Support the show
On today’s episode, we’re answering a question from local teens about being afraid of a partner’s friends.
This is Jessica Skultety, Outreach and Prevention Manager at Safe+Sound Somerset. We are Somerset County, New Jersey's lead domestic and sexual violence response organization, providing services at no charge to survivors for over 40 years.
Today's question from local teens is: “Dear Ava, What if I want to break up, but I’m afraid of my partner’s friends?”
This is a situation we hear about often from teens. Whatever reason you are afraid of your partners friends, you don’t have to prove why you feel that way. Your feelings matter, so listen to your gut. In this situation, it sounds like your partner’s friends have given you reason to feel unsafe. This is not your fault and there are some things to think about when leaving a relationship like this. Besides partners, other people can be abusive, like friends and family.
Whatever reason you want to break up with your partner is also valid. Whether or not your partner is being abusive, you are allowed to fall out of love, or leave for whatever reason. That’s part of what makes a relationship healthy: that both people know they can freely leave. You never have to stay in a relationship you don’t want to be in.
A good first step for being afraid of your partner’s friend, is to find a trusted adult you can trust with the situation. This person can listen to you and support whatever you decide. Some people that teens often look for are: a parent, guardian, family member like an aunt, uncle, or grandparent, family friend, coach, teacher, administrator, counselor, or friend’s parent.
If you’re in danger or there’s an emergency, call 911.
You can also choose to safety plan in advance of your break up. Safety planning can look like: letting a trusted adult or close friend know where you are going and what you are doing. You can making your social media profiles private if they aren’t already, to protect from harmful comments. You could block social media profiles and phone numbers. At school, stay with your friends as much as possible, and eat lunch or talk near the teachers and school staff. You might take a different route home from school, work, or extracurricular activities.
There are some safety planning tips on our website – www.safe-sound.org. At the top, click the tab for safety planning, and click the link for “Teen Safety Planning.” You can also call or text our helpline to safety plan with a trained advocate.
To speak with an expert about relationship or sexual violence, call or text the Safe+Sound Somerset 24/7 confidential helpline at 866-685-1122 for supportive listening, information, and safety planning.
Want to “Ask Ava” a question? Visit our website at www.safe-sound.org/ask-ava. Thank you for listening today. Join us next time here on Ask Ava.