Episode 147: "What if my partner pressures me to change my plans after graduation, for them?"Support the show
On today’s episode, we’re answering a question from local teens about when romantic partners try to change your long-term plans.
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 my partner pressures me to change my plans after graduation, for them?”
When it comes down to it, you get to make decisions for your life. Whether or not you make that decision with your current partner is up to you – but you still have every right to choose the best path for you and you alone. A relationships is just one part of our lives. Unfortunately, teens get pressured often to change their plans after high school graduation – whether they will enter the workforce, go on to training or college, pursue a certain career, or even move in with someone.
If a partner is pressuring you to change your plans, this can be a kind of economic abuse. This is for a few reasons. First of all, because it can affect your ability to earn money. This behavior also violates your power and control to make decisions about your financial future. Choosing your education or career bath is part of your personal freedom.
So, the national organization Futures Without Violence recently published a new study on teen economic abuse. In this study, 60% of teens reported that their partner tried to convince them to change their post-graduation plans. 1 in 5 teens did change their plans because they felt threatened, scared, or bullied. Also, 35% of people shared that a past or current partner discouraged or put them down for working towards their career goals.
These numbers are really concerning. Whatever your plans are, you deserve to find a path for yourself. In a healthy relationship, this would look like partners sharing their plans and supporting each other. If someone has a plan that seems unrealistic, the other partner might gently try to talk to them about it and suggest some other path, but that doesn’t mean they are forcing them to change plans.
We have to mention too that a lot of times, someone tries to get their partner to change plans because they want them to stay together, or move in with them. Again, this can’t be forced or pressured. It has to be a conversation and mutual decision between both people.
It is not okay if someone feels scared or bullied into changing their long-term plans. Love isn’t pressure, force, or guilt. Sometimes, after graduation might even mean two partners going their separate ways. That can be hard for people, but that is no excuse for your partner to pressure you.
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.