Dating With Safety

Great and thriving dating relationships are built on safety, which provides the best possible environment for emotional intimacy to develop. Since emotional intimacy takes people to some of the most vulnerable places a relationship can go, the risks are great. To have a foundation of safety built into your relationship makes opening up significantly easier.

In order to create a safe and healthy dating relationship, both individuals must be committed to protecting themselves as well as their partner.

The bottom line: Healthy dating entails both rights and responsibilities.

Dating bill of rights and responsibilities

(adapted from

You have certain rights and responsibilities in a dating relationship. Here are some examples. Personalize these for yourself, and make a commitment to stick by them.

I have the right:

  • To be treated with respect always
  • To be in a healthy relationship
  • To not be abused – physically, sexually, or emotionally
  • To respect and value my body, feelings, beliefs, and property
  • To have friends and activities apart from my boyfriend or girlfriend
  • To set limits and values
  • To say no
  • To feel safe in the relationship
  • To be treated as an equal
  • To feel comfortable being myself
  • To leave a relationship

I have the responsibility:

  • To determine my limits and values
  • To respect my boyfriend's or girlfriend's limits, values, feelings, and beliefs
  • To refuse to abuse – physically, sexually, or emotionally
  • To be considerate
  • To communicate clearly and honestly
  • To give my boyfriend or girlfriend space to be his or her own person
  • To not exert power or control in the relationship
  • To compromise when needed
  • To admit to being wrong when appropriate
  • To ask for help from friends, family, and trusted adults
Gary J. Oliver, ThM, PhD
Executive Director at Center for Healthy Relationships | + posts

Dr. Oliver is the Executive Director of The Center for Healthy Relationships, and professor of Psychology and Practical Theology at John Brown University.  He has authored over 20 books and more than 350 professional and popular articles.  Dr. Oliver has over 40 years’ experience as a Clinical Psychologist, Marriage  & Family Therapist and Spiritual Director.  He leads seminars & workshops both nationally and internationally on a variety of counseling-related issues, healthy relationships as well as Emotional & Relational Intelligence (ERI).

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