Education Standards

Expanding on Healthy Relationships, 9-12 Lesson 2

Expanding on Healthy Relationships, 9-12 Lesson 2

Overview

Building on the Introduction to Healthy Relationships lesson by the same authors, this lesson expands students’ understanding of healthy relationships. Students will review what healthy relationships look and feel like. Students will focus on how to assess the health of their own romantic and platonic relationships. The lesson also expands on power dynamics, boundaries, and consent as appropriate for older high school students. After an in-depth, discussion-based presentation reviewing these concepts, students will apply an evaluation process to review the health of fictional relationships in small groups.

Expanding on Healthy Relationships, 9-10, Lesson 2

Information & Resources for Educators

INSTRUCTIONS FOR THIS SECTION - Please provide information and links that support your lesson and those that can guide educators, families and students to essential and supplemental resources.

 

Information for Educators

Information for virtual adaptation:

 

This lesson was written to be delivered in an in-person environment. If it is used in a virtual learning environment, we recommend delivering it synchronously to promote discussion and interaction between students. For the Barriers Discussion, we recommend using a virtual flip-chart like program such as Google Jamboard or Ideaboardz.

 

More information and resources for students:

 

Direct students to these reliable resources to get any further questions answered:

 

Direct students to these reliable websites for further learning:

 

  • The Planned Parenthood Federation of America Education website offers some helpful insight into sexuality, consent, going to the doctor, and relationship. This is a great place to start if you’re looking for a website that offers answers to your general questions about sexuality!
  • Bedsider is an online birth control support network for young people operated by Power to Decide, the campaign to prevent unplanned pregnancy. Bedsider publishes articles and provides information on where to access birth control, working to ensure that every young person has the power to decide if, when, and under what circumstances to get pregnant.
  • Sex, Etc. is a website, magazine, and newsletter produced for teens by teens. Writers take on different angles of preventing pregnancy, disease transmission, getting and giving consent, and healthy relationships.
  • Scarleteen describes itself as sex education for the real world. They’ve been providing information regarding sexuality, sexual health, and relationships since 1998 through blog posts, messaging boards, and text/chat services. If you’re looking for in-depth information regarding a specific topic, Scarleteen probably has an article about it!
  • That’s Not Cool is a national public education initiative that partners with young people to help raise awareness and bring educational and organizing tools to communities to address dating violence, unhealthy relationships, and digital abuse. Visit their website to get more information about what constitutes dating violence and to get involved!
  • Love is Respect is a project of the National Domestic Violence Hotline and the ultimate resource to empower youth to prevent and end dating abuse. Their purpose is to engage, educate, and empower young people to prevent and end abusive relationships. They offer support, information, and advocacy opportunities to young people looking to get involved. They also have free and confidential phone, live chat, and texting services available.
  • RAINN is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization. RAINN created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline in partnership with local sexual assault service providers across the country. They also have programs available to prevent sexual violence, protect survivor healing, and ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice.
  • The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ+ young people under 25 years old. They offer crisis interventions, suicide prevention training and resources, and community services.

A note on classroom discussion

 

For discussion questions, we recommend prompting students to take 30 seconds-2 minutes to discuss the question with the person/people sitting next to them before asking a couple of students/groups to share. The “answers” to the discussion questions are formatted in italics; this content should be covered at some point, whether by students or by educators adding on to student contributions and filling in the gaps.

 

This lesson is designed to be interactive, and ideally students should be actively engaging in discussion and activities. However, we recognize that this content can be difficult, especially for students who may have personal experience with relationship abuse, familial abuse, or sexual violence. For this reason, educators should avoid cold-calling students unless you hear them making good points and speaking comfortably during discussion with their peers. We also recommend relaxing policies for leaving the classroom to allow students to take a break and return if they are feeling triggered without having to ask permission/explain themselves.

 

Resource Type -  Links & Materials

 

Media Links -

Slideshow presentation

Educator Materials 

Student resource sheet

Worksheet activity

 

Lesson Overview

INSTRUCTIONS FOR THIS SECTION: The following is the core of the lesson plan.  If possible, please break it into Before, During, and After sections. NOTE: If entering a pre-existing lesson, please place link to lesson or the entire text into the “During the Lesson” section.

WHAT TO INCLUDE IN “BEFORE THE LESSON”: Prior assessments; Prior or pre-learning; Connections to core subjects; Connections to students’ cultural and personal funds of knowledge;  Trauma informed climate setting;  Group agreements, etc.

 

Before the lesson, the instructor should:

 

Set Group Agreements:

 

Group Agreements are a foundational element to all Comprehensive Sexuality Education programs and classes. These are agreements created and agreed upon by students to foster comfortable and safer spaces for learning and growth. We encourage instructors to begin all sexual health sections by setting Group Agreements with their students. We highly recommend doing this in a synchronous setting if possible. Once completed, these agreements can be posted publicly for future reference and accountability during lessons.  

 

Group Agreements may vary from class to class and may look different depending on the age of students. All agreements should reflect the needs of the students in the classroom. Some Group Agreements we recommend for high school students are:

 

  • ​​Respect. It is normal and valid for students to have different values, beliefs, and life experiences related to sexuality. Encourage respect between students in regard to these topics. Allow students to decide what respect looks like and sounds like in their classroom.  
  • Confidentiality. Sexual health is a deeply personal subject. Ensure all students agree not to share any personal information learned in discussions with people outside the classroom. Instructors should also explain their role as Mandatory Reporters, if applicable.
  • Ask Questions. Encourage questions! Please refer to the “Prepare for Questions” section below for more details.
  • Be Open to Learning. Encourage students to keep an open mind and be willing to learn from their peers.

 

Prepare for Questions:  Answering questions is a crucial aspect of comprehensive sexuality education facilitation, and can also be one of the most challenging. For more information on how to answer questions, please read through The FLASH Curriculum Guide to Answering Student’s Questions. We recommend ending each class with an opportunity for students to submit questions anonymously. See instructions below for in-person or virtual facilitation.

In person: the Instructor should hand out identical pieces of paper to each student at the end of the lesson, then say, “Please take five minutes to write down any questions you have from our lesson today. This will be anonymous and I will answer these questions aloud in our next class.” We recommend asking all students to write something on the paper regardless of if they have questions to increase anonymity. The instructor can ask students who do not have questions to draw a picture or answer another prepared question, such as: “What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?”

Virtual. If teaching virtually, we recommend facilitating this portion using a Google Form in lieu of a question box.

 

Assess prior learning: Students should already have a foundational understanding of sexuality prior to this lesson, we recommend teaching this lesson after lessons about sexuality/sexual orientation/gender identity. Performance Indicators that should be addressed prior to this lesson include:

  • HE.1.12.22 Describe characteristics of healthy and unhealthy romantic and/or sexual relationships.
  • HE.1.12.24 Express that everyone has the right to say who touches their body and how.  
  • HE.1.12.25 Express that it is never ok to touch someone, or make someone touch you if they don't want to.
  • HE.1.12.28 Define sexual consent and explain its implications for sexual decision-making.
  • HE.1.12.36 Define affirmative consent as a freely given enthusiastic yes.
  • HE.1.12.37 Demonstrate an understanding of how affirmative consent mitigates the impact and consequences of sexual pressure.

 

Prepare lesson-specific materials: The worksheets for the activity must be printed out and stapled ahead of time. There should be enough worksheets for each student. The resource sheets should also be printed out ahead of time. We recommend educators add community and school resources (e.g. school counselor, local domestic/sexual violence response organizations, etc.) to the “local resources” sections (or prompt students to do so at the end of the lesson).

 

Provide content warning: Content warning and welcome for students to step out as needed, acknowledge that many people have experienced trauma related to this content and while this lesson tries to avoid particularly triggering descriptions of violence, some students may be unable to participate in some sections and that is totally fine.

 

Remind students of your obligation to report: Sexuality and sexual health topics may lead to student disclosures that could require mandatory reporting. In order to hold a trauma-informed space and promote student autonomy and agency, we recommend reminding students of your role as a mandatory reporter before any sexual health-related lesson. This disclosure could sound like:

“Our content today may bring up experiences for some of you that may be difficult or challenging. I want to remind each of you that while I want this to be a space where we can have open and honest discussions, I do have limitations on my ability to keep your information private and confidential. I am a mandatory reporter which means that if anyone shares with me that they now or ever have hurt themselves or someone else, or that someone has hurt them, I may not be able to keep that private. It is my job to keep all of you safe, and so it is important that you understand that. What questions do you all have about that?”

 

WHAT TO INCLUDE IN “DURING THE LESSON”: Step-by-step instructions for educators and/or students and families;  Multi-modal activities and processing questions;  Integrated Vocabulary (to establish tags and searchable content);  Student practice examples;  How to check for understanding (formative assessments, supported question of student understanding and progress).

 

During the Lesson

Step 1: Introductions | 5 minutes

 

Slide 1: Explain to students that the topic of the day is healthy relationships. (Title slide.)

 

Next, let students know that we will be focusing on romantic and sexual relationships, but most of these concepts and traits apply to platonic friendships and familial relationships as well. Most dynamics in romantic and sexual relationships are present in platonic relationships as well, the only exceptions being around sexual activities and some additional boundaries. The choice to focus on romantic and sexual relationships was informed by the high rates of abusive romantic relationships for teens, the higher likelihood of harm within romantic/sexual relationships, and the broad applicability of this discussion. With that being said, we recognize how common harmful and abusive platonic relationships can be, as well as the validity of these relationships and this harm. All students should be considering how all dynamics discussed might show up in different kinds of relationships. When we say relationship through this lesson, we mean ALL kinds of relationships, not just romantic or sexual relationships. If we mean romantic or sexual relationships, we will say that or say that people in a scenario are dating or having sexual contact. 

 

Slide 2:  Explain the objectives and enduring understanding for this lesson.

 

Slide 3: Group Agreements: Explain that this can be a sensitive subject and that there are many different thoughts and feelings about this topic, so it’s important that everyone feel safe and comfortable in the class. Explain that these are foundational, agreed upon values that carry throughout the classroom discussion and create a space where students and their identities are respected and respectful. Therefore, we need to all agree to the group agreements provided in the “Before this Lesson” section above. Allow students to voice any additional needs/agreements they would like to be included.

 

Slide 4: Ask- What do healthy relationships feel like? Think of a person with whom you are close and have a positive relationship, brainstorm a few words that describe how you feel when you are around that person. It may be helpful to give students 1-2 minutes to write this down or chat with the person next to them.

 

Step 2: Understanding Relationship Health   |   25 minutes

 

Slide 5: Provide a brief definition of consent utilizing the FRIES model (provided by PPFA, in educator materials).

Discussion Question - Ask- “Why is consent fundamental for healthy relationships?” Solicit answers from the group.

Transition to next slide by stating: “Consent can help to make relationships feel safe, open, and healthy! Honest communication — both verbal and nonverbal — leads to each partner knowing their own and their partner’s boundaries, and it shows mutual respect and care for each other. Consent isn’t just sexual either, it is relevant throughout all kinds of relationships as all people involved communicate what they’re comfortable with.”

 

Slide 6: Discussion Question: Ask- “How do unhealthy and abusive relationships look different from healthy relationships?” Field some ideas, or have them talk to the person next to them for a few minutes to brainstorm.

 

Slide 7: Review what healthy, unhealthy, and abusive relationships look like

 

Healthy: Safe, caring, open communication, comfortable, practicing consent, equality

 

Unhealthy: Lack of open communication, uncomfortable, inequality

 

Abusive: Abuse is cruel or violent treatment, especially regular or repeated, that has the potential to cause trauma or lasting harm. The difference between unhealthy and abusive relationships can be hard to distinguish, and in many cases the difference can only be determined by the person in the relationship.

  • Abuse can be emotional, verbal, physical, sexual, and/or financial.
  • Experiencing abuse is common and can affect people in many different, valid ways.
  • Abusive relationships could look like: feeling unsafe, violations of boundaries and consent, emotional manipulation, threats, intimidation, coercion, blaming, physical or sexual violence

 

Slide 8: Discussion Question: Ask- “How do you evaluate the health of relationships?” Solicit feedback from the group.

 

Slide 9: Checking in on relationship health. Ask students to take a moment and reflect silently on the following questions:

 

  • How do you feel in the relationship and when you are with the person?
  • How does that align with how people should feel in healthy relationships?

 

Ask students to turn to a neighbor and discuss what feelings came up. Then, ask for a few volunteers to share. Let students know that there are evaluation questions on the resource sheet that will be handed out at the end of the lesson to help check in on the health of a relationship.

 

Slide 10: Power dynamics. Explain that power dynamics are the ways our identities, experiences, and positions in life can give us power over one another. Power dynamics are not always a huge problem. People can have a healthy relationship with power dynamics at play. (Power dynamics can complicate consent, though!)

 

Ask- What kinds of power dynamics can come up in relationships?

  • Depending on time constraints, educators can choose to utilize this discussion question or explain/read the list of examples to students. The slideshow is adaptable and transitions can be added for the list of examples.
  • Ex: boss and employee, adult and child, student and teacher, team captain and younger athlete, etc.

Ask- “How does identity impact power dynamics?”

Allow a few students to share. Transition by sharing the following: “relationships where one partner has a disability, queer identity, marginalized gender identity, or is Black, Indigenous, or a person of color can also create, often more subtle, power dynamics in the relationship due to the internal bias/prejudice, privilege, and assumptions of power that people have engrained and apply, often subconsciously, in their interactions. Due to larger oppression and oppressive messaging, some people can feel more empowered to speak up and take up space in relationships. These dynamics are never the fault of people being harmed by them, nor are they their responsibility to counteract. These power dynamics can be counteracted with affirmative consent, or making sure everyone feels welcome to express their boundaries and say no. Identity can also impact preferences around dependency, relationship structure, and more.”

 

Slide 11: Boundaries: Discussion Question or Word Cloud -  Ask- “What are some examples of boundaries you might set in a relationship?”

 

Create a list with students. This list could include categories such as financial, sexual, trauma, privacy, exclusivity, or time-related boundaries.

  • Examples might include: not seeing other people, not sharing phone passwords, having alone time, waiting to have sex, etc.

 

Slide 12: Dependency: Explain that another common way relationships can become unhealthy is through codependency, or where partners need each other to function. People in a relationship absolutely can and should help each other; you don’t need to be independent all the time. The ideal in long term relationships is interdependency, where partners support each other’s needs and preferences as is comfortable for both people without undermining agency and independence. Healthy relationships should increase your confidence and sense of personal identity.

 

This is a good place to check in with students and field any lingering questions, thoughts, or concerns before moving into the worksheet activity.

 

Step 3: Worksheet Activity  | 30 minutes

 

Split the class up into groups of 3-4, and pass out a worksheet to each student. Assign one scenario to each group. Students will identify and address issues in the relationship scenario they are assigned. Students should focus on communication strategies for resolving each issue. Allow groups 10 minutes to complete their worksheets. Then, have groups share their scenarios and responses. Scenarios:

 

Scenario 1

Jason and Eliza are a couple in an exclusive relationship. Jason worries that Eliza is flirting with other people and wants to look at Eliza’s text messages. Eliza insists she is not flirting with other people on her phone, but also feels uncomfortable with Jason looking at her phone. Jason argues that if Eliza isn’t flirting with other people, she’d have no reason to hide her texts. Jason's friends think he is being reasonable, but Eliza still feels uncomfortable, in part because she sometimes vents to her friends about Jason, despite the fact she is very happy in their relationship overall.

 

Answer Key:

  • Q1: Eliza: uncomfortable, annoyed with Jason, Happy in their relationship to some degree. Jason: jealous, worried, reasonable
  • Q2: Gender could potentially create a power dynamic. Cultural assumptions about heterosexual relationships could make Jason feel like as a couple, they should be completely open with each otherand not have private interactions or withhold information from each other.
  • Q3: Jason is being unreasonable, but his friends weighing in could make him feel entitled to his perspective.
  • Q4: Eliza should voice that this is a hard boundary for her and that they are both entitled to their private conversations. If their relationship is healthy or will be going forward, they need to be able to trust each other and not feel like the other person needs any supervision.  

 

Scenario 2

Dan and Miranda have been dating for 6 months, and so far they have been monogamous (in an exclusive relationship where they only engage sexually with each other). Miranda is very happy with Dan, but wants to hook up with other people sometimes. Miranda brings this up to Dan and they agree to be in an open relationship where they can both hook up with other people. Over the next couple of months, Dan notices that each time anyone they know shows a sexual interest in them, without prompting, Miranda will bring up that she’s fine with the open relationship, but is uncomfortable with Dan hooking up with that particular person. Each time this comes up, Dan says this is fine, but not what they agreed to as a relationship model: if they get to hook up with other people independently, that doesn’t include policing each other’s behavior. Miranda responds that Dan is welcome to say there are people she can’t hook up with as well, but Dan just doesn’t want either of them to police each other. Miranda doesn’t understand why Dan cares so much if they’re not specifically interested in the people she asked them to not hook up with.

 

Answer Key:

  • Q1: Miranda: happy in the relationship overall, insecure. Dan: doesn’t want this version of the arrangement
  • Q2: It doesn't seem like there is a power dynamic in the relationship, but there is a potential for one related to the fact that Dan is nonbinary and Miranda is cisgender. It doesn’t appear that their identities are directly affecting the situation.
  • Q3: Miranda needs to overcome her insecurity, so the relationship can be fair for both of them. Dan may need to risk the relationship by drawing a boundary around Miranda’s behavior.
  • Q4: Dan should draw a boundary around Miranda’s policing behavior. If Dan is comfortable being monogamous, they could suggest returning to monogamy as a solution. If Miranda does not change her behavior, Dan should end the relationship.

 

Scenario 3

Ellie and Anna have been dating for a year and have many of the same friends, so they often hang out in a large group in addition to one-on-one. Anna has an anxiety disorder and is more introverted, while Ellie is very social. Sometimes, Ellie wants to hang out with their mutual friends when she knows Anna isn’t up to it, but Anna has told Ellie that she feels sad and betrayed when people hang out without her. Ellie feels bad about hanging out with their friends without inviting Anna. When Anna is too anxious, but still tries to hang out with everyone, Ellie ends up spending the evening making sure Anna is okay and feels obligated to leave when Anna needs to.

 

Answer Key:

  • Q1: Anna: anxious, sad, betrayed, excluded. Ellie: guilty, conflicted, obligated
  • Q2: It doesn’t seem like there is a power dynamic, but one might be possible from the disparity that Ellie is more able than Anna. Anna’s anxiety disorder is creating this situation, and that is a challenging thing to navigate. While they are both queer women, that doesn’t seem to be playing a role in this situation.
  • Q3: Anna is struggling with her anxiety in this situation, as it limits her being as social as she would like to be. She feels worried about being excluded. Ellie is struggling with balancing being open, honest, and kind to Anna and getting the social interaction she needs without feeling put upon and resenting her relationship.
  • Q4: Ellie and Anna need to have an explicit conversation about this dynamic. Anna should acknowledge that her concerns are irrational and work on taking space when she needs it. It might help Anna to work with a therapist. Ellie should hang out with their friends when she wants, while being kind to Anna and minimizing her feelings of exclusion.  

 

Scenario 4

Eli and Blaze have been dating for 9 months. Blaze is very involved with extracurricular activities and Eli is not. Eli is jealous that Blaze spends more time with his teammates than with him, and complains about it frequently. Blaze loves spending time with Eli, but when he doesn’t have practice and spends every afternoon with Eli, he notices that they start to argue and bicker frequently. Blaze tries to explain what he has noticed to Eli, but Eli disagrees and argues that of course they are closer when they spend more time together.

 

Answer Key:

  • Q1: Eli: Jealous. Blaze: loves Eli, notices that they benefit from time apart
  • Q2: There are not any apparent power dynamics in this scenario. It is possible their identities as queer men could affect their relationship and this situation, but there is no evidence of that.
  • Q3: The main obstacles are just Eli’s jealousy and his denial that time apart does benefit their relationship.
  • Q4: Eli and Blaze need to have a direct, explicit conversation about this situation. If this conflict continues, Blaze may need to end the relationship. Healthy relationships should strengthen external relationships, not limit them.

 

Scenario 5

Sophia and Aiden have been dating for a year and a half. Some of Aiden’s close friends from childhood are girls. He’s always had platonic relationships with these friends and has no interest in having any sexual or romantic relationship with his friends, but he does find one of them, Rachel, sexually attractive. Aiden loves Sophia and is committed to their monogamous (sexually and romantically exclusive) relationship. Sophia feels that being in a monogamous relationship should mean that both partners only have sexual feelings for each other. Sometimes when Aiden talks about a girl he is friends with, Sophia will ask if he is attracted to her. Aiden isn’t attracted to most of his friends who are girls, so most of the time he can say no honestly, but when Sophia asks about Rachel, Aiden feels like he has to lie. When Aiden has admitted to finding another girl attractive, even one he doesn’t know personally, Sophia has gotten very angry with him, felt betrayed, and told him that he wouldn’t be attracted to other people if he was actually committed to her. Aiden doesn’t want to lie, but doesn’t know what to do that won’t upset Sophia.

 

Answer Key:

  • Q1: Aiden: Loves Sophia, doesn’t want to lie, conflicted about what to do. Sophia: jealous
  • Q2: There aren’t any apparent power dynamics in this relationship. Sometimes, straight couples face power dynamics or other challenges related to gender roles and cultural assumptions about relationships.
  • Q3: The main obstacle here is Sophia’s unrealistic expectations of Aiden and Aiden’s desire to not upset Sophia.
  • Q4: They need to have a conversation about it. The only way they can proceed in a healthy relationship is if Sophia realizes that she is being irrational and works on making her peace with Aiden finding other people attractive on occasion. They may be able to come to an agreement where Sophia just doesn’t talk about topics that bring up this insecurity. If Sophia cannot reconcile her insecurity and stop putting it on Aiden, they should break up.  

 

 

Scenario 6

Jake and Iris are both 17 and recently started dating. They have discussed it and both want to start having sex with each other soon. Iris has never had sex before, and Jake has had sex with a few people over the last few years. Iris says she wants to have sex, but Jake is worried that she is taking on too much too fast since they just started dating. They make plans to hang out while Iris is home alone, and they both assume that they will likely have sex then. While they are hanging out, they start kissing and Jake asks what Iris wants to do next and says he is up for anything. Iris responds that she would like to have sex, and they start moving in that direction. As they are about to start, Iris says “Actually, maybe not today” and they stop. Aiden doesn’t want to do anything that Iris isn’t comfortable with, but he isn’t sure how to proceed without pushing her too far. Iris really wants to have sex with him and really wants to be ready, but worries she might not be.

 

Answer Key:

  • Q1: Jake: not sure what to do, likes Iris. Iris: maybe not ready to have sex, likes Jake, worried
  • Q2: Jake has more sexual experience, which has created a power dynamic because sex is less of a big deal to him than to Iris.
  • Q3: Their power dynamic is the obstacle in this situation.
  • Q4: They can talk about it at a time when they clearly will not have sex. Jake can counteract the power dynamic by “inviting the no” or using affirmative consent to make Iris feel comfortable dictating what happens at what speed with no judgment.

 

Step 4: Conclusion | 5 minutes

 

Brief overview of resource sheet

If time, prompt students to fill in the “personal resources” section with trusted people/resources in their lives they could go to if they were in an unhealthy/abusive relationship.

 

Closing question: How do you approach a friend who you think is in an unhealthy or potentially abusive relationship?

 

WHAT TO INCLUDE IN “AFTER THE LESSON”: Summative Assessments;  Plans for following-up with absent students and those needing additional support (ELL, 504, IEP, chronic absenteeism, social/emotional, mobile students, etc.);  Extension of learning opportunities (recommended lesson plan for extension and follow-up);  Lesson revisions, re-mixes, and reiterations.

After the Lesson

 

Information about how to deliver this lesson virtually is detailed in the Information for Educators section.

 

If educators wish to test students on this content, we recommend creating test/quiz questions by adapting discussion questions, having students define healthy or unhealthy relationships, list red flags or characteristics, define how one should feel in a healthy relationship, and adapting short scenarios. These questions shouldn’t be exactly the same as questions and activities within the lesson, but educators can use the answers provided throughout the lesson to craft an answer key as well as questions. It is also worth noting that there is a lot of room for personal values and perspective when assessing the health of relationships, so as long as students are demonstrating that they are engaging with this content and thinking critically about healthy relationships, there is room for students to disagree in many of these discussions.

 

Educators can also assess student performance while delivering the lesson by watching for participation, critical approaches as students examine the health of relationships, and for students to be considering how their values affect what they want and deserve in relationships. The card sort activity and writing exercise are great times to evaluate student proficiency on this topic.

 

If students are absent, we recommend having them review the slides independently and complete the activities throughout the lesson. Depending on student capacity, internet access, etc, the workload can be adjusted and activities could be modified.

 

The presentation and resource sheet contain so much of the lesson content explicitly to ensure accessibility to all learners and ensure that absent students are still able to access this important information.

 

__________________________________________________________________________

Expanding Healthy Relationships Lesson Worksheet

 

 

Read through the scenario assigned to your group in detail. Talk with your other group members about what’s going on and why. Consider where each person in the relationship is coming from, and how the issue might be resolved. Then, answer the questions below:

 

  1. What words or phrases might indicate how each person in this situation is feeling?

 

 

 

 

  1. What power dynamics are at play in this scenario? How might the identities and experiences of each person affect the situation?

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. What obstacles might these people face in trying to resolve the situation?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. What steps could they take to resolve this situation?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

__________________________________________________________________________

Scenarios

 

Scenario 1

Jason and Eliza are a couple in an exclusive relationship. Jason worries that Eliza is flirting with other people and wants to look at Eliza’s text messages. Eliza insists she is not flirting with other people on her phone, but also feels uncomfortable with Jason looking at her phone. Jason argues that if Eliza isn’t flirting with other people, she’d have no reason to hide her texts. Jason's friends think he is being reasonable, but Eliza still feels uncomfortable, in part because she sometimes vents to her friends about Jason, despite the fact she is very happy in their relationship overall.  

 

Scenario 2

Dan and Miranda have been dating for 6 months, and so far they have been monogamous (in an exclusive relationship where they only engage sexually with each other). Miranda is very happy with Dan, but wants to hook up with other people sometimes. Miranda brings this up to Dan and they agree to be in an open relationship where they can both hook up with other people. Over the next couple of months, Dan notices that each time anyone they know shows a sexual interest in them, without prompting, Miranda will bring up that she’s fine with the open relationship, but is uncomfortable with Dan hooking up with that particular person. Each time this comes up, Dan says this is fine, but not what they agreed to as a relationship model: if they get to hook up with other people independently, that doesn’t include policing each other’s behavior. Miranda responds that Dan is welcome to say there are people she can’t hook up with as well, but Dan just doesn’t want either of them to police each other. Miranda doesn’t understand why Dan cares so much if they’re not specifically interested in the people she asked them to not hook up with.

 

Scenario 3

Ellie and Anna have been dating for a year and have many of the same friends, so they often hang out in a large group in addition to one-on-one. Anna has an anxiety disorder and is more introverted, while Ellie is very social. Sometimes, Ellie wants to hang out with their mutual friends when she knows Anna isn’t up to it, but Anna has told Ellie that she feels sad and betrayed when people hang out without her. Ellie feels bad about hanging out with their friends without inviting Anna. When Anna is too anxious, but still tries to hang out with everyone, Ellie ends up spending the evening making sure Anna is okay and feels obligated to leave when Anna needs to.

 

Scenario 4

Eli and Blaze have been dating for 9 months. Blaze is very involved with extracurricular activities and Eli is not. Eli is jealous that Blaze spends more time with their teammates than with him, and complains about it frequently. Blaze loves spending time with Eli, but when he doesn’t have practice and spends every afternoon with Eli, he notices that they start to argue and bicker frequently. Blaze tries to explain what he has noticed to Eli, but Eli disagrees and argues that of course they are closer when they spend more time together.

 

Scenario 5

Sophia and Aiden have been dating for a year and a half. Some of Aiden’s close friends from childhood are girls. He’s always had platonic relationships with these friends and has no interest in having any sexual or romantic relationship with his friends, but he does find one of them, Rachel, sexually attractive. Aiden loves Sophia and is committed to their monogamous (sexually and romantically exclusive) relationship. Sophia feels that being in a monogamous relationship should mean that both partners only have sexual feelings for each other. Sometimes when Aiden talks about a girl he is friends with, Sophia will ask if he is attracted to her. Aiden isn’t attracted to most of his friends who are girls so most of the time he can say no honestly, but when Sophia asks about Rachel, Aiden feels like he has to lie. When Aiden has admitted to finding another girl attractive, even who he doesn’t know personally, Sophia has gotten very angry with him, felt betrayed, and told him that he wouldn’t be attracted to other people if he was actually committed to her. Aiden doesn’t want to lie, but doesn’t know what to do that won’t upset Sophia.

 

Scenario 6

Jake and Iris are both 17 and recently started dating. They have discussed it and both want to start having sex with each other soon. Iris has never had sex before, and Jake has had sex with a few people over the last few years. Iris says they want to have sex, but Jake is worried that they are taking on too much too fast since they just started dating. They make plans to hang out while Iris is home alone, and they both assume that they will likely have sex then. While they are hanging out, they start kissing and Jake asks what Iris wants to do next and says he is up for anything. Iris responds that they would like to have sex, and they start moving in that direction. As they are about to start, Iris says “Actually, maybe not today” and they stop. Aiden doesn’t want to do anything that Iris isn’t comfortable with, but he isn’t sure how to proceed without pushing them too far. Iris really wants to have sex with him and really wants to be ready, but worries they might not be.