The Hook Up: Helping a Friend Deal with Dating Abuse

Photo: (Everyone Is Gay)

Photo: (Everyone Is Gay)

The Hook Up is a weekly relationship advice column from MTV Act and the It’s Your (Sex) Life campaign, written by the very talented Kristin Russo and Dannielle Owens-Reid.

From the awkward to the complicated to the down-right-adorable, these girls have you covered. To submit your question about love, lust or anything in between, email us at We’d love to hear from you, and your question could be chosen for a future column! Plus, the first 30 people get free MTV Act shirts. FYI, in case you’re a little shy, all questions can be anonymous.

My friend and her boyfriend are both jealous and fight a lot. I know he’s hit her but she hits him too, and they won’t break up. Advice?

Dannielle Says: 

I’m not an expert… on anything, much less what to do in a situation like this, but I will say to be in your shoes right now must be hard and I’m sorry.

There is nothing worse than when someone we love is hurting and it feels like there isn’t anything we can do about it. If I were you, I’d talk to your friend about YOUR feelings. I would tell my friend that I was scared, I would tell her I didn’t know what to do and that made me feel helpless, and I would tell her I want her ultimate happiness. I don’t know if that’s the right thing to do. Maybe I’m an idiot, but that is what I would do.

I would also, honestly, go on and live chat with someone there, or call… but I’m super awkward on the phone, so… I’d prolly live chat.

I know this is a terrifying situation, but you are not alone and there is something that can be done. Please don’t be afraid to reach out for help.

Kristin Says:

This is a complicated thing to process, because often times when we think of abuse there is a “victim” and an “abuser.” Our brains easily digest things where there is a bad guy and a good guy, and this situation (which I think is much more common then we know) is such that BOTH parties are participating in abuse.

This is not a healthy relationship. This is bad, and dangerous, for both your friend and her boyfriend. The first thing you should know is that you, alone, do not have the ability to “fix” this situation. The second thing you should know is that there are resources and people who can help you to help them.

The link Dannielle shared is a great place to start, and I’d also like to share information on an organization called The Hotline.

The Hotline has a 24/7 call in line: 1−800−799−SAFE (7233) or TTY 1−800−787−3224, and they also have advice for those, like you, who are friends of people in dangerous situations. Some of the main points are:

– Don’t be afraid to let them know you are concerned
– Encourage them to talk to people who can help
– Encourage them to participate in activities outside of the relationship =
– Be respectful and non-judgmental

Click here to read the full article.

You are right to be concerned, and you should now turn to those who can help you better understand the ways in which you can help support your friend and how that support can help them take the action they need to get out of this situation.

Why is sex not appealing to me anymore? -B

Dannielle Says: 

I wish we were best friends so I could sit across from you at Chili’s and ask you a million questions. BECAUSE IT COULD BE SO MANY DIFFERENT THINGS.

Maybe you’re no longer attracted to the person you’re with, maybe you’ve grown out of sexi-time AS YOU KNOW IT, maybe you’re so busy and tired that your priorities have changed, maybe you’ve had sexies but it took too long so you feel like it’s a waste of time and you’re just over it for now.

It could be a million things, but I THINK YOU SHOULD FIGURE IT OUT. Especially if you’re like ‘i’m not into sexitime, but i sure do MISS being into sexitime.’ It’s like, our tastebuds change every seven years…so, maybe our sexibuds change too? AAAND if you’re in a relationship, talk to your BALLnCHAIN about it. Maybe the two of you will come up with new things to try to make it fun again. Who knows.

ON THE OTHER HAND. Don’t let anyone make you feel like you’re less-than or weird for not being into sexi times. We all have different wants and needs and if you’re just not into it, you’re not and that’s completely fine and normal and wonderful and you rule.

Kristin Says:

I agree – I think this is really a question of if you are unhappy with sex not appealing to you at the moment or if you are just like “IS IT WEIRD THAT RIGHT NOW I’M NOT INTO BONIN’?”

I second Dannielle – if you want to know if it is okay that you aren’t into visiting sexytown, USA right now, hell yea it is! Some of us have a permanent passport to sexytown and would move there if they offered permanent residencies, others of us like to visit sometimes, and then some of us are like, ‘nah, not interested.’ Those are all acceptable approaches to sex unless you feel upset by those desires (or lack of desires).

If you want to be more into sex than you are, I say try the fake it til you make it approach. A lot of times, the thought of doin’ it can be overshadowed by outside stress, by underlying emotions, or just by things like “Ugh it will take so long and I have to cook dinner.” When you feel hesitation, try just DOIN IT instead. Sometimes the act of doin’ it gets your brain turned on more than the thought of doin’ it. #doinitdoinitdoinitwell

If you try that and you are still unhappy with the results, I would turn to your brain and ask it for some explanation. Nine times out of ten* we have something emotionally going on in our brains that blocks out other desires. Perhaps there are things making you unhappy in your relationship that need attention. Perhaps you are miserable at work and it is affecting other parts of your life. Dig in there and root out the negative. Usually while you are digging you find your passport to sexytown buried in the mess.

*not an actual statistic

Kristin Russo and Dannielle Owens-Reid are the co-creators of Everyone is Gay, a website and organization promoting kindness between all people, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. The views expressed in these blog posts are the viewsof the authors alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of MTV, KFF or the It’s Your Sex Life campaign.

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