ifIknew is a health initiative for young adults that uses a multi media approach, including social media and in person programs, to address the contemporary issues that impact the well-being, self-image, careers, and relationships of people in their 20's and 30's.

If I Knew is a prevention education project that raises awareness about risky behaviors that can profoundly impact lives.

Saying “Yes” and Saying “No”

“No” is a word most of us feel insecure uttering or hearing in the context of romantic relationships. So often, we worry about hurting our partner’s feelings or seeming like a downer if we use the word. But as a result, we sometimes end up feeling resentful and have a difficult time articulating our boundaries, our desire for personal space and our needs. Ironically, I knew that my partner and I were in a healthy relationship after she started telling me “no.” “No, I would rather not go out tonight,” or “No, I don’t want to be touched right now.”

I admit that I was taken aback when I first began hearing my partner’s “nos.” I was concerned that I must be doing something wrong and felt a little rejected. It felt personal.  And it was, but in a good way. I began to recognize that my partner was saying “no” because she knew that I would listen and accommodate her needs as an individual.  It created a much stronger bond of trust between us.  Because of these “nos” I knew that when my partner said “yes,” she truly meant it.  And I realized that this is a good lesson for anyone in a relationship, whether it is gay or straight, romantic or platonic.

“No” should be considered a reasonable and acceptable part of any relationship. Saying “no” allows partners to be verbal about their needs and clearly state their feelings about a given situation. It drastically minimizes confusion and ambiguity about what each person wants, meaning that you can feel confident that the time you spend and the activities you do together are desired by both of you. In my own relationship, the “nos” have made the “yeses” in practically every element of our life together – from shared responsibilities to outside friendships to the more intimate moments between us – infinitely more gratifying.