The word 'relationship' can mean different things to different people. This information is about two people in an intimate relationship – this may be a guy and a girl, two girls, or two guys, and it doesn’t have to mean a sexual relationship.
A relationship usually starts with attraction – feeling drawn to someone, wanting to be around them, and get to know them more intimately. Feeling attracted to someone is completely normal, and what you do about it is up to you. You might decide to keep the feeling or 'crush' all to yourself, a secret just for you. Or you might like to find a way to let the other person know how awesome you think they are. If you feel ready, you might even want to find out if the other person feels the same way, is open to getting to know you better, or wants to hang out sometime.
People use different words to describe an intimate or romantic relationship, including: dating, going out, hooking up, seeing someone, being together, being in a relationship, boyfriend and girlfriend, friends with benefits, and many others. Whatever you call it, the type of relationship should be understood and agreed by both partners.
There can be lots of pressure from friends or media to have a boyfriend or girlfriend, but there are lots of great things about being single. Like focusing on your goals and dreams, developing your talents, passions and interests, and meeting lots of people and making lots of different friends. It’s really important not to feel pressure to be in a relationship – only you can know what’s right for you, right now!
What things should I look out for in a relationship?
Being in a relationship can be fun and exciting. It can allow you to show and experiment with positive feelings such as care, love and affection. It can also give you the experience of receiving these same things, and allow you to decide what you like and don’t like about being in a relationship.
When you’re in a relationship with someone you should feel:
- cared about
- OK to be yourself
How do I know if my relationship isn’t healthy?
Sometimes, when things aren’t healthy, relationships can make people feel bad about themselves. There are different ways someone can be made to feel scared, intimidated, controlled or trapped – this can be called relationship abuse and is unacceptable.
We’ve talked to lots of young people who have felt this way in relationships and there are always options to talk about and think through.
How do I know if I’m ready for sex?
Having sex with someone is an important decision that’s best made when you know what your options and responsibilities are, and can feel comfortable talking about it openly and honestly with your partner. To get all the info you need, you can check out the websites below, ask an adult you trust, or get some information from the local library or pamphlets from your doctor.
For more information to help you decide if you’re ready to have sex, and how to stay safe, check out: