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Info For Teens

All About Relationships

Dating, hooking up, going out ó whatever you call it, intimate relationships can be complicated. Getting close to someone emotionally and physically has its risks and rewards. And knowing the keys to a healthy relationship ó respect, honesty, trust, fairness, equality, and good communication ó helps make everything go more smoothly.

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    How can I tell if the person I have a crush on likes me back?

    The only way to know for sure is to ask. A lot of people feel shy when it comes to talking to people they might be interested in. And a lot of girls feel like they are supposed to wait for a guy to ask them out or make the first move. But this isn't true. It's totally fine for a girl to ask out a guy ó or begin by simply starting a conversation with him!

    If you feel shy or talking to new people makes you nervous, you might need some preparation.

    • Think about ways to calm your nerves. Try reminding yourself about your positive qualities.
    • Then, think about some things you have in common with the person you're interested in. Do you go to the same school? Are you in any of the same classes? Do you know he or she likes a certain kind of music you like? Do you have any mutual friends?
    • Once you've identified something you think you have in common or want to talk with her or him about, try to find a time when you can be alone or have some privacy. You may even want to give him or her a call or send her or him a text, e-mail, or IM.
    • You might want to consider asking the person youíre interested in to do something with you that could be fun or interesting like going to a movie, the park, or a concert. This way you have some time to get to know each other.

    Getting to know someone, whether you're crushing on her or him or not, takes some practice and can be difficult at first.

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    How do I know if Iím in a good relationship?

    It doesn't matter how old you are, or how long you've been with your significant other. The first question you need to ask yourself is ó are you in a healthy relationship? Not just physically healthy but emotionally healthy? A healthy relationship makes you feel good about yourself and makes you feel safe. The basic qualities of a healthy relationship include

    • Respect
      Do you listen to each otherís ideas?       
      Do you treat each other as friends?      
      Are you proud of one another?
    • Trust
      Do you appreciate each otherís need for friends and family?   
      Do you feel sure of each otherís love?       
      Do you have faith in each otherís decisions? 
    • Honesty and Fairness
      Do you both admit when youíre wrong? 
      Do you both tell the truth without fear?
      Do you both forgive mistakes?
    • Equality
      Do you give and take equally?    
      Do you both compromise?
    • Good Communication
      Do you talk openly about your feelings with each other?   
      Are you able to work through disagreements?
      Do you listen to each other without judgment? 
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    How do I know if I love someone?

    It's not always easy to know if we love someone ó that's true for people of all ages. Generally speaking, love is a strong caring for someone else. People demonstrate love by being there for each other, solving problems together, sharing hard times as well as good times, helping each other grow, and by being patient with each other.

    Love isn't the same thing as sexual desire. Sexual desire is a strong physical excitement and attraction. Sometimes people confuse sexual desire with love. People can love each other, or have sexual desire for each other, or feel both love and desire for the same person.

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    Can two people have a good relationship without having sex?

    Yes.

    Sex is not the only way people let each other know they care. People demonstrate love by being there for each other, solving problems together, sharing hard times as well as good times, helping each other grow, and being patient with each other.

    This is true for people of all ages. Young people have a lot of good reasons to postpone or go without sex. The truth is that only about half of high school students have ever had intercourse and the average age when people start having sex is age 17. Even once they start having sex, most teens don't have sex frequently. So it's "normal" to wait till you're older to have sex.

    We all have friends we love but do not sexually desire. Sometimes we may sexually desire someone but do not feel ready to have sex. And sex often becomes less important for people because of illness, medication, or other life circumstances. People in these situations rely on non-sexual intimacy to keep their relationships meaningful and enjoyable.

    Deciding whether and when to have sex requires a lot of thought from you and your partner. It can be difficult to communicate about differences in expectations about sex. But when it comes to relationships, everyone has the right to set boundaries and have those boundaries respected. If you don't feel comfortable engaging in oral, anal, or vaginal sex with your partner, you shouldn't be pressured into it.

    Learn more about whether you're ready for sex.

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    What counts as cheating in a relationship?

    People have different opinions about what's considered cheating, so it's up to partners to decide what the rules are for their relationship. Everyone is different when it comes to dating rules.

    You may be cheating if

    • You have to hide or lie about what you're doing.
    • Doing it will lower your partner's self-esteem.
    • You feel guilty about it.
    • You wouldn't want your partner to do it.
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    Whatís the best way to break up with someone?

    In general, breakups go better when people are straightforward and direct about their feelings rather than dropping hints.

    Some people try to break up by being rude or distant with their partners, but this is likely to cause confusion and hurt feelings. If you're feeling unsure about what to say, you might want to try writing down your feelings before you talk with your partner. But be sure to tell her or him that you want to end the relationship yourself ó don't have someone else do it for you.

    Staying in a relationship that you don't want to be in isn't healthy for either person. Being dishonest about your feelings isn't good, either. Relationships only work when both people want to be in them.

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    What should I do if my partner breaks up with me?

    When it comes to breaking up, the old saying holds true: Time heals all wounds. How much time is the question.  And the answer is different for everyone ó every time.

    First, realize that itís OK to be sad right after a breakup. After all, you probably really cared about and miss the person who was so important in your life.

    Many times, people can feel much less depressed if they are able to talk their concerns through with someone who is willing to listen. If you feel like you can't get over the relationship and are still feeling depressed, think about talking with a counselor. If you need assistance finding a counselor, you can talk with your parents, your family doctor, talk with the counselor in your school, or contact your nearest Planned Parenthood health center.



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