Info and Advice

What are relationships?

We all have different kinds of relationships from very early in our lives.
Two LGBTI+ young people hold hands

Types of relationships

Often, we have relationships with our parents or guardians, our siblings, step-siblings or foster siblings, our cousins, aunts, uncles, neighbours and friends. These are family or friendship relationships. 

When people get a little older, they may want to have other kinds of relationships too. Teenagers may want to date a person they like and to have a romantic relationship with them as boyfriend or girlfriend, for example. 

Dating

Having a romantic relationship with another person you like can be lots of fun. When you're dating someone you might: 

Talk

Get to know each other better by talking face-to-face, on the phone, by text, or online

Spend time

Spend extra time with that person

Do activities

Do activities together, like going to the cinema

You might also like to hug, hold hands or kiss. It all depends on what you both feel comfortable doing. 

It's important that you only start dating when you feel you are ready to and you're the only person who knows when that is!

Before you think about starting a romantic relationship with someone, make sure you:

  • Like yourself and are comfortable and happy being you
  • Know your own likes and dislikes and what you would like or dislike in a partner
  • Actually like the person - you're not just dating them because all of your friends are dating, or because you want to have any 
  • Think about what you are happy and comfortable with doing in a relationship. This includes knowing what you are and aren't ready for when it comes to having a more physical relationship
  • Talk to your parents or carers about how you want to date this person. Trying to keep romantic relationships secret can make things very difficult. If you are open, your parents or carers can give you support if you need it
Respect
The most important part of any relationship is respect

Having a respectful relationship allows both people to feel accepted, liked and safe. Signs of respect in a romantic relationship are:

  • Both people are free to express their opinions and beliefs and to be themselves
  • Both people can talk about their needs and what they like and don't like doing
  • There's no pressure to do anything either person isn't comfortable dong
  • There's no pressure to be with the other person all the time
  • Both people can make mistakes, admit they were wrong and apologise

 

It's important to remember:

  • Always treat yourself with respect
  • Show respect to other people
  • If someone is not treating you with respect, let them know. Tell them how you would like to be treated
  • If you do not feel you are being respected, you can talk to a trusted adult
  • It's always ok to end a relationship if you feel it is not respectful
Healthy and unhealthy relationships

Romantic relationships can be fun when you both like each other and get on well. It can be confusing, however, if you like someone but don't like how they treat you or make you feel. 

It's important to pay attention if things don't feel right in a relationship. If you find that your feelings have changed and you want to end a relationship, support is available. It might help to talk to an adult you trust and make the right decision for you. 

Some things that happen in a healthy relationship are: 

Time together

You enjoy spending time together

Your own interests

You can spend time apart and have your own hobbies and interests

Trust

You trust and respect each other

Expression

Each person feels comfortable expressing themselves

Some signs of an unhealthy relationship:
  • You feel under pressure to change who you are - your beliefs, opinions, likes, dislikes, hobbies, or even who you hang out with
  • You don't feel free to spend time away from the other person
  • The person you are dating lies to you, or doesn't tell you things
  • The person you are dating pushes you to do things that you don't want to do - this can include putting pressure on you to send them pictures of parts of your boy or to do things with them
Support is available

If you would like support around your relationships, you have a right to get support. 

Is there a trusted adult you can talk to about how you feel? Childline is always here to listen to you and support you.

Contact Childline

Childline is always here to listen and to support you. You can call Childline on 1800 66 66 66 (24 hours a day), text Childline on 50101 (10am – 4am every day) or chat with Childline online

Talking helps!

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