For Children

Romantic relationship in adolescence

Adolescence is one of the most beautiful periods of life, when we begin to get to know ourselves more and more through interactions in a social environment, whether at school, in a group of friends, with family members, in the community and so on. This can be divided into two stages: early adolescence, between 11-16 years, and late adolescence, 17-19 years.

Inevitably, during this period, friendships are formed with different people, but in some cases other feelings, such as romantic ones, may also be discovered. Teenagers start to get butterflies in their stomach and fell in love with certain people with whom they may start a romantic relationship. These events are perfectly normal, especially for late adolescence, but can occur even earlier, in the second part of early adolescence.

In general, people like to explore new things that make them feel happiness, satisfaction and joy. However, when choosing to enter into a relationship, especially at this age, there are several things to consider.

Among other things, adolescence is also marked by a more explicit sexual interest and adolescent romantic relationships became a context for erotic exploitation and activation of the sexual and reproductive behavioral system. In this regard, there are several ways in which partners communicate their sexual interests as well as their appetites, such as verbal or non-verbal strategies. A study realized in 1990[1] identified four general strategies of sexual communication:

  1. Emotional and physical closeness – partners seek closeness to express their sexual desires;
  2. Logic and reason – are used to limit sexual intimacy through rational arguments, insistence on a certain level of involvement and compromise with partner;
  3. Anti-social acts – these involve threats, guilt induction and even physical force;
  4. Pressure and manipulation – this can include cheating, use of drugs and alcohol, emotional manipulation.

Given the lack of experience with sexuality and the newness of romantic relationships, in general, communicating about „how far to go” or „what I’m comfortable with” or „It’s okay to accept this”, can be a particularly awkward and challenging topic at this age.

Romantic friendships during adolescence are a stage that marks them or it should mark them, in a positive way, from which they learn as many essential things as possible throughout life and in which they experience and live pleasant feelings. However, in some cases, these types of relationships, during adolescence and beyond, turn into something unpleasant that could have negative effects on younger people’s development on various levels, as well as in future romantic and social relationships. The underlying cause of these problems is often violence. It can be of many kinds:

  • Physical violence – is the phenomenon whereby from the quarrel that takes place between two or more people, at some point, they end up hitting each other. Whether it was a single action or whether it happened more the once, whether it was intentional or not, or whether it hurt or not, it is equally serious.
  • Psychological violence – this category includes acts that cause tension, insults, imposing control, verbal threats, break object around, isolation from friends, family, physical abuse of pets, acts of jealousy taken of extremes, blackmail, emotional manipulation in order to obtain various things and any other actions that affect self-esteem;
  • Economic violence – limiting access to and deprivation of economic resources (money, personal property), as well as deprivation of necessary resources of life, such as medicines, food and any other food and basic necessities, forced labour, control of common property and/or partner.
  • Spiritual violence – limitation, prohibiton of satisfaction of moral – spiritual needs, cultural, linguistic, religious values, their ridicule and any other behavior with similar effect.

In addition, you need to pay attention to your partner’s behavior as it can manifest itself either in a direct way (direct interaction with the abuser: hitting, threatening and any other violent action) or in an  indirect way. The second one is more difficult to identify because it manifests through other people or social circles (spreading gossip and rumours, marginalization, neglect etc).

These acts happen quite frequently in these types of relationships and there is a possibility to unrecognized or admit them when they occur. Therefore, it is very important that you know this information and to know how to protect yourself from it and avoid it as much as possible. If you are a victim of one of the forms of violence mentioned above, it is necessary to talk to someone  you trust who can help you in these situations, either from your family (parent, uncle, ant, sister, brother) or from your social circle, such as friends or school (teachers).




[1] Christopher, F. S., & Frandsen, M. M. (1990). Strategies of influence in sex and dating. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 7(1), 89–105.

Law no 2017 from 22 may 2003 for preventing and combating domestic violence