What is a healthy intimate relationship for me as a Teenager?
Updated: Aug 30
If you have managed to get the conversation going and decide to go out on a date, how do you decide whether or not to get physical with the person you like? Lots of people want to engage with their sexuality and that’s okay, as long as you’re safe. Safety can mean checking out places such as Family Planning. It can also mean that you stay in an environment where your friends or other people are around to support you if anything goes wrong. Remember that if you start to get physical and change your mind, that is okay. No means no even if you started with yes. It can sometimes be really hard to say no if you like somebody. The best way to say no when you want to say yes to an ongoing intimate relationship is by talking about it. You could say something like: “I think you’re great and I want to spend time with you, to do X, Y and Z with you, but right now I’m not ready to have sex or to get physical, is that okay with you?”
If you’ve chosen a winner they’ll accept this. If you’ve chosen someone who has some problems, they might not be okay. If they’re not okay with it, remember it’s their problem and you need to do what’s right for you.
Alcohol and other drugs (AOD).
Some people use alcohol and drugs to deal with the nerves of going out with somebody they really like. Without wanting to get into the ins and outs of AOD here, know that it can backfire. If you really like somebody, but end up throwing up all over them or making out with their best friend because you were so out of it, the relationship isn’t going to travel so well.
If you’re really nervous, that’s really normal! Don’t try and push the nerves away, they’re part of the fun. Just like you did with your judgements, notice your nerves and see if you can put them in an imaginary box beside you. They’ll keep trying to jump up and grab your attention, just like a puppy or kitten jumps up and grabs your attention. Treat them as you would the puppy or kitten, acknowledge them and invite them to get back in the box.
So it’s a relationship? So you’ve overcome your nerves and you’ve been seeing each other for a couple of months… it might be time to check out some quizzes and info that will help you figure out if you’re in a relationship that you want to stay in. A couple of important points though: a relationship needs to have three parts; me, you and we.
Me means that you still need to have time to do things on your own, with your friends, with your family, as does the person you are in a relationship with- You. Remember your friends and family love you “same same but different”. That means they may not be the love of your life, but they do love you and will probably always be there for you. The We part is just as important- you need to do things together and keep sharing new moments.
Tricky Feelings and Times So you’ve got some independence and you’ve got some connection. What do you do if someone else is sending instant messages to your girlfriend (GF) or boyfriend (BF) and your worried that they’re playing around on you? What if they’ve read but not responded to your facebook post and you’re left dangling for hours? Should you come out with it… “I knew you’d end up cheating on me” or “you don’t care about anybody but yourself”? How critical can you be before your partner becomes defensive? There’s no such thing as positive criticism. Criticism often leads to people becoming defensive, contemptuous, or they might shut down and refuse to talk or communicate via Facebook, Snapchat, text or any other way. Remember, it’s okay to get a bit jealous sometimes. Jealousy is a normal feeling that’s important to be aware of and to acknowledge. However, acting on jealousy by trying to control who your partner talks to is not okay. Instead of criticising and being contemptuous, use your assertiveness skills to talk about what you don’t like. “I feel _______ about__________. What I would like/need is _____________________” Instead of being defensive, admit responsibility for what you can. It’s important to own some part of the problem.
Need more help?
Remember that you don’t have to deal with things on your own, and help is available. Deciding to get help is a sometimes tough but brave first step in dealing with relationship issues. You can start by talking to a trusted adult such as a parent, carer, family member, teacher or school counsellor and telling them how you’re feeling. If any of the information we’ve talked about here has concerned you, or you’d like to chat to someone about what’s going on for you, help is available.
Speak to you parents, your school counsellor or approach your GP if you need help. You can also speak Narmi by appointment if you are stuck in your relationship- she is compassionate, non-judgemental and has experience working with many teenagers going through a difficult time!