Romantic Relationships

Strange New World

Developing romantic interests in others is a natural part of maturing, it can be intense in wonderful and awful ways and it can begin at any point in the teen journey.  This part of the adventure is driven by a combination of hormones, emotional maturity and the increasing importance of the social world. In other words, romantic love comes from hormones and the heart.  

Benefits of Romantic Relationships

Romantic relationships in the teen years are not just exciting, they can bring a surprising number of benefits – through experience and practice and through successes and disappointments.   

Barriers and Pitfalls

Romantic relationships are challenging at any age and they are particularly challenging when they are a new part of life.  There are a bunch of natural barriers to overcome and pitfalls to avoid or deal with.

Age Differences

Because adolescence is a developmental heroic journey, it is a given that you will be very different at the beginning of the journey than you will be as it progresses.  That is true for romantic relationships. There is a general difference between romantic relationships in the early teens and the later teens. This doesn’t hold true for everyone, but it does in general.

Types of Relationships

Romantic relationships can come in all kinds of forms.  One way to look at them is to pay attention to these three characteristics and the different ways they can combine.  Romantic relationships usually start with attraction and grow into closeness as they mature. Commitment can follow or the relationship can be relatively short-lived.  The passion may be intense in the beginning and come and go over the course of the romantic relationship, but the closeness will be consistent.


Love is delicate and there are a bunch of factors that can cause a romantic relationship to end.  Remember, as teenagers everyone in a romantic relationship is a moving target and finding a fit that lasts is just not likely.  Needs change and one or both partners may discover that the fit they had no longer works and the relationship needs to end – as a romantic relationship.