Whether it's your first love or you are about to graduate with your high school sweetheart young love can be very sweet and fun... but it can also leave you with a few questions. Let's answer them, shall we?
Relationships can be difficult in general. But navigating a ROMANTIC relationship WHILE dealing with all the other worries that come with being a teen can be even harder. Good thing you don't have to got through it alone ;). Today we are going to be answering some of the hard hitting questions, asked by YOU via Instagram, about relationships.
*DISCLAIMER* In this article we are not telling you what you HAVE to do or SHOULD do, we are simply giving you advice based off of our own experiences and research :).
Let's dive in...
"Do you think you can fall in love this young? Like as a teen." and "Is it ok to go on dates as a 13 year old?"
If you have had a OneLife educator at your school in the past, you know that we spend some time in class discussing the difference between love and infatuation. It is very common to have strong feelings for someone as a teen and immediately say it's love. I'M NOT SAYING YOU CAN'T FALL IN LOVE AS A TEENAGER. But I am saying you need to be very careful that you are in love and not just infatuated. Also remember, infatuation can turn into love. But the main difference between love and infatuation is that love is based off of shared experiences, goals and values. While infatuation is, most of the time, solely based off of attraction, popularity or sex. Regardless of whether you are in love or infatuated with your significant other, it is important to make sure you are keeping boundaries on your relationship to make sure you are protecting your heart from getting involved in a "mini marriage" that could end in a "mini divorce".
"Is it ok to go on dates as 13 year old?" This is subjective to what your legal guardians are ok with because at 13 you don't have a way to get to a date without an adults help and you probably wouldn't be able to pay for a date without the help of an adult either. However if an adult is ok with it and you have the means to go on a date I say "Why not?". In a time where it is so easy to simply send someone a "you up?" text I would LOVE to see going on real dates make a comeback. This goes for dating in general, not just at 13, you deserve someone who is going to but effort into your relationship and call me crazy but I think taking someone on a picnic take a lot more effort than asking for their snapchat. Try not to get ahead of yourself and immediately think "date = togetha 4 eva" but if you want to go on a date with someone because you genuinely just want to get to know them, I say go for it. Dating is really just a way to get to know someone ad yourself better and figure out what you may want or not want out of a future partner.
"When should you have your first kiss in a relationship?" and " What do you do if the other person wants to kiss but you don't?"
It's really hard to say WHEN you should kiss someone in a relationship. In my own life I go with the "Don't kiss someone until they are committed". This means I would advice you not to kiss someone until you two have verbalized that they are your boyfriend or girlfriend and that they aren't going to be kissing anyone else. Basically I would advise against kissing in the dating or "talking" phase. When you have established that they are your boyfriend or girlfriend it is really up to the two of you when you want to kiss. AS LONG AS BOTH OF YOU ARE READY.
This leads me to our next question, if someone want to kiss you and you don't want to kiss them. THEN YOU DON'T KISS THEM. Even if they have the title of "boyfriend or girlfriend", it still does not giver them the right to do ANYTHING you are not comfortable with. If they keep pushing you to kiss them, even after you have said you don't want to, I would even encourage you to end the relationship. If you are scared to do so or simply aren't sure where to start reach out to an adult you trust and I'm sure they will find a way to help you. Also, OneLife's Instagram DMs are always open.
Now the question we've all been waiting for...
"Is it ok to have sex as a teen?"
I am not here to tell you what is "ok" and what isn't but I do want to present you with some facts that us know that having sex in your teenage years may not be the best idea.
First of all, in the state of Tennessee the age of consent is 18. So even if you are BOTH minors, you are BOTH at risk of being charged with statutory rape, which is a serious offense.
Also, do you remember when I talked about "mini marriages" could end in "mini divorce", this could be something you get exposed to when engaging in ANY sexual activity in your teens. I don't tell you these things to scare you but it is important to understand the risk that comes with having sex outside of a long term committed relationship, like marriage. TV, movies and porn do not give us a realistic view of the way sex in our teenage years actually effects us. They glamorize teen pregnancy and rarely talk about STDS, which are real risks when engaging in sexual activity in your teenage years. Of course if you experience an unplanned pregnancy or an STD OneLife has resources to help you. But we also want to make you aware of ways to prevent these things from happening.
I know abstaining from sex is easier said than done. If you have a pulse and are in a relationship with a person you find attractive it is natural to feel compelled to take things to the next step. But it is more important to consider what will effect both of you in the long run and not just what feels right at the time. I might think it looks fun to jump through a ring of fire, but I could end up dealing with the effects of the burn for the rest of my life. This is why it is important to set boundaries on your relationship. This could be not laying down together or not hanging out alone after a certain time. That is a conversation for you and your partner to discuss and decide on your boundaries together.
I hope this answered a few of the questions you may have about navigating romantic relationships in your teenage years. If you have any more questions OneLife's Instagram DMs are always open and we also recommend having a trusted adult in your life to discuss the ups and downs of your teenage years with.