Unhealthy relationships can start early and last a lifetime.
Teens often think some behaviors, like teasing and name-calling, are a “normal” part of a relationship.
In fact, love is such an important construct that researchers have studied it for years, investigating the different types, taxonomies, and styles, as well as how to keep it once you’ve finally found that elusive and magical potion.
But what I want to explore in this chapter is that transformation from the loving bonds we share with our parents and family to the passionate union we seek in a romantic partner, and which we seemingly need for survival as individuals and as a species. The word is tossed around, overused, misused, quoted, and commercialized so much that it’s difficult to determine what it really means.
Many teens do not report it because they are afraid to tell friends and family. Youth who experience dating violence are more likely to experience the following: Additionally, youth who are victims of dating violence in high school are at higher risk for victimization during college.
A 2017 CDC Report [PDF 4.32MB] found that approximately 7% of women and 4% of men who ever experienced rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner first experienced some form of partner violence by that partner before 18 years of age. Communicating with your partner, managing uncomfortable emotions like anger and jealousy, and treating others with respect are a few ways to keep relationships healthy and nonviolent.
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The stuff that makes the world go ’round, leaves us swooning, and creates that feeling of walking on air with butterflies in our bellies, barely able to catch our breath.
Also the stuff that makes us want to pull our hair out, scream at the top of our lungs, and declare all-out emotional warfare.
Some 30% of teen daters say they have ever had sex.
Age is the primary demographic dividing line when it comes to dating and romance.
Certainly, the context in which we consider this emotion matters: I love to read; I love Chinese food; I love my mother. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary lists various definitions: “a feeling of strong or constant affection for a person”; “attraction that includes sexual desire”; and “the strong affection felt by people who have a romantic relationship.” But do any of these descriptions really answer our question?