Relationships, families & friends
Relationships aren't just about what happens in your love life! Most important relationships do involve feelings but don't involve any romance, for example with family, friends and teachers.
As a teenager, you have more freedom than when you were younger. Adults around you are beginning to trust you to look after yourself. But with this freedom comes responsibility. You'll encounter new situations and new ideas everywhere: and love, sex and the way you relate to people can be some of the most significant.
Relationships have their ups and downs. To make them work well, good communication and respect is important. Everyone has the right to feel safe and happy. Try not to make judgements about people before you get to know them – sometimes the most rewarding relationships are with the most unexpected people!
What about romantic and sexual relationships?
It's normal to find you suddenly have strong feelings, or a crush, on someone. It’s up to you whether you keep these feelings private, express them to the person directly, or speak to a friend first.
Speaking your feelings aloud puts you in a vulnerable space. If your feelings aren't returned, you may feel exposed and rejected. However, if they are returned, you may find yourself in an exciting new friendship or relationship.
You may also find that someone has a crush on you but you don't feel the same about them. Try to treat this person the way you would want to be treated. Be honest and clear about your feelings.
Sometimes we like someone instantly, and other times, we get to know them slowly. Flirting doesn't necessarily lead to dating; it’s often just a way of finding out that someone likes us, or telling others that we like them. Everyone will express their feelings differently so it's important to remember that some people only give very subtle cues about how they feel.
It's also important to remember that flirting is never an open invitation for sex or unwanted advances. If you think someone is flirting, it doesn't necessarily mean they want to sleep with you and, in turn, just because you flirt with someone, it doesn't mean you owe them anything.
Cheating is when one person in a relationship is secretly intimate with another person outside the relationship. If it's you that cheated, you need to own your actions and be clear with yourself about why you did it and how you feel. "Because I was drunk" is not a real answer. Even under the influence of alcohol, we still have the capacity to make choices. You might ask yourself:
- Are you unhappy in your relationship?
- Were you trying to make your partner jealous? If so, why?
- Deep down do you want your partner to find out so the relationship has a reason to end?
If this is the case, maybe you need to end the relationship – the sooner the better.
If you want your relationship to continue, think about why you cheated. In any case, you need to accept responsibility for your actions.
If someone has cheated on you, you are probably feeling hurt and upset. If you have lost trust in the other person, you will need to ask yourself whether you want the relationship to continue. You might find it useful to call Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800