Teens and Dating


Tips for Parents and Professionals

Author: Kate Fogarty Source: University of Florida IFAS Extension


Romantic Feelings of Teens: A Natural Process


Teens face strong pressures to date, as well as get involved in a romantic relationship1. A romantic relationship is one that invloves feelings of attraction–physical and friendship. In fact, over half of teens in the United States report dating regularly (casual dates with one or more partners at different times) whereas a third claim to have a steady dating (exclusive) partner2. Young teens usually hang out with peers who are the same gender as they are. As they reach the mid-teen years (age 14-15 years), they start having relationships with peers of the opposite sex3. Such relationships are likely to be friendships and/or physical attractions. Although most romantic relationships among 12- to 14-year-olds last less than 5 months, by age 16 relationships last an average of 2 years4. In the early teen years dating is more superficial–for fun and recreation, status among peers, and exploring attractiveness/sexuality. In the older teen years youth are looking for intimacy, companionship, affection, and social support.

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