This article was inspired by the fact that I recently got into my first ‘relationship’ and realised almost instantly after I said ‘yes’ to going out with him that I wasn’t ready. All the advice you’re about to read is advice that I would’ve given my past self, and I’m not pretending it’s going to work for everyone. I hope this advice helps someone.
Crushes and relationships are very different
It goes without saying, but there are different feelings when you have a crush on someone than when you’re actually in a relationship with them. Before you’re in a relationship with said person, there’s a whole different range of emotions that could be referred to as the ‘thrill of the chase’. In some cases, the feelings someone thinks they have for a person is an illusion created by the brain (which soon becomes apparent after a relationship is initiated). My advice would be to think long and hard about exactly what you’re feeling for this person. Are you genuinely attracted to them, or are you attracted to the idea of them? Both are completely normal and extremely common. Try and imagine yourself in a romantic situation with them and see how you feel.
You are not a bad person if your feelings change
I felt terrible for a very long time after I broke off the relationship because I thought it was my fault I’d lost interest and it wasn’t fair on this person. However, as a friend pointed out to me, I could not help how I was feeling. I couldn’t change the fact that I didn’t feel happy around him and I most definitely couldn’t change the gut instinct screaming at me that it wasn’t right for me to be in this situation. When all is said and done, you cannot change the fact that you’re feeling a certain way. What you can change is what’s causing these feelings. If being in a relationship is having a negative effect on your mental health (as it had with mine), you can decide to break it off at any point. You are in complete control of your life. I’m not saying it won’t hurt the other person, because, if they care about you, it will. However, this is temporary. You cannot stay in a situation that is having a really negative effect on you.
Trust your gut instinct
It is perfectly normal to have doubts about a new relationship, and these feelings just need to be left alone to go away in their own time. However, what isn’t normal is feeling a sense of dread before seeing them, or the repeated thoughts that this situation isn’t right for you to be in. People may tell you to ‘ride out’ the feelings of awkwardness at the start of a relationship, which works when both parties have genuine feelings for each other and feel ready for a relationship, but please trust your instincts. If you persistently feel that something is wrong, or that you shouldn’t be in that situation or relationship, it’s not something that you should ignore for very long.
Most importantly: Have fun!
If you’re on this website, the likelihood is that you’re still extremely young. Some of you may even still be children. Serious relationship commitments are not expected (and are by no means common) at this age, despite the pressure you may feel from everyone else to have your first kiss or your first romantic partner. If you want to talk
to several people without getting into a relationship or having feelings for any of them, that’s absolutely fine! If you would like to give a relationship a go, that’s perfectly fine as well. Please just make sure you’re being safe (especially if sex is involved) and that everyone in the situation is happy and completely aware of how each other views the situation (for example, what one person may see as a fun time may be a developing relationship in the other person’s eyes). As well as this, make sure everything you’re doing is legal and every other person involved is of a legal age to do so too. For example, it’s always best to wait until the age of consent to have sexual intercourse, and always use contraception!
BASIC RELATIONSHIP ADVICE
* If your significant other tries to force you/forces you into a situation they know you are not comfortable in, please begin to question how much they care about you.
* If your significant other pressures you for sex (or anything else, for that matter) and you have made it clear you do not want it, question whether they actually care for you or not.
* If you find yourself genuinely wondering whether you’re in an abusive relationship, the likelihood is that you are.
* Make sure both of you are clear on what the other person wants from the relationship.
* Always tell someone you trust, including parents, relatives, guardians, friends, therapists or teachers, about any kind of abuse you’ve suffered.
Stay safe, and I hope you’re all well.
~ Lauren xxx
Teenagers With Experience is an organisation created to provide teenagers worldwide with an online platform to share their own experiences to be able to help, inform and educate others on a variety of different topics. We aim to provide a safe space to all young people. You can contact us via email, social media or our contact form found on our home page.