Dating and romantic relationships in adolescence
Interestingly, teens who had a great deal of personal conflict with their parents did not necessarily carry this dynamic over into their relationships.However, teens who learned to work collaboratively with their parents on projects in early adolescence showed higher levels of problem-solving skills in their late-teen romances.Although it's true that some people marry their high school sweethearts, adolescent relationships often operate much differently than those of adults.According to developmental psychologist Erik Erikson, adolescence is marked by the search for an identity.In contemporary society, many individuals begin dating or engaging in other forms of romantic relationships in adolescence and enter adulthood with some experience in this area of life (e.g., Abraham, 2002; Carver, Joyner, & Udry, 2003; De Valk & Liefbroer, 2007; Meier & Allen, 2009).Nevertheless, entry into a committed, theoretically permanent romantic relationship in the form of marriage has traditionally been viewed as one of the markers of becoming an adult (Shanahan, 2000).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.
Eventually, they feel ready to move beyond simple friendships into dating relationships.
Teens ages 15 to 17 are around twice as likely as those ages 13 to 14 to have ever had some type of romantic relationship experience (44% vs. These older teens also are significantly more likely to say they are currently in an active relationship, serious or otherwise (18% vs. Older teens also are more likely to be sexually active, as 36% of 15- to 17-year-olds with romantic relationship experience have had sex, compared with 12% of 13- to 14-year-olds with relationship experience.
Besides age, there are relatively few demographic differences when it comes to teens’ experiences with dating and romantic relationships.
Sex is an important part of healthy adult relationships, but it is not always a factor in teen dating. Pickhardt’s “Psychology Today” article, roughly 50 percent of teens are sexually active by the end of high school.
The further the relationship progresses, and the stronger the feelings of love between the partners, the more likely it is that sex will occur.
The December 2008 issue of the “Journal of Adolescence” includes a study of adolescent relationships by researchers Deborah Welsh and Shmuel Shulman.