Aggression and violence in dating relationships

In adolescence, having a girlfriend or boyfriend can boost one's confidence.

When relationships are characterized by intimacy and good communication, youth are happier with themselves.

For more on romantic relationships and sexual experience, see Demographics: Sexual Health. Entering the world of relationships almost inevitably leads to the emotionally vulnerable experience of breaking up.

For youth who are more sensitive to rejection, breaking up can trigger a dive into self-doubt and despair.

Relationships can support sexual development, an important part of growing to adulthood.

Most adolescents believe that sex should occur within the context of a romantic relationship, and while not all relationships are sexual, most sexually active youth are monogamous.

Culture and sexual orientation have an impact on the timing and number of relationships.

For example, Asian American teens tend to enter romantic relationships later than other teens; generally speaking, dating in adolescence is less accepted in Asian cultures.

Puberty launches intense interest in romantic relationships.

In the pre- and early teen years, romance comes on the scene in the form of crushes, though there may be little contact with the object of infatuation.

Those in their early teens -- especially individuals with high social standing -- typically socialize outside of school in mixed-gender groups.

Young people value the support, trust, and closeness they experience in romantic relationships.

In fact, teens have more conflicts with their parents and peers than with romantic partners, though conflict within romantic relationships increases with age.

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