Many people think that “intimate” means being physically intimate, such as being in a sexual relationship. But in reality, you can have an intimate relationship with anyone. An intimate relationship is one in which you can truly be yourself with someone you respect and who respects you. It’s an emotional connection that doesn’t have to include a romantic or sexual relationship. Intimate relationships afford you the chance to grow as a person.
Intimate versus Romantic
Romantic relationships, unfortunately, are not always intimate relationships. In a healthy romantic relationship, both partners respect each other and have their own identity. Each partner is an entire individual, not simply part of a couple.
But just as peer pressure can negatively impact a friendship, romantic partners can overpower each other and create instability.
As you enter adolescence, new kinds of relationships emerge. Friends may find themselves attracted to each other in new ways, and they may become closer or grow apart. Either way, relationships are bound to change during the teenage years, especially in the area of romance.
Assessing Your Relationship
Every relationship is different, but certain qualities are necessary no matter what. To assess your feelings about a romantic relationship, ask these questions:
- What kinds of trust are necessary in a relationship?
- What support should you look for in a relationship?
- How can you support your partner?
- What sort of healthy limits can actually improve your relationship?
Sometimes your feelings about a relationship aren’t completely clear. You might really like your partner when you talk about them to your friends, but feel uncomfortable when you’re actually with that person.
Learning the characteristics of a healthy relationship can help you sort out your feelings and determine if this relationship is healthy and important to you.
Last reviewed: November 2019