It’s not just a teenage wasteland: romantic relationships take shape.
Romantic relationships among adolescents are the subject of literature since time immemorial — Romeo and Juliet were teens — more recently blowing up on social media and in popular entertainment, where star-crossed lovers and vampire heartthrobs meet on the field of binge-worthy battle!
According to Bradford, Miller and Higginbotham ( Journal of Couple and Relationship Therapy, 2022), while research has looked at factors shaping adolescent relationships. they have yet to examine the kinds of relationships teens have.
Why It Matters
Early relationships may be a source of resilience and satisfaction and, unfortunately, also abuse, unwanted sex, and unhealthy patterns of relationship and control, which may set the stage into adulthood. Getting it right, out of the gate, is the way to roll.
Starting with the Fundamentals
The work draws on behavioral systems theory, an outgrowth of attachment theory , positing that secure working models are associated with superior communications, healthy boundaries and good self-care.
Sliding versus deciding, whether teens make spur-of-the-moment decisions or are thoughtful about beginning and staying in relationships.
Refusal of unwanted intimacy, noting that 40 percent of males and 62 percent of females report engaging in unwanted or ambivalent sex, connected with gender norms and societal expectations as well as sense of self-efficacy.
Romanticism, the idealized sense that “love will conquer all”. This has pros and cons. Pros are that partners may persist through adversity to achieve durable, satisfying relationships; cons that they tend to make poor decisions, sticking to it even when ill-fated. Boys tend to be more romantic.
Control tolerance, where factors like dependency and relationship role models (e.g. family, peer, and media relationships) lead to either acceptance of controlling, even abusive, behaviors or a stronger sense of boundaries, with the capacity to make decisions favorable for one’s own well-being to enchance mutual growth and autonomy, and reject…