Although they are very often fun and enjoyable, many people experience great anxiety about relationships during their teen life. Here are some of the things you should analyze to know if you are in the right and healthy relationship.

1. Emotions
Relationships can affect us very deeply on an emotional level, particularly romantic relationships. Teens can easily become overwhelmed by the strong feelings evoked by their early experiences of love and heartbreak. It is important to view teenage relationships as an opportunity to learn and grow rather than taking them too seriously. If they become serious over time then it will happen naturally and feelings will intensify accordingly. Give your heart slowly and enjoy the experience.loving_black_couple1

2. Break-Ups
One of the most difficult things in life is accepting that someone we care for no longer wishes to be involved in our lives. It can also be hard when the situation is reversed and we want to end a relationship. Over time these things get easier to cope with; though break-ups are never fun. It is important to try to manage these unpleasant events with dignity and respect. One of the most hurtful things is when the person initiating the break-up humiliates the other party. Obviously this should be avoided, as a person who behaves in this way will soon get a bad name and may find that others become wary of involvement with him/her.

3. Expectations
These days it can be difficult to know what sorts of behavior are appropriate in social situations and within relationships. Fifty years ago the social standard was clear and everybody knew what was expected of them and how they were supposed to behave. A lot has changed since then and young people often struggle to answer the moral and personal questions which arise in the course of a relationship. It is clear that very many people get it wrong when making important choices – the enormous number of unwanted teen pregnancies attests to that.

4. Sexual experiences
When and with whom we choose to have our first sexual experience is a very important decision. In the past the social standard was that you waited until your wedding night to have sex whereas now there is no hard-and-fast rule, except the lawful age of consent. Legally people are able to consent to sex when they are in many other respects still a child.

5. Peer pressure
Very often young people are made to feel inexperienced or prudish by the comments of peers – sometimes they feel under pressure to engage in a sexual relationship before they are ready or really want to, just so they can feel as “grown-up” as their friends. They may even be pushed into it just to fit in. There are many reasons to have sex, but the fact that your friends want you to, is one of the very worst. It is girls who have the most to lose here, as they are the ones who can become pregnant as the result of thoughtless sexual activity.

6. Choices have consequences.
Another possible adverse consequence of careless sexual intercourse is the transmission of Sexually Transmitted Disease .The rates of S.T.Ds is worryingly sadhigh among teens.
It is up to each of us to make personal choices in this area, and we should do so before we find ourselves in a challenging situation. If you have decided to wait until later in life to have sex and your friends try to pressure you into having sex sooner it might be appropriate to ask if they are true friends. And if a boyfriend/girlfriend puts you under pressure to have sex then it is likely that they do not have sincere feelings for you.
If you do decide that you want to begin having sex in your teens then it is up to you to inform yourself about contraception and the problem of S.T.Ds. If you are in a relationship it is a good idea to discuss things before you begin to have sexual intercourse. Our sexuality is a very important and intimate part of ourselves, and sexual behaviors can stimulate very strong emotions and feelings – be sure that you are in a relationship which is solid enough to withstand these before you take things further.
Although these decisions are very personal it is a good idea to talk to someone you trust when making them, preferably an adult – a parent, a teacher or an older sibling. If you are making these decisions and feels that there is nobody you can talk to you could speak to your GP or call a youth helpline.

7. Unpopularity and Rejection
The social arena of the teenage years can be challenging and painful. When we find ourselves isolated from our social group and unpopular it may exact a very heavy toll on our self-esteem. It is important to remember that school is not forever and many people who were unhappy at school have a wonderful adult life. However rejection and unpopularity during our teens can be especially painful.
happyThere is no absolute answer to rejection and isolation at school, or in any social grouping – however it can be a good idea to spend time with other groups, preferably those who share your interests. School is only one small part of our lives, but it can seem to be everything when we are there.

8. Same Sex Attraction
Many teenagers experience feelings of attraction towards people of their own gender. This can provoke considerable distress, confusion and fear. Sometimes these feelings pass, like a so-called “phase”. Sometimes they remain and the young person must make important life-choices. Our early relationships are important stepping-stones in our development.

Choices made, whether bad or good, follow you forever and affect everyone in their path one way or another. Our lives are a sum of the choices we have made.

Keep it real
Muthoni Wachira