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Dating and Relationships

So you’ve found someone you really click with, you both like each other and want to take things further? Awesome!

It may be your first time dating or being in a romantic relationship, or your first time with a new partner. Either way, choosing to date or become exclusive is a pretty big deal!

Dating and relationships can be super fun and exciting! They can give you butterflies of both the best, and nerve-wracking kind. While there are no set rules for romance, there are some things to consider to make sure your dating and relationship experiences are the best possible.

Before you read over the content in this section, check out the following video. Young people from Aotearoa wanted to share their ideas on teen dating and what they wish they had known. 

Reflections on teen dating

First thing’s first!


When dating or starting a romantic relationship, it can help to know a bit about yourself and what you want and expect. It’s also important to find out about what the other person wants and expects. This is where talking about boundaries is super important.

My boundaries

It can also help to think about:

  • How long you think you’ll be with this person: if one of you is looking for something short term and the other is thinking about something longer term, this can cause issues. It’s important that you’re both on the same page.
  • The time you’ve got to give: talking and hanging out with someone can take up a lot of time, especially when you’re getting to know someone. Do you have time to be dating or be in a relationship?
  • Whether you’re getting involved for the right reasons: do you really like the person or are you dating them due to peer pressure, wanting/needing a distraction, or just ‘because’?
  • What the other person may want (AKA. their boundaries): are you both looking for the same things in a relationship or do you have different ideas about what your relationship will be? Check out My Boundariesfor more info.
  • What you’re willing to give up vs. what you might get out of a relationship: you now have to consider another person and make compromises so that the relationship works for you both. What changes are you happy making to your life?

Culture, faith, gender and sexuality

Culture, faith, gender and sexuality can be important aspects of a person and their life, and can play a big role in dating and relationships.

You might find that the two of you have to move between different cultures or religions, or that you both have different ways to identify in terms of gender and sexuality. Perhaps you are dating someone who is trans? Perhaps your partner is bisexual and you are heterosexual or gay/lesbian? Maybe there are different expectations being placed on you both as a result of culture and/or religion?

It’s important to take all of these things into account and be considerate of one another’s differences. It can help to be open with each other from the very beginning, and talk about what is most important to you both and how you might negotiate any differences together, or manage the expectations of others (such as friends, whānau or community members).

What to do on dates
How to be intimate
What to watch out for
Related topics
My boundaries
What’s never okay