Dating or a relationship

Early attraction often involves the physical attributes of the partner and include things like outward appearance, body type, interests and personality traits.

At this stage, the attraction may not be too “deep” and each half of a couple is generally putting his or her best foot forward.

Differences are not noticed or are dismissed with thoughts like “not a big deal” or “she will change”.

Couples generally do not have much conflict at this stage of the cycle as each is really trying hard to impress the other person.

If the two of you go out alone, tell your parents or guardians who you are going with and where.

And follow your parents' rules for things like curfew, since those often are set for your safety.

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Staying calm shows that you're getting more mature. Healthy dating relationships start with the same things that all healthy relationships start with.

Waiting until the heat of the moment to try to cool things down doesn't work as well.

The person you're with should always respect your right to say no. These include feeling embarrassed or upset afterward, getting pregnant, and getting a sexually transmitted disease (also known as an STI). You can take steps to stay safe whenever you go out with someone.

It's great when it happens, but it usually takes time! Sexual feelings can be strong, and you may feel confused. In our section on dating and sexual feelings, you can read about deciding about sex, why waiting makes sense, talking to your partner about sex, birth control, and more.

Keep in mind that the sex in movies, music, and TV shows often doesn't reflect real or healthy relationships. Trust your instincts and treat yourself with respect — and make sure your crush does, too. Talk with the other person ahead of time about what you will and will not do physically.

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