Choosing to have a relationship

When deciding if you want to be in a relationship, it's important think about what you want in a relationship. Consider whether you’re ready for a relationship or whether it’s worth waiting until the right person comes along. Know the person you want to start a relationship with? Find out more about them and ask if they’re ready. Most importantly, try not to rush into anything before you’ve thought it through.

This might help if you:

  • Aren’t sure if you’re ready for a relationship
  • Don’t know what you’re looking for in a relationship
  • Are thinking about starting up a relationship
Two girls' hands

What are you looking for?

Deciding whether you want to get into a relationship with another person isn’t always straightforward. It can be worth asking yourself some questions before seeking out a relationship, whether you have someone in mind or want to start looking. 

If you really want a relationship it’s worth thinking carefully about exactly what that means. What exactly do you want in a relationship and what’s important to you?
Some of the qualities of healthy relationships can be:
  • Trust
  • Honesty 
  • Affection 
  • Respect 
  • Love
Write a list of the things you’re looking for in a relationship and underline the things you won’t compromise on. Try to avoid listing physical attributes, like long hair or blue eyes, because those kinds of things can distract you from the more serious qualities (though attraction is, of course, important!)

Are you ready for a relationship?

It’s not unusual to want to be in a relationship as this is quite a normal part of developing as a young person. But it’s ok to take your time and wait until you genuinely feel you’re ready to be in a relationship. Ways to tell that you’re ready for a relationship are:
  • You’re comfortable with who you are
  • A relationship is something you want, not something you feel you need
  • You’re willing to wait for the right person
  • You’re ready to dedicate your time and attention to someone else
  • You aren’t being pressured into a relationship by others
If you’re not sure that you’re ready for a relationship, avoid rushing into anything serious. If you think you might be ready, wait for the right person and see how you go.

Do you have someone in mind?

If you are attracted to someone and considering a relationship with them, spend some time getting to know them and see if you’re compatible. You can discover more about each other the more time you spend together.

If you already know the person, it may be a good idea to think about how it may affect the friendship if you make a move.

Do they want a relationship?

It may be hard when you realise that a person you’re interested in doesn’t feel the same way. If this happens you may feel rejected, embarrassed or sad.

Try to remember the good things about yourself, the interests that you enjoy, and the good things in your life. Talking to someone you trust may also be helpful. This may be a friend, family member or youth worker.

Making the decision

You should never feel locked into a relationship; even if you decide that you’re ready for one. Wanting a relationship now doesn’t mean you’ll want a relationship later, and you have to constantly assess how you’re feeling about it over time.

In making your decision it’s important to keep in mind the feelings of the person that you’re with or want to be with. It’s important they know what you’re thinking. Try not to play with someone’s emotions by going back and forth about whether you want to be with them or not.

Finally, the only person who can make the decision about whether you are ready for a relationship is you.

What can I do now?

  • Get to know the person and really have a good think before deciding.
  • Think about your reasons for wanting to get into a relationship. Write a list of the pros and cons.
  • Read more about the benefits of being single.
Last reviewed: 07 July, 2015
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