Dating and romantic relationships in adolescence
In contemporary society, many individuals begin dating or engaging in other forms of romantic relationships in adolescence and enter adulthood with some experience in this area of life (e.g., Abraham, 2002; Carver, Joyner, & Udry, 2003; De Valk & Liefbroer, 2007; Meier & Allen, 2009).
Nevertheless, entry into a committed, theoretically permanent romantic relationship in the form of marriage has traditionally been viewed as one of the markers of becoming an adult (Shanahan, 2000).
Attraction, whether physical or based on personality traits, is the force that brings the partners together.
However, teens who learned to work collaboratively with their parents on projects in early adolescence showed higher levels of problem-solving skills in their late-teen romances.As kids grow and mature, they begin identifying more heavily with their peers than with their parents.Eventually, they feel ready to move beyond simple friendships into dating relationships.Sex is an important part of healthy adult relationships, but it is not always a factor in teen dating. Pickhardt’s “Psychology Today” article, roughly 50 percent of teens are sexually active by the end of high school.The further the relationship progresses, and the stronger the feelings of love between the partners, the more likely it is that sex will occur.
Thus, the issue of romantic relationships is salient to the transition to adulthood.