Long-Term Relationships for Teens

Respecting your partner is one step in developing a long-lasting relationship.
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During the teen years romantic feelings may turn from childish crushes to true and sometimes long-lasting love. As teens develop the maturity to truly bond with a romantic partner, going beyond the initial chemistry of attraction, they can enter into a long-term relationship. Understanding how to handle the complex issues that go along with a more mature relationship--such as emotional closeness and commitment--is key to staying together for the long haul.

1 Adding Attraction

A long-term loving relationship includes a combination of emotional ingredients such as attraction, closeness and commitment, according to the TeensHealth section of the KidsHealth website. Although all of your relationships may seem to start off with that special spark of attraction or click of chemistry, this isn't enough to keep things going. While attraction is a key element of a romantic relationship, on its own it's not likely to result in a long-term partnership. When you have an attraction, and nothing else, the relationship is more of an infatuation or crush than a true long-term love, as the developmental experts at KidsHealth note. You'll need additional elements--such as trust, respect and emotional bonds--to turn attraction into a real commitment.

2 Keeping Close

As your relationship progresses, developing close bonds and a sense of commitment is crucial for building long-term ties. While the physical aspect of romance can breed an initial sense of closeness, a mature adult-like relationship requires a mental and emotional connection as well. This may mean that you share your secrets, hopes and joys with your boyfriend or open up about your fears to your girlfriend. Although it's often easy to mistake the beginning feelings that comes along with chemistry for emotional closeness, relationships that include sharing and caring aspects are more likely to move into the long-term area.

3 Trust and Commitment

Without trust and honesty it's unlikely that your relationship will last. Trust is a two-way street, meaning that in a mature relationship you need to trust your partner just as much as he trusts you. The more that you trust your boyfriend or girlfriend, the more of yourself you can commit to this person. While trust doesn't happen overnight, you can build this essential element up over time, suggests the Stayteen.org website. For example, if you're constantly checking your boyfriend's texts because you think that he's talking to another girl, the lack of trust may take your relationship from long term to long lost.

4 The Long Haul

Starting a serious relationship during high school, or the beginning years of college, may or may not turn into a long-lasting love, say the experts at KidsHealth. During the teen years it's common for young adults to casually date, experiencing what different types of people mean to them or searching for what they truly want in a relationship. That experimentation does not mean it's impossible to find true love during the teen years. If your relationship includes the elements that are essential to a long-term partnership--closeness, trust, honesty and an emotional bond--it may stand the test of time.

Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.