Over the course of your life, you will likely have many relationships — not all of them will be romantic, but some of them may be.

Many people begin to think about romantic relationships, or even start dating, as teenagers. People date for lots of different reasons, like to meet more friends, to have someone to hang out with, to share a new experience with someone, to be close to someone, or to be loved.

Your family and culture probably have very specific ideas about dating. In some families, teenagers are not allowed to date, others have rules about when teens can start dating, who they can see, where they can go, and what they can do. It might be helpful to talk to your parents/guardians early, so that you know what they think about dating and what their rules are.

Some teens who date may go out with someone casually, and may even date more than one person at the same time. Other teens may date one person exclusively to see if they want to enter into a more serious, romantic relationship.

The media and popular culture sometimes make it feel like we have to find our “soul mate”— the one person who can be and mean everything to us—as soon as possible. The truth is that one person can’t be everything to someone else. Even people who have a romantic partner need other friends and family who care about them.

Don’t give in to the pressure you may feel to find a boyfriend or girlfriend. You should know that many people prefer to hang out and share new experiences with their friends. In fact, a lot of teenagers never date. And if you do get into a relationship, don’t spend all of your time with this person and ignore your friends and family.

Some dating and romantic relationships include shared sexual activity and some don’t. Though it often seems like everyone is having sex — don’t believe it. Many couples in dating and romantic relationships aren’t having sex. Don’t give in to any pressure you might feel; you have to decide what is right for you.