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We use the gender-neutral term “partners” to refer to people in an intimate relationship, but you might use a different word (and that’s okay)!No matter how you define dating, it’s important to remember that abuse can occur within all kinds of intimate relationships.At loveisrespect, we define “dating” as two (or possibly more than two! The relationship may be sexual, but it doesn’t have to be.It may be serious or casual, straight or gay, committed or open, short-term or long-term.Keep these questions in mind: Hooking up is a broad term, but generally it refers to casual encounters between people who can be friends but don’t have to be.They may or may not be your only partner and can include sex.Even if you are “hooking up,” your partner should not be disrespectful or controlling.
Ultimately, what matters is that you personally feel ready and confident to make this decision.
At loveisrespect, we get all kinds of questions about dating. If you have questions of your own or need more information, you can always chat with a trained peer advocate!
“Dating” means different things to different people, particularly across generations.
There are other types of relationships that might not be considered dating that are just as real and valid.
Maybe you have a child with somebody but do not consider yourself to be in a dating relationship with that person.Dating someone your family doesn’t like can be really hard.It may cause conflict that makes you feel like you can’t be honest or even near the people you love.If something makes you uncomfortable, scared or threatened, you could be experiencing the warning signs of an unhealthy or abusive relationship. Pregnant and parenting teens are at a higher risk of experiencing physical abuse.