Intimate relationships

How do we know that we desire someone, or that they desire us?

Are we reading the body language correctly? Maybe we're making assumptions about other people's feelings. The thing to do here is to communicate clearly with the other person what you'd like, and listen very carefully to what they say they'd like. See how to find lasting love, and 10 ways to create a strong relationship.

Clear, respectful communication is essential in intimate matters. If the other person avoids the point, if you begin to feel that they're not to be trusted, or if you feel that they don't understand or respect what you're asking, maybe you'd better look elsewhere, or come and talk things over with a counsellor.


Beginning an intimate relationship

If you're starting to feel attracted to someone, but don't really know what either you or they think just yet, simply expressing the desire to be with them and being good company is a good start.

Consider: would it be better if you just remained as friends? Are you reading the body language correctly? Maybe you're making assumptions about the other person's feelings. How do we know that we desire someone, or that they desire us? The thing to do here is to communicate clearly with the other person what you'd like, and listen very carefully to what they say they'd like. If the other person avoids the point, if you feel that they don't understand or respect what you're asking, or you begin to feel they're not to be trusted, maybe you'd better look elsewhere.

Even if they are interested, are you really looking for a partner right now, or worried that it's not going to happen, so just going along with something, or settling for less?

Are you reacting to pressure from friends to be sexually active, or to have a relationship - any sort of relationship? Are you being led into something you don't really want, or starting something that the other person doesn't really want? Maybe you need to change, or at least examine, your behaviour and expectations. There may be a need to look at how good you are at asserting yourself, or considering the needs of others. See effective communication, and relationship help

It's a good idea to ask about the other person's sexual health and be prepared to answer the same questions, too. Safe sex practices, such as using a condom are the best way to avoid an STI (sexually transmitted infection). Did you know that 39% of sexually active students reported they only used condoms 'sometimes' when they had sex; or that HIV diagnosed cases increased by 10% in 2012 and continue to rise; or that Gonorrhoea has increased by 67%, from 35.1 per 100,000 population in 2008 to 58.9 in 2012. (STI health)

As it goes along

Although a source of great satisfaction, relationships on a more intimate level can also be rather confusing.

When people are really connected to each other, they usually feel more able to express what they're feeling than in more distant relationships, whether communicating through words or behaviour. It can then become more difficult to separate our own feelings from what the other person is expressing, and moods can change within minutes. Often humour can be a good way to resolve minor conflicts in day-to-day life.

Issues to consider when confronted with difficulties are: