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Romantic and intimate relationships

Topics in
this section

1 First relationships

2 Different forms of relationships

3 Feeling good in a relationship

True or False?

All high school teenagers have already had their first romantic relationship



Many teenagers (of all sexual orientations) have not yet had their first romantic relationship and will only experience it later. There is no ideal or “normal” age for a first romantic relationship.

Am I normal if I'm not interested in having a romantic relationship?

It's normal to ask yourself these kinds of questions, especially when you see that some of your friends are in a relationship or are interested in romantic relationships. Maybe you're not interested in that kind of relationship, and that's okay!

Even if you don't feel ready for a romantic relationship, you can still feel affection, love or desire. Some people aren't interested in romantic and intimate relationships, either for a certain period of their life or forever. The important thing is to listen to yourself and respect your own rhythm.

vivre une relation amoureuse

Is it normal if I have feelings for or am attracted to someone of the same gender?

Having feelings for or being attracted to people of the same gender is normal and is seen in people of all sexual orientations . Some people may feel closer to people of the same gender because they feel more comfortable or better understood. Having feelings for or being attracted to someone of the same gender does not necessarily mean that someone is homosexual or bisexual. For others, this attraction and questioning will confirm their romantic and/or sexual preference toward people of the same gender.

We don’t choose our sexual orientation, just like we don’t choose who we’re attracted to. What we do decide is whether or not we share this private information. Sexual orientation is an amazing aspect of human diversity. It’s up to each person to choose their own words to talk about their desires, attractions and identity.

Being attracted to people of the same gender may raise questions about your sexual orientation and, for some, can become a source of stress. If having feelings for or being attracted to someone of the same gender is causing you stress or bringing up questions, talk to someone you trust. You can also ask your questions anonymously to the AlterHéros organization.

attirance pour une personne du même genre

2 Different forms of relationships

What forms can romantic or intimate relationships take?

There are different ways to experience relationships. Types of relationships vary according to commitment (staying together in the short or long term), intimacy (attachment, closeness, time spent together), and passion (physical attraction and sexual desire). Relationships can develop between people who identify as the same gender or as different genders. Everyone is different and so is every relationship: all romantic and intimate experiences are unique.

No matter what type of relationship you would like, it’s important that you tell your partners what you want . This will help you see if your expectations, needs and desires align. A relationship can change and evolve over time. If you feel the need to or if your desires change, talk to your partners again. Your well-being in your relationship is a priority!

How do I know if I’m really in love?

It’s not always easy to know if you’re in love, but there are some clues that can help you see things more clearly. Ask yourself how you feel in your heart, in your body, and in your head when you think about the person or when you’re around them. Here are a few signs that may indicate that you might be in love with someone  :

CŒUR (émotions)

HEART (emotions)

  • You feel a strong attraction toward the person (their personality, their energy, and often their appearance)
  • You feel happy when you’re around them
  • You’re more nervous or shy around them
CORPS (sensations physiques et motricité)

BODY (physical sensations and motor skills)

  • You have butterflies in your stomach
  • You notice that your heart beats faster
  • You’re clumsier
TÊTE (pensées)

HEAD (thoughts)

  • You often think about this person
  • You want to spend more time with them
  • You miss them when you’re not together

Les signes indiquant la présence de sentiments amoureux ne se manifestent pas nécessairement de la même façon chez tout le monde. Pour certain·es, les sentiments et les premières relations amoureuses seront vécus très intensément. Pour d’autres, les réactions et les sentiments ressentis sont plus subtils.

La présence ou non de sentiments amoureux va se préciser avec le temps , en apprenant à connaître l’autre personne. Il est aussi possible qu’une relation se transforme avec le temps, par exemple un·e ami·e peut devenir un·e partenaire amoureux·se. Si tu constates que tu as des sentiments amoureux pour une personne, peu importe son genre, demande-toi si tu veux lui en parler ou non et comment tu penses t’y prendre.


Here are real statements taken from interviews conducted during the Trajectoires Amoureuses et Sexuelles des jeunes research project:

I become, you know, like when you’re excited… It’s really like “Oh!” a little something. No butterflies, not at all, but just a little… energy boost, then I’m like “Oh my God”, “Oh! I love you!”

Rosalie, 17

When you see the person you love, no matter their gender, you really have… you know, your stomach flutters. You’re a little bit stressed, especially in the beginning.

Sacha, 17

It warms you. You like spending time with them. When they’re around, it makes you smile.

Charles, 17

When we first met, my stomach always hurt, and I was a little stressed.

Mathis, 17

How do I communicate my feelings to the person I'm interested in?

Communicating your romantic feelings to someone isn't necessarily an easy thing to do, as it can lead to rejection if the feelings aren't shared. . Getting to know the other person before confessing your feelings could help you better identify your feelings and make you feel more comfortable communicating with them afterwards.

There's no magic formula for communicating your feelings to the person you love. Some people prefer to talk about it spontaneously, while others prefer to prepare for it. Some people prefer to communicate their feelings face-to-face while others send a text message or love letter .

Tel-jeunes has put together a short video to help you: click here!!

It's important to be yourself and do what's right for you.

attirance pour une personne du même genre

What do I do if the person I like doesn’t feel the same way?

Sometimes, romantic feelings are not reciprocated . This can happen if you develop feelings for a friend, or for a sexual partner or someone with a different sexual or romantic orientation than yours. It’s also possible to be “in love” with someone famous, for example, an actor from your favourite show or an influencer, but where the feelings can’t be mutual .

Here’s what you can do if your romantic feelings are not reciprocated:

  1. Wait for the person to develop an interest, but this doesn’t mean that love will develop on their end
  2. Do fun activities to take your mind off it
  3. Talk to your friends
  4. Turn the page and move on to something else

When your romantic feelings are not returned, it’s normal to feel disappointed, sad or rejected. It’s impossible for everyone to like you, but that doesn’t mean you have any less value. Take the time you need to accept that the other person does not reciprocate your feelings.

Que faire si la personne que j’aime n’a pas les mêmes sentiments

3 Feeling good in a relationship

What does it take for me to feel good in a romantic or intimate relationship?

Here’s how over 8,000 teenagers answered this question . The more often an answer was given, the larger it appears in the image. Do you share any of these? Taking the time to think about it can help you identify your values so you can experience a positive romantic or intimate relationship.

Se sentir bien dans une relation

You can ask yourself the following questions to help you figure out what’s important to you in your romantic and intimate relationships:


… to feel safe when I’m with my partners?

… for there to be trust between myself and my partners?

… to feel equal to my partners?

… to feel heard when I talk to my partners?

… to feel respected by my partners?

As you can see, positive relationships can include many qualities, but the importance given to each one may vary. Your priorities can also evolve over time and through your experiences. They will help you determine what you want and don’t want in your relationships.

When you know what’s important to you, it’s easier to share it with others and make sure your needs are respected.


What is important to you to foster positive romantic and intimate relationships?

Developing a positive relationship doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone. Below, you’ll find a list of different qualities that can be used to describe positive relationships. Drag and drop your 5 priorities in the right-hand column to generate your personalized word cloud! Then share it with your friends or your partner .

*Si vous ne voyez tous les mots dans la colonne de gauche, cliquez dans la bande bleue pour défiler la liste.

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    My priorities in a relationship    

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