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Relationships

Relationships become more important as you get older. You might start to have feelings for someone of the opposite sex, the same sex, or both. It’s normal and it’s no different for deaf young people.  Deaf people have relationships just like hearing people do.

Crushes and asking someone out

Having a crush is a normal part of growing up and most people will have many crushes as they go through life.

If you fancy someone and want to get to know them better you might want to ask them out on a date. Get some advice on crushes and chat up skills on the Radio 1 Advice pages.

Top tips for a happy relationship

Every relationship is different and everyone has their own opinion of what they want from a relationship.

Being in a relationship has ups and downs but it should be a good experience. Have a look at these top tips from Brook (scroll to relationship tips) for pointers for your relationship. If your relationship isn’t good most of the time, read this.

Relationships with hearing people

Most deaf young people go to mainstream schools so it’s not unusual for a deaf young person to have a relationship with a hearing young person.

Here are some tips:

  • Communication.  As with all relationships communication is key. If you miss something the other person says, ask them to repeat it. If you are being left out of a conversation between hearing people – remind them to include you. Similarly, if you are chatting with deaf friends or family, don’t leave your hearing boyfriend or girlfriend out.
  • Patience. Sometimes there might be mistakes or misunderstandings between you, but it’s important to be patient with each other.
  • Culture. If you belong to the Deaf community, you and your hearing girlfriend or boyfriend might have different values, ideas, phrases or jokes. Good relationships are about respecting each other’s culture and sharing them with each other.
  • Going on dates. Make sure things you do together are accessible to both of you – for example going to a subtitled movie.
  • Be honest about what you need. If you find meeting your boyfriend’s or girlfriend’s friends in a big group difficult, tell them and arrange to get to know them in a way that works for you. Let them know if you need to do something differently because you are deaf. They may not have thought of it before but they will understand.

Sex

Sex should be fun and exciting, but it should also be safe, legal and something that you feel ready for.

People often have lots of questions about sex, and that’s fine. There are lots of places you can go to for advice, such as Brook, Terrence Higgins Trust, Childline and NHS Choices.

In the UK you are not allowed to have sex before you are 16. This is called the age of consent. Find out more about it here.

If you do want to have sex and are exploring taking things further in your relationship, that’s fine too. Brook has useful information on being ready for sex and having sex for the first time.

If you’re thinking about or having sex, make sure you know about contraception (safe sex) and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and pregnancy.

If you are ready for sex, you should be able to talk to your partner about staying safe and protecting each other. Read our safer sex page here.

It’s okay to say no

Remember, even if you do decide to have sex, it is completely okay to say “no” or “stop” at any point if you don’t want to carry on.

Nobody has the right to make you do anything you’re not happy to do, so only have sex if you really want to. That’s true for the first time and every time you have sex.

Break-ups

It’s not very often that a person will meet the right person for them straight away, and be together forever. It takes time to figure out who you are and what you want from a relationship, and what kind of person you want to be with.

That’s why break-ups happen to most people at some point. When you go through a break-up it can be upsetting. It can make you feel angry, relieved, upset or many different things depending on why the relationship ended.

It’s normal to have these feelings and it can take time to feel like yourself again. Talking to friends and family about how you are feeling can help. You can also talk to Childline.

Try not to rush into a new relationship until you feel ready, but remember that there will be someone out there who suits you. For advice on dealing with a break-up, check out this article on getting over your ex.

What if I am being treated badly?

Everyone has the right to loving and kind relationships, and if someone is making you feel bad, it’s not okay.

If someone is hurting you sexually, physically, or emotionally that is called abuse and help is available.

Brook has information on what makes an unhealthy relationship and where you can get help and you can see our page for more info here.

Need some more help?

Would you like more help or do you want to ask us a question? Send us an email (youngmember@ndcs.org.uk).

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National Deaf Children's Society

Registered Charity: England and Wales (1016532) and Scotland (SC040779)

Helpline: 0808 800 8880

youngmember@ndcs.org.uk

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