Before discussing romantic relationships in the context of YA Literature, we must first define what a romantic relationship is.
According to Wikipedia, “in the context of romantic love relationships, romance usually implies an expression of one’s strong romantic love, or one’s deep and strong emotional desires to connect with another person intimately or romantically.”
In layman’s terms, a romantic relationship is a relationship between two people who spend time together, share things with one another, and publicly regard each other as more than friends.
Romantic relationships can occur between people of different genders, the same gender, or those who do not conform to a gender. Romantic relationships are most common for teenagers and adults, though tweens may attempt to partake in romantic relationships as a way to feel “older” or “more mature.”
Additionally, the concept of how to publicly regard another as more than friends has changed through time. Popular past customs have included being pinned, wearing a class ring, going on dates in public places, wearing a letterman’s jacket, and more recently becoming “Facebook Official” or appearing in someone’s profile picture on social media or appearing frequently in their Snapchat Top Friends or Story.
No two romantic relationships are exactly alike. The expression of romantic feelings can include public displays of affection, the use of romantic language, partaking in date-like events or situations, or more subtle things like listening to someone when he or she vents her feelings.
Romantic relationships can also take a turn for the worse, with breakups and domestic violence. They can also be unrequited or secret, like with crushes. Romantic relationships can be seen as a status symbol in the adolescent peer world, and can be influenced by other factors like popularity and self-image.