“When my dad found out that I had a boyfriend, he was so upset! “He tried to scare me by asking me all these questions about whether I was ready for marriage—which, when you’re young, can make you feel like you want to prolong the relationship and prove your parents wrong!” If your teen knows that dating is not even up for discussion, something tragic may happen: He or she may drive the relationship underground and date secretly.

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“Sometimes you feel left out because all your peers have boyfriends and you don’t,” says 14-year-old Yvette.

The urge to be with someone specialmagazine survey revealed that 25 percent of the 13-year-olds were already “going out or dating.” Do you think they were ready for it? To answer that, we first need to address a more basic question. ▪ You regularly go out with a certain member of the opposite sex. □ Yes □ No ▪ Several times a day, you text-message or talk on the phone with one particular friend of the opposite sex. □ Yes □ No ▪ You and a member of the opposite sex have a secret friendship. You haven’t told them because you know they’ll disapprove. □ Yes □ No ▪ Every time you get together with your friends, you pair off with the same person of the opposite sex. □ Yes □ No Likely, you had no problem answering the first question, but you may have paused before responding to the others. In this discussion we will define it as any social activity in which your romantic interest is focused on one particular person and that person’s romantic interest is focused on you.

Playing with someone’s affections in that way is cruel, and it comes as no surprise that such relationships are often short-lived.

“Many young ones who date break up with each other a week or two later,” says a youth named Heather.

․․․․․ Chances are, the first number you wrote down is lower than the second. You might be among the many youths who are wisely putting off dating until they’re old enough to know themselves better.

That is what a young Christian named Sondra has decided to do, even though she is already of legal age to marry. Or is it because of some undesirable trait on your part?

▪ You see a boy and girl holding hands as they stroll down the school corridor between classes. □ Don’t care □ Slightly jealous □ Completely envious ▪ You’re at the movies with friends when you realize that everyone is paired off—except you! □ Don’t care □ Slightly jealous □ Completely envious ▪ Your best friend has recently begun showing interest in a member of the opposite sex and is now dating. □ Don’t care □ Slightly jealous □ Completely envious If you checked “slightly jealous” or “completely envious” in response to any of the above questions, you are not alone.

In lands where dating is the custom, many youths would answer the same way.

Then he became aware that for her the friendship meant something more. Was I surprised at how fast she got serious,” Eric says. ” Of course, it’s not wrong to mix with members of the opposite sex in properly supervised group settings.

When it comes to dating, though, it is best to wait until you are past the bloom of youth and in a position to contemplate marriage seriously.

Whether in a group or in private, whether on the phone or in person, whether in the open or in secret, if you and a friend of the opposite sex have a special romantic understanding, it’s dating. A consideration of three questions will help you to find out. In many cultures dating is regarded as a legitimate way for two people to become better acquainted.