What is dating? Date: a social meeting between two or more people. During adolescence, people become more aware of members of the opposite sex. Teens want members of the opposite sex to find them attractive and likeable. A date may be spent watching TV or dancing the night away. The activity rarely matters as much as the people who share it.
Back in the old days… When your great-grandparents were young, only young men called for dates. Dates at the time were special events that were planned well in advance. Today, however, dating is much more relaxed. Most people do not follow formal dating rules. The word date may not even be mentioned when couples make plans.
Functions of Dating Dating fulfills two main functions. It helps you learn how to relate to members of the opposite sex. It also prepares you for more lasting relationships as an adult. Most people marry at some point in their lives. Few young teens know what type of person to choose for a future spouse. Dating helps them learn what traits they want in a marriage partner.
Stages of Dating People tend to go through stages in their dating relationships. In the first stage, people date in groups. In the second stage, they form couples. In the third stage, people tend to date one steady partner at a time.
Preparing for Dating Childhood relationships prepare people for dating. Many children have playmates of the opposite sex. Such playmates prepare people to relate to dating partners. People tend to treat their dates the way their parents treat each other. For instance, many children see their parents respond to each other with warmth and respect, these children will likely treat their
Stage One: Group Dating Young teens do not always feel comfortable around members of the opposite sex. This is why many young teens begin dating in groups. Group dating is less stressful. A group date may be a planned activity. For example, two or more
Stage Two: Early Pairing After some group dating, teens feel more confident around members of the opposite sex. They worry less about what to say and do. They feel secure enough to begin pairing off in couples. This starts the second stage of dating. You are not likely to learn private details about your partner during this stage of dating. A lack of closeness prevents most second-stage relationships from lasting. Partners in this stage enjoy spending time together. However, they don’t feel committed to each other.
Stage Three: Steady Dating A bond forms between partners in the third stage of dating. Steady dating partners feel true love and concern for each other. People in this stage focus less on their own needs and are more concerned about meeting needs of their partners. The first two stages of dating prepare you for this last stage. Knowing your needs prepares you to address a partner’s needs in steady dating.
Choosing A Dating Partner A number of factors can affect a person’s choice of dating partners. You must decide which factors will impact your selection of dating partners.
Physical Traits A person’s physical features make the first impression. However, they are not the most important quality in a dating partner. People want to be liked for more than their looks. They want to be noticed for their other strengths, too.
Age Parents often have rules about how old their children’s dating partners can be. Therefore, age is a factor for many teens when choosing a partner. Partners who are close in age are likely to have more in common. Young women mature at an earlier age than young men. The gap in maturity narrows as teens near adulthood. In the early teen years, however, young women often prefer partners who are a little older.
Personality Teens are attracted to dating partners who have pleasing personalities. Many people look for a caring, thoughtful partner or maybe someone who is bright, witty, or outgoing. You may have heard the phrase “opposites attract.” It’s true that some people look for traits in a partner they themselves lack.
Common Interests andBackground Many teens look for partners with whom they share common interests. Having shared interests gives couples something to discuss. A common background can provide a base for a solid relationship. Background includes culture and home life as well as income and educational levels. When partners have common backgrounds, they can
Values and Goals You may not think much about values and goals when you start dating. You may not mind if they don’t have the same career goals as you. As you form closer relationships, however, values and goals will matter more. You may plan to marry when you are older and you will want your marriage partner to agree with you about important issues.
Dating Skills A successful date is a pleasant experience for both people involved. However, good dates don’t just happen. They require some social skills that take thought and practice.
Being a Thoughtful Partner Dating partners will enjoy being with you more if you are thoughtful, keep your partner’s feelings in mind when you are on a date. Use good manners, remember to say “please” and “thank you”. Keeping your partners budget in mind shows thoughtfulness. Being a thoughtful dating partner also involves being honest. Don’t lead your partner to believe you like him or her more than you really do.
Asking for a Date Asking for a date takes a little courage the first few times. Asking will be easier if you plan what you want to say. Plan to explain when and where you’d like to go for a date.
Accepting or Refusing A Date When someone asks you for a date, try to respond promptly. Keeping the other person waiting is rude. He or she may need to make other plans if you cannot accept the date. Think of the other person’s feelings when you refuse a date. Remember he or she took a risk when asking you out, if you are not interested in dating that person, politely let him or her know that.
Dating Questions Many teens have the following questions about dating: Am I in love? Will the relationship last? What will I do if we stop seeing each other? Learning more about dating relationships may help answer
Infatuation Teen’s feelings for their first dating partners are often called “crushes” or “puppy love”. Infatuation: an intense feeling of admiration. It is often based on physical traits A young woman might have a crush on her friend’s tall, handsome older brother. The phrase “love is blind” refers to infatuation. It means you don’t notice faults when you
Love Love: a strong feeling of attachment, warmth, and understanding between two people. Love is less self-centered than infatuation, the feeling is based on more than physical traits. Love is based on a total caring for someone; it touches every part of a couple’s relationship. People who are in love enjoy being together, they have common interests, goals, and values. They talk about their thoughts and feelings and make plans for their future together.
Serious Relationships Many teens question how serious they should allow their relationships to become. Dating only one person has a number of advantages: A couple will grow to know each other better and will become more comfortable with each other. Serious dating may also be preparation for a mature committed relationship.
Serious Relationships Cont. Commitment: an emotional pledge to date only one person. Many of these couples later choose marriage.
Serious Relationships Cont. Steady relationships also have some disadvantages. People take their partners for granted. People may feel they are missing the chance to meet other people. Partners have trouble staying interested in each other.
Serious Relationships Cont. Some couples stay together only for reasons of comfort and security. They may not want to “start over” with another partner. These are not good reasons to stay in a relationship with someone. These people may be keeping themselves and their partners from finding other, more fulfilling relationships.
Showing Affection Teens see frequent displays of sexual activity in movies and on television. Some teens say they feel pressure from these forces to have sex. Your decision about having a sexual relationship should not be affected by movie actors or friends. However, it will affect you, your
Showing Affection Cont. Your decision about how to show affection will be based partly on your beliefs about right and wrong behavior. Different people have different moral values. Along with your beliefs, you should consider some important facts. Think about your goals for the future. Consider how the consequences of sex might block those goals.
Showing Affection Cont. Having sex can harm a person’s self-image. Young teens may feel guilty for going against their moral values. They may feel weak for giving in to pressure from a partner. You can care about someone without having sex. Talking with your partner is one of the best ways to show you care.
Breaking Up Couples break up for many reasons. Partners may find they do not get along as well as they thought. Sometimes feelings fade and partners drift apart. Mature behavior can make a breakup easier for both partners.
Breaking Up Cont. Partners should tell each other in a kind, truthful way why the breakup is desired. This will help both people preserve their self-esteem.
Parents and Dating Most parents do not want to be nosy; they just want to be informed. They want to be sure you will be safe. Make a point of introducing your dating partners to your parents. Communicating the details of your dates shows respect for your parents. Because of their concerns, parents may set some rules for dating, talk frankly with your parents.
Parents and Dating Cont. Ask your parents to let you help decide what rules are right for you. Knowing your limits in advance will help you avoid problems later. Parents can be a helpful resource in dating. Remember, they have dating experience, try talking to them. They can offer advice and answer your questions about dating.