How much physical contact is okay when I’m dating someone?
When you’re first getting to know someone it’s impossible to know where the relationship will go so keeping your hands to yourself is an excellent policy. Many young people feel obligated to hold hands and/or kiss on the first date. When developing the physical aspect of a relationship, starting slow can only be beneficial for your future. If your date wants to become physical right away, you should say you want to get to know each other better first. If your date doesn’t respect your boundaries, then your date doesn’t respect you. It’s been said that it’s best to be friends before you start dating. This is the healthiest way to begin a relationship because you don’t start with thinking about the physical attraction, but rather getting to know them as a person.
Once you’ve both have decided you have romantic feelings for each other, discuss the level of comfort with physical affection and how far is too far. Remember that holding hands leads to kissing, deep kissing leads to petting, and petting can lead to sexual intercourse in a moment of passion. If you both have decided to wait until marriage to have sex then keep your physical contact to the activities that won’t lead you toward losing self-control. A good rule of thumb is to keep your clothes on and don’t touch anything that your bathing suit covers!
Choose A Mate
Am I weird if I’m not dating or never had a boyfriend?
Not at all. Having a boyfriend or dating has some benefits. You feel special, get attention, possibly presents and you have someone to talk to and hang out with. But there are also many benefits to being “unattached.” You have more time to spend with family and friends. A dating relationship tends to cause you to neglect your other friends and you may find them not as eager to spend time with you when you are available because they have gotten used to you not being available as much. You also have more freedom to pursue your studies, your hobbies, your job and other activities you enjoy. The majority of boy/girl relationships in high school are shallow and not based on true friendship, and the majority of them don’t last.
How will I know whom I’m supposed to marry?
This is probably the most important question you need to ask yourself and understand if you want to have a happy, healthy marriage. The majority of marriages fail because they each married the wrong person. Avoid some of the pitfalls that jeopardize a marriage from the start.
1) Don’t decide to get married too quickly. Relationships do best over several seasons of “weathering” or seeing if and how you overcome hurdles together. If you don’t give adequate time, you really won’t know the person you’re marrying.
2) Don’t marry too young. Your personality and interests are still evolving through the teen years and early 20s, so you’re in for a lot of surprises if you marry too young.
3) Work out any baggage from your family of origin before marriage. Unfortunately, we all have dysfunctional families to some degree that can poison our future marriage. Figure out what your “issues” are and work on them before you degrade your marriage with them.
Write down on paper what’s important to you in a person you want to be with for life. What personality type do you enjoy being with? Do intelligence and looks weigh heavily on your scale? Is spirituality a key factor? Values and character? What are your family and parenting goals? (If you want five kids and they don’t want any, that’s a problem and something that has broken up marriages!). We used to think “opposites attract,” but to reduce conflict, you want to find a person a lot like you with shared interests, values, beliefs and backgrounds.
As you spend time together, you will see how caring or how self-centered a person is. Everyone’s on their best behavior when they want to impress someone they care about. Over time and once a few hurdles pop up, the real person inside will begin to be revealed. Be open to close family and friends’ opinions about your relationship. They are frequently more objective and may see red flags you don’t (love really is blind at times!).
How can my boyfriend/girlfriend and I be close without having sex?
Developing intimacy without sex is a skill that will serve you well for life. As married couples can attest, sexual activity doesn’t always equate to emotional intimacy. The best thing you can do is communicate with your boyfriend/girlfriend about your dreams and desires, and keep yourselves out of compromising situations. Talk about your future goals and create a plan to reach those goals. Additionally, spend time meeting the needs of others. Whether it’s volunteering at a retirement center or working to build someone a home, developing common interests through outside activities significantly develops closeness. Additionally, be creative in your dating life. Challenge one another to create times that will build memories. Take time to create photo journals of your time together. After all, if this boyfriend/girlfriend turns out to be your mate, you will have created a treasure chest of memories for your future.
Avoiding Compromising Situations
How do my boyfriend and I avoid compromising situations?
It’s most important to talk about what both of your goals are in your physical relationship. If you’re waiting to have sex until marriage (the healthiest choice) then you need a plan ahead of time to avoid moments of passion that can cloud your judgment. Decide beforehand how far you’re willing to take your physical relationship. It’s important to remember, the further you go, the harder it is to control your physical desires. Make a commitment to one another to keep your relationship pure and plan activities accordingly. A few tips to remember would include dating in groups, not being alone at home together and avoid seeing sexually explicit movies.
How do you know if you are in love?
Most think of love as an emotion, but in reality love is a devotion. The basis of love is friendship and a genuine care for a person. This entails the ability to honestly put that person above you and be able to work through difficult times together with the relationship/friendship intact. Yet, love goes beyond friendship. It is the readiness to commit to the other. To commit as in “no other dating possibilities or even thoughts thereof.” The behaviors associated with love are what give it power. Often, love is confused with infatuation, which behaves much differently. Infatuation rarely puts the other person first. Instead, it focuses on its wants, physical attraction or sex. Being “in love” is far more than an empty phrase. It is a choice manifested in actions. Look closely and honestly to see if you relationship is infatuation or love.
Benefits of Abstinence
The Upside of Abstinence
Here are just a couple positive aspects to abstinence.
Not having sex allows you the freedom to not worry about disease, pregnancy or emotional issues. This will leave you time to dream about your future.
Not having sex allows you to have fun and develop relationships with a lot of different people. You don’t have to worry about the ups and downs associated with dating one person.
Being in control of your life will empower you to determine your destiny. It also allows you to make your dreams a reality, without living with the regret of a poor choice.
It is you, not the person you date that determines your value. By not having sex, you aren’t looking to someone else for their approval.
Tips for Saving Sex
Tips for Making Saving Sex for Marriage a Reality!
1) Talk to your parents about your decision to abstain from sex until marriage.
2) Make a pledge because studies show that pledges help teens delay sex
3) Be accountable to a mentor, teacher, parent or community leader
4) Take responsibility for your body by setting boundaries, dressing appropriately and avoiding compromising situations
5) Stay in control by avoiding drugs and alcohol
6) Hang with friends who share and support your decision
7) Spend time in groups, rather than alone when you go on dates
Get involved in something you love. Use this time of your life to learn about yourself. Don’t waste it by having others define you.
Purpose of Dating
1) To choose a marriage partner and prepare for a lasting relationship.
2) To develop your sense of independence.
3) To learn to feel more at ease in a male/female relationship and enjoy friendship with someone of the opposite sex.
4) To get to know other people—their likes, dislikes, values, their ways of communicating and yourself.
When You’re On a Date…
1) Set your physical intimacy boundary before you go on the date.
2) Boys and girls are jointly responsible for setting and maintaining limits.
3) Verbally communicate your boundary to your partner.
4) You can stop at any step of intimacy—physical intimacy does not have to progress.
5) Have self-control.
6) Consider your manner of dress and stay sober.
7) Use non-verbal and verbal refusal skills if needed.
Avoid dangerous or tempting situations like being alone in an empty house.
Top 10 Dating Guidelines
1) Get a Life of Your Own
• Get grounded
• Get grouped
• Get goal-oriented
• Get giving
• Get growing
2) Use Your Brain
• Balance romance with common sense, reason, judgment and discernment
• Balance the head and the heart
• Refrain from physical intimacy
• Analyze your past relationships
• Include others in the process
• Never neglect opportunities to evaluate along the way.
3) Seek Similarities
Healthy relationships and marriages are ones in which there is a strong foundation of similarities in background, temperament, goals, dreams, values and the way in which individuals managed and ordered their physical and mental lives.
4) Take it Slow
• You do not get to know a person in a short period of time.
• You need time to bond.
• You protect yourself from getting attached too quickly.
5) Set Clear Boundaries
• Draw definitive lines in the physical/sexual area of your relationship. • Your body belongs to you.
• Communicate how you feel to your date. Own your own feelings and be able to separate them from your date.
• Take ownership of your thoughts – keep them pure.
• Take responsibility for your own actions – don’t try to change someone.
6) Save Sex for Marriage
Practice the healthy steps of intimacy. Reserve petting, heavy petting, mouth to breast, and oral and vaginal intercourse for marriage.
7) Don’t Live Together Before Marriage
Research show couples that live together have a far greater chance of getting a divorce than those who don’t. Women who cohabitate are more likely to experience domestic violence than married women.
Engage in Healthy Responses to Conflict
• Avoid “avoidance,” “defensiveness,” “invalidation,” and “intensification.”
• Fight fair: take a time out to consider what you really need to express and be respectful to your partner.
• Be quiet and listen – seek to understand, then to be understood. Use “I” statements.
• Negotiate and compromise. Reevaluate your solution at a later time.
9) Notice Danger Signs and End the Relationship
• Any form of abuse: physical, verbal, emotional or sexual.
• Untruthful in the relationship.
• Irresponsibility and immaturity.
• No physical/sexual attraction.
• Emotional baggage.
• Denial – you can’t admit that this relationship is not healthy for you.
10) Choose Your Dating and Marriage Partner Wisely
If you date and then marry the wrong person, you will live with significant, negative, and lasting consequences of that decision for the rest of your life.
Discern their character. Character is who you are when no one is looking. Look back at prior relationships to determine patterns of behavior. Crisis reveals someone’s true character. Give your relationship lots of time.
Do you feel encouraged, affirmed, inspired, and challenged to grow and be a better person when you are with him/her?
Tips for Great Dates
Tip #1: Determine What Your Date Likes and Dislikes
Ask these questions before planning your date… What interests him/her? Does he/she like the outdoors or the performing arts? Eliminate those things he/she does not like to do.
Tip #2: Count Your Money
This will often narrow down the choice. If you do have a lot of money, spend it wisely or not at all. There are many fun dates that require no money (your imagination/creative ideas will impress her more than your money!)
Tip #3: Maximize Conversation
One of the main reasons for dating is to grow in your friendship. Always try to structure as much time to talk as possible.
Tip #4: Ensure a Fun Time
Take time to thoroughly plan your dates. Go over all the details as you plan fun dates. The more your date enjoys the time, the longer she will remember it and you.
Tip #5: Keep Dates Out of a Rut
Try not to plan the same date twice. When it’s a big hit, do it again later, but wait a while. Add variety.
Tip #6: Include Others
Group dating takes the social pressure off you and helps to keep the conversation going. In addition, you build other relationships, and it keeps you out of tempting situations.
Tip #7: Pick Different Times
Plan dates for morning and afternoon as well as in the evening. You will see different sides to your date’s personality and keep the dates interesting.
Tip #8: Avoid Tempting Situations
Avoid places or people that put compromising thoughts in your head. Your date is special to you and her parents, so take good care of her!
Tip #9: Set Your Standards and Limits
Know what is best for you and the other person, now and in the future; if you have different standards than your date, go with the more conservative limit.
Tip #10: Put Friendship as Top Priority
Your main goal for the relationship should be to be best friends.
Tip #11: Only Date People Who Share Your Values
If they have a “reputation” avoid dating them!
Tip #12: Find Pressure-Free Friends
True friends want what is best for you. If a date or friend pressures you to do something you know is wrong then they are not thinking of you but themselves.
Tip #13: Be Aware of Temptation
What is tempting for you? Romantic movies, dark environments, dress, alcohol
Tip #14: Avoid Drugs and Alcohol
They decrease your ability to think clearly and make good decisions.
Tip #15: Know the Potential Consequences of Sexual Activity
Education is the key; realize the media does not give you a realistic view of the consequences.
Tip #16: Let Your Parents Be a Valuable Part of Your Relationship
Or ask another adult mentor to encourage you and hold you accountable.
Tip #17: Be Creative in Your Dating
Make dating fun and pressure free.
Tip #18: Focus on Other Areas of Intimacy
Take the emphasis off of the physical attraction. Share emotional, intellectual, relational, and spiritual values and beliefs.
The pressure to fit in with the crowd can be heavy during this time of life. But when it comes to sex, your friends probably won’t stay around if you get pregnant or contract an STD.
The decision to not have sex is something that should not be swayed by a group of friends who may (or may not) have had sex. The problem with sex is that even when it’s over, it’s still not over. Think of sex as super glue. If you get super glue on your fingers and they get stuck, they won’t naturally separate without some type of damage to each other. Sex is a powerful bonding agent that can make separation painful. Don’t let someone else tell you what to do. It’s your life, it’s your call.