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Too Young To Date?

Published: April 26, 2016
Dear TeenHealthFX,
Dear TeenHealthFX I have liked a boy for almost 3 years now. I am only 14, and I personally know that I am too young to 'date' or anything like that. I accepted that, and never questioned it. But now this boy just recently admitted to me that he's liked me as long as I have. We both agreed we're too young to date, but we also don't want to ignore that we like each other. We haven't discussed past that. Now he's invited me to the movies tomorrow, and I have to say I'm very excited. My problem is, I don't know what we are. We're only 14, so I know we're not mature or responsible enough to have a healthy relationship, but I wish we were. I don't want anything serious, just simple things like holding hands, etc. I don't know how to communicate this to him though. We're both very shy, and get embarrassed when we talk about our feelings. I guess I have two questions. First, what should we do? 14 is too young to date, right? Second, how can I approach the topic with him, in the least awkward way possible? Thanks in advance, Shy and Too Young to Date
Signed: Too Young To Date?

Dear Too Young To Date?,

TeenHealthFX thinks that it is really wonderful that you are putting this kind of thought and consideration into your relationships with other people. We can appreciate the questions you are trying to sort through, and invite you to consider the following:

  • Solid romantic relationships generally have an underlying friendship between the two people involved with one another. Many people in healthy, loving relationships describe their significant other as the person they are in love with, but also as their best friend. That said, you could think of the time you are spending together as building up a friendship with one another. If more romantic aspects start to develop over time, then you can look at them as wonderful additions to an already solid friendship.
  • As for your age: How do your parents and his parents feel about the two of you going out or dating? It can be a strain on a dating relationship (and on family relationships) if either or both of the people involved have parents who do not approve of the relationship, for whatever reason. So the two of you may want to check in with your parents in terms of what they approve of so you can determine whether any involvement with one another could create some friction in the family that would be tough for either one of you to deal with.
  • The fact that it would be difficult to talk about your feelings for one another and what you feel comfortable doing with one another (for example, you said you would only be comfortable holding hands) is definitely a sign that the two of you are not ready to be more seriously involved, especially in terms of physical intimacy. Communication about feelings and what we are ready for (or not ready for) when it comes to physical intimacy are VERY important – and if you cannot talk about it with your partner then it’s not a good idea to be doing it!
  • If all you are ready for is holding hands that is completely fine! There is no rush and you should never feel pressured to do anything you are not comfortable with. You can tell this guy up front that holding hands is all you are comfortable doing right now. That will help both of you feel clear and comfortable in knowing where to draw the line when it comes to being physical. And if this guy is a respectful, upstanding guy who really cares about you – he will be fine with that and not pressure you at all to do something you are not ready for.
  • Fourteen can be young to date, especially if the dating relationship starts to take top priority over everything else. Whatever time you do spend with this guy, FX thinks it is important that you try and keep things in your life as balanced as possible. Make sure you are also spending time with friends, on your schoolwork and in extra-curricular activities. Spending time with this guys is not necessarily unhealthy, but it could be if your time starts to become completely monopolized by this relationship and you are neglecting other areas of your life.

 

Dating relationships can be exciting, wonderful things. But they can also be confusing at times, especially when you are first entering the dating world. (Although the reality is that people of all ages find it helpful to have support and guidance from trusted friends and family members when it comes to negotiating things that come up in dating relationships). That said, it is important for you to have trusted adults you can speak to about dating. Whether you talk to a parent, extended family member, parent of a friend, school counselor or even private therapist – it would be helpful for you to have someone to discuss whatever questions or concerns may come up for you.

Signed: TeenHealthFX

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