Hi Admin,

I’m not interested in dating or anything because I’m only 15 and I have to study and stuff but a lot of my friends (younger) already have boyfriends and girlfriends. So what age it is that you’re meant to have a GF/BF?

RESPONSE: One thing that’s remained true is that teen romantic relationships can have long-term effects on your self-esteem and your personal values about romance, intimate relationships and sexuality—which is why it’s important to talk with your parents instead of falling for peer pressure. And of course, dating means different things to different people. You’ve got to have all the info at hand before venturing into any.

You should know that there is research that demonstrates that folks ages 10-15 who begin steady dating often do more poorly in school and have more behaviour problems. Thus, there is some agreement as to what is too “young”, but there is little understanding of a universal right age. Most experts believe that if teens under age 15 are allowed to date, they should engage in group dates exclusively and a responsible adult should be present.

Having a crush or desiring a romantic partner is perfectly natural and part of the biological changes of puberty. However, involvement in a serious or exclusive romantic relationship can create problems. True romantic relationships are about intimacy, or communicating detailed, personal information verbally, and physical contact and closeness. So I do believe that as a teenager, you need to first form an identity and know who you are before developing a healthy intimate relationship.

The dark side of dating in the teen years is that it can put you at risk. Frequent dating is connected with adolescent risk behaviours such as school failure (poor school performance and limited educational goals), drug use, and delinquency. Other problems include depression and sexual activities.

Now that we’ve established that there is no universal age for dating, you shouldn’t ever be pressured into it. Don’t start dating because your friends are, or, because someone is talking you into it. Trust me, it’s better to remain single as a teenager.

What’s on your mind? Our mentors can help. Send your questions to pass@passnownow.com.