Dating FAQs for Young Men

Q: At what age is it okay to have a girlfriend?
A: This decision is between you and your parents. The answer will depend on their beliefs, your age, and what you mean by “girlfriend.” Lots of guys in middle school ask girls out on dates and there’s lots of talk about “going to dinner” and the other things they see their parents do. But, not much really happens in the way of actually going anywhere outside of school and school-related activities.

It’s more likely your first “relationship” with a girl will consist of texting, talking on the phone, and hanging out at school in a group of friends. As you get a little older, you and your friends will probably go to school dances or movies with a bunch of girls, knowing that some of you are sort of paired off. And as you get even older, you and a girl may decide to go out on an actual date.

Q: How many times should I ask a girl out if she says “no?”
A: Every situation is different and it takes experience to judge when enough is enough. As a general rule, though, if she responds with, “I’d like to, but I can’t make it this time,” give her the benefit of the doubt and ask again later. If she says the same thing a second time, it’s probably her way of saying “no.”

If she gives you a clear “no,” or a good reason, like “I have a boyfriend,” then one time is enough. It’s tempting to go back later with an “Are you sure you won’t change your mind?” but, the best thing to do is gracefully accept the “no” and move on.

Q: Is it okay to go out with your best friend’s girlfriend?
A: Yes, if you’re going out as friends and all three of you know what’s going on. Absolutely not if you and his girlfriend have romantic feelings for each other and you’re doing it behind your friend’s back. Situations like this happen, but before you two act on your feelings, understand that it could ruin the friendship between you and your best friend. Most of all don’t do anything without everyone being open and honest about what’s happening. That means she needs to end her relationship with your best friend before you go out with her.

Q: Is it okay to date a younger girl?
A: Lots of girls get crushes on older boys. Your younger sister’s best friend or the girl-next-door are good examples of attractive younger girls who might all of a sudden take a liking to you. There’s lots of flirting and general talk about “getting together.” It’s a lot of fun, but you both know it’s a game. And while that’s fine, it begins and ends right there.

So, is it okay to have an actual romantic relationship with a 13 year-old girl if you’re in high school? No, it’s not. You and a 13 year-old girl are at entirely different stages of growing up. Sure, it’s tempting because she doesn’t know the rules and you have the advantage. But, in the end, it’s not fair to either you or her.

The older you get, the less the age difference matters. Eight years doesn’t seem so much when you’re 35 and she’s 27. But, that same eight year difference is much bigger when you’re 18 and she’s 10. If you like to date younger girls, wait until you’re older and the age difference isn’t as important any more.

Boy's Guide to Girls: 30 Pointers You Won't Get From Your Parents or Friends (Paperback and eBook)

+Boy's Guide to Girls