A friend of mine used to give teenage girls this piece of dating advice: guys aren’t ripe to date until they’re 25 years old. I thought it was a bit extreme and harsh toward the boys. However, it certainly made those girls think before allowing their hearts to be swept off of their feet by a teenage boy only to be hurt deeply later. It also made me think about what I want my son to know about dating.
Dating is a good way to develop maturity and understanding of the sacrifice needed for a long-lasting relationship. It’s an opportunity to teach him how to treat another person and think selflessly. Here are 10 pieces of dating advice I plan to give my son.
1. Date for the right reasons.
Don’t do it to be cool or because other people are dating. Don’t be pressured into dating because of expectations, including from your parents. A lot of guys don’t date much or at all in high school, and that’s fine. Often, guys who begin dating at a later age have healthier relationships with girls because they have developed more maturity and self-assurance than they had at a younger age.
2. Show good manners.
Have courtesy for others. Holding the door for her and walking her to her car at the end of the night are thoughtful and communicate respect.
3. Speak respectfully of all girls.
If you develop a reputation for treating girls poorly or saying inappropriate things about even one girl, word will spread. This will likely hurt your chances of meeting girls who want to be your friend or date you. Your reputation will always precede you. Protect it.
4. Keep things in perspective.
Before entering a relationship, take the time to write out or think about the characteristics you’d like your wife to have. Look beyond right now. Consider yourself in 10 or 15 years. What do you see your life looking like then? What will be your priorities then? This will help you when pursuing relationships. It’s good to have friendships with girls outside of a dating relationship. That creates more time for you to learn about girls and what your preferences are without being in a romantic relationship.
5. Take the initiative and lead in the relationship.
Women want men to show initiative. Call them to talk or ask them out (and ask them out well in advance of the date night). Take responsibility for what to do and come up with ideas based on what you think she would like. Suggest a plan, but be flexible if she has some different ideas.
6. Take the lead.
Talking about the relationship, establishing boundaries, and determining the intensity and pace of the relationship are your responsibilities. Don’t neglect to do it, even if the girl is being more assertive in driving the relationship.
7. Plan creative dates.
Girls like it when they know you spent time thinking about them. A creative date shows a lot of care. Girls especially like it when there are good opportunities for casual conversations on a date.
8. Go slowly with your relationship.Good relationships are marathons, not sprints.
Good relationships are marathons, not sprints, and many relationships start out too quickly and intensely to last. You can’t run a marathon at full speed. In the early stages of the relationship, resist the urge to talk every single day, to see each other at every opportunity, and to kiss and say “I love you” too soon. Your relationships will be much more likely to thrive and survive.
9. Remember your other friends.
When you’re in a relationship, it is easy to focus solely on the other person. All other relationships begin to lessen and the one with your girlfriend becomes your priority. However, if you and your girlfriend break up, who will be there to support you? Besides, it’s good to hang out with your friends and grow in relationships with them, too. After you’ve planned a date with your girlfriend, be sure to make time for your friends. Or go out as a group frequently.
10. Respect her future.
Remember that you are with someone’s future wife. Might be yours, might be somebody else’s. You do not want to do anything that would damage her future relationships. You would not want a guy doing something inappropriate with your sister. Keep that in mind as you are dating, and make sure the relationship does not turn sexual. You don’t want that baggage for either of you.
Sound off: What advice would you give your son about dating?
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What do you think makes a good friend?”