Dating: what are the rules?

Like, when do we get to call each other boyfriend and girlfriend? 

Our elder has news for a 15-year-old letter writer: there are no rules. We all just make it up as we go.


Dear EWC

Hello! I’m 15 and have never had a boyfriend, so I was wondering if I could get some advice on dating, like, how many dates should someone go on before they call each other boyfriend and girlfriend? Because in my generation you’re a couple the second they ask you out. Is it wrong if I don’t want to kiss on the first date? When should you have the first kiss? How do you handle a breakup? How do you get over someone fast? Lastly, I’m not too good at handling anger and jealousy so how do I handle it?


Salvador replies

There are no universal rules to follow. You learn as you go. 

How many times do you go out to call each other boyfriend and girlfriend? When you both feel like a couple. There is no rule of how many times. Some people may say ten and some only two. For example, maybe both of you know each other for a while as friends, because you were classmates, have talked quite a bit in social gatherings, and so on. To me, once you become a couple, you have known each other for a while. So, you feel comfortable to be with each other, and after a date or two, both of you decide to be a couple. However, let us say you met a guy at a party, and have gone on a couple of dates. That may not be enough time to feel comfortable to commit to a relationship. You have to know each other to the point that you can be a couple in a comfortable way. As you can see, the number of dates can vary.

As far as your generation says “you’re a couple the second they ask you out” – that does not make sense to me. The reason to ask someone out is to get to know each other, to see if you like each other enough to eventually commit to a relationship. I cannot convince a whole generation to go by that guideline, but do you think the way I see it makes sense? Don’t you first taste a food to see if you like it and later buy it again? Well, a date or dates help you decide if you want to be a couple. It makes no sense to me that you are obligated to be a couple once you are asked out. You asked for my opinion, I gave it to you. You decide whether it makes sense or not. However, your generation sees things the way you describe. To avoid confusion, if someone asks you out, tell him that you will go out, but there is no obligation to anything after that. In other words, you set your standard, and he either accepts it or not. What if you go out and you do not like the guy? Should you be obligated to go out with him because now you are a couple?

I do not see anything wrong if you do not want to kiss on the first date. It is your prerogative just as it is his. A kiss is an indication of a commitment. You imply a closer intimacy that only couples have.

As for breakups – get ready for that to be part of life. You are 15, and I believe you will have a few boyfriends along the way before you end up with the lifetime mate. You have to learn to accept rejection from someone you like a lot, or even love, to tell you that he wants to go his own way. That is called resiliency. To me, the best way to handle this is by staying busy, going out with friends, going to the movies, getting a hobby, concentrating on your studies, and on and on. Little by little you will get over him. If you do not stay busy, you will have a miserable life thinking about him. You may think you are not good enough, so when that happens, remember that you are worth a lot. Simply, you are not what he is looking for. Sometimes you have to break up because it is not what you want and expected. It is not that the other person is bad, he is not just the type you are looking for.

As far as anger and jealousy, you just have to work hard at it. There is no fast and sure cure. Read books on how to handle your emotions. If you do not learn to handle anger and jealousy, many will avoid you because they do not want to deal with your anger or jealous outbursts. If necessary, seek counseling. A counselor can give you tips and guidance because he or she can take a close look at your personality, your experiences in life. He or she can see how to nullify your emotions because of your past.

I hope this reply helped, and I wish you the best. I like the fact that you are seeking life advice. That means that you are willing to be open to advice. To me, that is an indicator that you are acting maturely. I am proud of you. Keep that trait, and you will do well in life.

Article #: 472913

Category: Dating/Relationship

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