by Brunilda Nazario, MD
Love can take you to new highs -- and new lows. You may have the strongest feelings
of your life, which is great when things are good. But if things go bad, it’s devastating.
Here are six dating tips to help you keep your head during this exciting time.
Dating Tip 1: Take Your Time
Some teens date, some don’t. “Girls need to feel good about themselves before they
start to date,” says Charles Wibbelsman, MD, chief of adolescent medicine at Kaiser
Permanente in San Francisco. His advice: only date if you know yourself and know
you want to date. If you’re not ready, it’s cool to stay single and hang out with
your close friends.
Dating Tip 2: Find Someone Who Likes You Back
Feelings that aren’t returned can make you question everything about yourself. Did
you say something wrong? Were you wearing the wrong things? In a healthy relationship,
the feelings are mutual. You respect each other, and have fun together. If this
doesn’t describe your situation, there’s nothing wrong with you, but you probably
do need to keep looking.
Dating Tip 3: Know When to Move On
Sometimes you have to admit it, the relationship isn’t working. Maybe the love of
your life has turned mean and selfish. Maybe you realize you want something better.
“If a boyfriend doesn’t give you what you need, walk away,” says Danielle Greaves,
MSW, who works with girls at The Guidance Center in Cambridge, Mass. She tells girls
all the time, “It hurts now but you can get through this.”
Dating Tip 4: Talk about Facebook Before You Talk on Facebook
Social media puts the ups and downs of dating out there for everyone to see. If
you like a guy or he likes you, it’s perfectly OK to ask him not to post things
about you online, including pictures. Some things don’t have to be shared with the
Dating Tip 5: Protect Yourself from Pressure
Pressure is not love, and it’s not even normal. Most teens say they’ve never felt
pressured to be in a relationship before they were ready. Still, a little mental
preparation never hurts. Decide ahead of time what your values are and how far you
want to go. That way, you won’t have to figure it out in the heat of the moment.
Here are a few concrete things you can do to keep yourself out of the pressure chamber:
Dating Tip 6: Give Love Time to Grow
Sometimes the idea of love is better than love itself. How do you know if you’re
really in love?
If you’re infatuated, need constant reassurance, and have trouble thinking about
anything else, these are signs you’re not really in love. It’s fun for now but in
time, you’ll probably feel disappointed.
Mature love grows stronger with time. The more you get to know each other, the stronger
your feelings. And you don’t have to be someone you’re not. You like each other
for who you truly are. If you’re like most people, finding mature love takes more
than one try, but it’s definitely worth it
Charles Wibbelsman, MD, Chief of Adolescent Medicine, Kaiser Permanente, San
Elizabeth M. Alderman, MD. Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, Division of
Adolescent Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Children’s Hospital at
Montefiore, Bronx, NY; Chairperson of the Executive Committee of the Section of
Adolescent Health of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Danielle Greaves, MSW, Clinical Case Coordinator, The Guidance Center,
The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. “ Kiss and Tell:
What Teens Say about Love, Trust, and Other Relationship Stuff.”
Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States. “Families are
Talking: Friendship, Dating, and Love.”
Wibbelsman, C. The Teenage Body Book, Berkeley Publishing Group, 1999.
by Brunilda Nazario, MD on
August 08, 2011
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