When I was 14, I chose not to date until I had graduated high school. I think my reasoning back then was that I knew dating should help me find who I’m to marry and I knew I was too young to get married anytime soon.
That, and I was still terrified to talk to boys anywho.
I never wavered on this decision my freshman and sophomore years of high school. But junior year? Well, I was crushing hard on someone and could not remember why on earth I committed to no dating in high school.
That winter, my youth group had a lock-in and one of my really close friends (who was 2 years older than me and so had already graduated high school) came to help out. I had previously talked to her about my crush and my decision not to date in high school. Around 3 AM, I asked her if we could chat.
“I just have no idea why I shouldn’t date in high school anymore. How do I know if that’s really a good idea? I shouldn’t stick with something that I said I’d do when I was 14 if I don’t know the reasons, right?” I asked her.
She and I then grabbed a piece of paper and brainstormed all the pros and cons of dating in high school. I still have that list, and today I’m sharing it with you.
Here’s what we came up with…
The Pros for Dating in High School
When you date in high school, you learn how to date. You learn what you like about guys and what you want dating to look like. I would be practicing how to date, thus when I got older dating will more likely be easier.
2. No “What If”s
In my case, that meant there would be no “what if”s pertaining to the guy I liked. If he and I started dating, I would know if he and I could work out because it would either last or we’d break up. I wouldn’t have to wonder “What would have happened if he and I dated?”
3. Shoulder to Lean On
A boyfriend can be a great shoulder to lean on, which is a great pro to dating in general. BUT, he shouldn’t be the only shoulder to lean on. Especially in high school (but really in all of life) it’s important to have great girlfriends to lean on as well. And, it’s important to remember that Jesus should be the first person we turn to.
The Cons for Dating in High School
1. Too Deep Too Fast
My friend told me that she and her ex-boyfriend had gotten too deep too fast when they were dating. They had been friends before they started dating, so when they did start dating they quickly grew a deep emotional connection because they didn’t take it slow. I learned that one could get too deep emotionally and not just physically.
2. Vulnerable While Still Unsure of Self
Similarly, when you’re getting to know a guy in a dating relationship, you become vulnerable to him by sharing your thoughts and beliefs and feelings with him. This vulnerability is important for any relationship- friendships or dating- but when you like a guy it can be hard for you to know how much is okay to share. And if you don’t have a strong sense of self when you’re in high school, it can be easy to share everything with him to gain validation.
3. Super Busy in High School
When I was in high school I was in two choirs and insanely involved in my youth group. I also took several AP classes, so schoolwork took up a bunch of my time too. And I worked. Realistically, I knew I could make a relationship work despite my busyness, but it would be hard. Especially considering how the guy I liked was super busy too.
4. If It’s Gonna Happen, it’s Gonna Happen
If the guy in question was the right guy for me, then it wouldn’t matter whether or not we dated in high school. We would eventually start dating and then get married. No need to stress about if he’s “the one” or not when in high school.
5. The Purpose of Dating is Marriage, Not Getting Married Anytime Soon
Okay, first I feel like I need to say that I know some people get married right after they graduate high school, and that is a different story. For me personally, though, I knew I didn’t want to get married until I had graduated college. So dating in high school meant it would be a really long time before he and I could get married.
6. You’re Not Alone
I struggled with loneliness some back in high school. (Still do.) I knew that having a boyfriend would make me feel less lonely, but I knew that loneliness was a lie. I had friends and family around me who I could hang out with. Additionally, I believed Jesus was right by my side every inch of the way, so I had no cause to turn to a boyfriend to stop my loneliness.
7. Training in Self-Control
If I practiced saying “no” to a dating relationship when I really wanted one, I figured this could help me say “no” in the future to more harmful things.
8. Free to Pour Self Out
My friend pointed out that now that she was single again, she felt freer to reach out to other girls around her and grow in friendships. She had more time to serve with her church than she did when she was dating.
So what did I decide?
I decided that since we could come up with way more cons than pros, I shouldn’t date in high school. My resolve was strengthened.
I expected to start dating as soon as I graduated high school… but that didn’t happen. In fact, it was four years after my friend and I created the above list before a guy asked me out.
Do I regret not dating in high school?
Now that Caleb and I are dating, I do kinda wish I had some sort of experience in dating to fall back on. This is my first ever dating relationship, and I have pretty much no idea what we’re doing. Caleb has never dated before either, so at least we’re learning together. But I do wish I had some sort of experience to help me out.
Apart from that though, I don’t regret not dating in high school at all. It was great to get to know the guys I liked in a “friends-only” sort of way. I had time to serve my church and hang out with my friends whenever I wanted. I wasn’t caught up in boy-drama, which was a major plus.
What about you?
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