Why do we have relationships when we are young and we know we are going to break up and get hurt anyway? Is it better not to have a serious relationship in high school?

This is a time to develop confidence and comfort in meeting and getting to know the opposite sex. These experiences will eventually give a young person the perspective on what they like and don’t like in a potential mate some day.

My own feeling is that teens should “lighten-up” and not get into serious relationships. Most of the hurt that comes from broken relationship happens when there has been too much emotional and physical intimacy.

There is plenty of time during the young adult dating scene for the pain and uncertainty of courtship. It is also a time when love has a chance to evolve toward a beautiful future instead of the pain of an inevitable breakup.

Are teens old enough to know what love really is? How do you know when you are in love?

There is a lot of closeness, friendship, intimacy, admiration and soul-sharing that takes in committed teen relationships. It feels like love. It is powerful and intoxicating.

Love involves the ability to truly take the perspective of another and to be able to put another’s interests and well being unselfishly ahead of their own.

Developmentally, teens need more time to finish forming their identity and to prepare themselves for adult challenges in life before they can give unselfish commitment and devotion to a partner. In our age of frank and provocative media, teens learn how to approximate adult relationships without having the underlying maturity needed to make them work.

Sex further confuses the issue of love and commitment. Teen-age girls expect sex to mean something when, in reality, probably they or their partners are not in a position to measure up to the demands of a mature, male/female committed relationship.

The answer is no. Generally speaking, teens are not old enough to know what love is. No wonder teen romances have a short time line before problems, conflict and breakup occur.

Why don’t guys have the same feelings as girls about love and sex?

The double standard for sexual behavior seems to be flourishing as much as ever. Teen-age boys want a relationship for the same reasons girls do – to get to know their date, to communicate and to have fun. However a certain percentage of males have sex as their main goal in dating. They want to have bragging rights about their sexual exploits with their peers.

Girls feel like they are under fairly constant pressure to have sex. This pressure is most intense between the ages of 12-16. These are the years when they are most vulnerable to peer group influences and have strong needs to be accepted and to fit in. If girls have a sexual experience, they tell their best friend or nobody at all. There is no glory in being sexually active.

Girls are quite concerned about being perceived as “easy” or as a “slut”. They are quite skeptical of the motives of males, perceiving them to be nice and loving up until they get what they want and then dumping their partner. Girls feel used under these circumstances.

Girls are concerned about the lack of respect and sensitivity of their dates who talk about their sexual activity. They avoid dating guys, not for their reputation of having “been around,” but for their reputation for “talking” about things they shouldn’t and exaggerating situations to make themselves look good in front of their friends.

Guys admit to being good at telling girls what they wanted to hear. Most relationships end when the guy dumps the girl and not the other way around.

If a guy you really love asks you to have sex and you really don’t want to, how can you easily let him down?

Tell him in advance of your dating standards for expression of affection. Tell him if he loves and respects you, then he will not pressure you – either verbally or through touch.

Don’t worry about letting him down easy. It will be easy for you if you know in advance what your standards are and communicate them clearly. Be firm and clear in your refusal. Let him know that is about you and your values and not about him.

Don’t allow sexual touch over or under clothing. Allowing fondling and petting will communicate ambivalence and invite more pressure. Your own arousal will start to cloud your judgment.

How long should you go out with someone before having sex?

If you ask the question that way, it is a matter of just a matter of time before you have sex. Sex is not for dating. Sex should come only after a loving and committed relationship. As already been discussed – this is a long shot during teen years.