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How to date?

Published 28.04.2020 - 28.04.2020 klo 14:41 - Produced by Family Federation of Finland
Dating means engaging in a relationship in a mutually agreed manner. When committing to dating, you need to be prepared to consider the other person in addition to yourself. Dating should be an equal interpersonal relationship.

Dating is about learning interpersonal skills. The commencement of dating as well as the rules for dating are mutually agreed upon.  It is not usual to date many people romantically at the same time, unless specifically agreed.

Dating is different at different ages. Initially, it can be sending messages to your crush, and interaction and being together and doing things together as you are older. It is a lot like having a good friendship, but the feelings for the partner are different from those for a friend.

Young people sometimes belittle their first relationship because they were not serious. However, every relationship, even if it was conversation through social media that lasted for two days, is an important step in sexual development and in learning interpersonal skills. Dating should be exactly what young people at that development stage are ready to experience.

There is no right age to start dating

No rule exists as to when to start dating. The emotional development of young people of the same age can be at different stages, so issues related to dating become relevant to different people at different ages. You do not have to rush to date because your friend is dating, and no one is forced to date.

The dating couple together create their own rules on what dating means to them.

For example, communication does not have to be daily. It is also important to spend own time with friends and hobbies. In dating relationships, as in other relationships, it is important to trust one another and be worthy of the trust yourself and to feel good and safe with one another.

Dating does not automatically mean sex

Dating does not automatically mean sex, and not only intercourse is sex. Being ready for a relationship does not mean being ready for sex. It is also common for one of the partners in a relationship to be willing and ready to have sex together, but the other is not. Equal relationship does not include pressuring the other into sex. Sometimes the relationship can end because the expectations for it are very different.

Law does not take a stand on dating

Young people often ask what age the law allows for dating. The criminal law does not address dating, but sexual interaction if the other partner is under 16 years of age. Thus, dating is not forbidden, even with an age difference of few years, if the relationship does not include sex. The situation is different if dating involves sex.

If the relationship is equal and there is no pressure or abuse, there is no need to hide it. If your partner wants to hide the relationship, it may be a sign that their motives for the relationship do not stand up to scrutiny.

Youth Service Experts, the Family Federation of Finland

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