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This is the kind of dating the Church encourages young adults (generally, people in their 20s) to progress toward, because that’s the age when they should be thinking of marrying.You should avoid becoming exclusive as teenagers, because an exclusive relationship requires a high level of commitment from both partners, and you’re not in a position to make that kind of commitment as teens—neither emotionally, physically, nor in terms of your future plans. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, has said to youth, “Avoid steady dating.They may hang out in the same social circle, study together, or participate in activities they both enjoy.In the teen years, friendships between guys and girls should look like regular friendships, which have an inclusive attitude of “the more the merrier.” Casual dating has the same basic characteristics as friendship, except the friends may be paired up for the duration of an event or activity.They expect each other not to date anyone else or to be emotionally or physically close with other people.Couples who date seriously consider the future, because there is a real possibility they could stay together.Friendship is when two people discover they have similar interests, similar views—things in common.
Often two teens (especially LDS youth who know the Lord’s commandments) will be tempted to become physical only if they’ve already established the kind of relationship that would permit it—one that has already reached a level of emotional connectedness and commitment.Steady dating is courtship, and surely the beginning of courtship ought to be delayed until you have emerged from your teens” (“You’re in the Driver’s Seat,” June 2004, 8). They think these friendship-type relationships are only for younger kids, and they plunge into romantic relationships more appropriate for young adults (people in their 20s), who are in a position to think about marriage.These romantic relationships have two components: physical and emotional.Studies have shown that the longer a boy and girl date one another, the more likely they are to get into trouble. to date a variety of companions until you are ready to marry” (“A Prophet’s Counsel and Prayer for Youth,” Jan. Relationships have different stages of emotional connectedness (see the figure on “The Funnel Theory”).The important stages for teenagers to experience in their relationships are friendship and casual dating.