Teenage relationships


I am sixteen years old. I do my best to be a good Catholic, though in the modern world, of course (or at least where I live), it is rather difficult!

I am seeking advice on the ‘proper’ relationships to have with members of the opposite sex.

Most of my friends at school engage in wanton relationships, frequently leading to sex (entirely through a lack of being taught otherwise, in my opinion – casual sex is the prevailing culture here, as elsewhere).

That is obviously wrong. But I would have thought that to go through life talking to members of the opposite sex only for ‘conversation’ is going a bit to far!

I go to parties quite often, and regularly ‘get with’ others – i.e., we meet (perhaps for the first time), dance, and then kiss.

Is this ‘wanton’ kissing appropriate?

Is the point of ‘going out’ with someone only acceptable if the ultimate intention is to see whether the two are suitable for marriage?


You are still to young to be thinking about relationships. There is nothing wrong with having boys as friends but keep it at friendship.

When you are finished high school and college then you can think about relationship etc. The reason I say this is that when you start dating at a young age it comes with to much complications.

I do not know how to explain this but am going to try. When you get involved in a relationship when you are say 16 yrs old. In some cases the boy or girl can be very jealous and over protective. And verbal and physical abuse occur. And also teenage pregnancy get involved in sex at such a young age. There is a young girl who lives next door to me she is 16 years old and involved with a 20something year old boy. She is not mature enough to have a relationship and I do not know why her parents allowed her to date at such a young age. When he does not come and see her she is miserable for days on end. He is jealous and overprotective and does not allow her to go anywhere without him. She does not have friends as he tells her that her friends are jealous of their relationship. The other day she was crying and begging him and he was swearing at her and tell her where to get off. She was miserable for days after that and wanting to kill herself etc.

But there are many cases of this. It does happen and it affects your school work, personal life etc. My mother was very strict when I was young and boyfriends was out of the question and going out to parties or sleeping out. When I finished High School my mother gave me the freedom to go out. When I turned 20 years old I starting dating a man who ended up been my husband. (But we are now divorced that is a long story). But now that I look back I was always do odd one out of my 4 friends who did not have a boyfriend and who was not having sex. But I did not allow myself to be put underpressure to having a boyfriend at such a young age. I was scared of my mother and what would happen if she found out. So with a result I saw my friends be miserable and unhappy and there were days when they felt like dying because they were so unhappy. There was the pressure to have sex. The pressure of been beaten up by their boyfriends. And ignorant young girls think that a man loves them when they are jealous and possessive.

I am a 32 year old women. And I know what it feels like to be young and you are expected to act and be a certain way. But not going to clubs and not going to parties and not dating boys is the best thing. You are still so young and have a bright future ahead of you and that is the most important thing. There is plenty of time later to enjoy life. And one day you will meet a man who you are going to marry. But right now the kissing and fooling around story is not on because it leads to other things eventually and that is something that you do not need at 16 years old.


Thanks Robaynne…

What may not have been clear from my original post is that I am a boy, not a girl - funny, our assumptions sometimes!

Any other advice?


Consider the morality of what you do - at least the plans and the patterns you repeat. Make sure you never use the girl for your own benefit.

The problem with the relationships of young people - and I was there a couple of years ago, so I still have a fresh memory - is that marriage is far future. You just won’t get engaged and marry too soon.

On the other hand, the whole of human sexuality and whatever falls within this part of life but is not strictly sexual - it serves marriage. I don’t see anything wrong in kissing a girlfriend you’re in love with and hope she’s the one you’ll get engaged with and marry when both of you are older - although on the other hand the assumption should go too far. I see something wrong in “having some action” - i.e. getting some kissing with a person, then leaving that person for another, or generally kissing on isolated encounters, for the sake of kissing and the pleasure it brings. Kissing is not sex, but neither is it meant for us as a recreational activity to engage in with strangers.

Is the point of ‘going out’ with someone only acceptable if the ultimate intention is to see whether the two are suitable for marriage?

Yes. That’s the only point of any relationship between a man and a woman which exceeds the limits of friendship. Note that friends go out but they don’t “go out”. See the difference? There’s nothing wrong seeing a film with a friend of the opposite sex, or going to a dance. However, “getting on” crosses the limits of friendship and focuses on getting some action which gives us pleasure and some sense of self-fulfilment. While it does somehow belong to engaged relationships or to earlier-stage relationships which may lead to engagement, behaving with a stranger like with a fiancee or girlfriend even, is reaping where one didn’t sow. People will use various constructs to justify it on the grounds that it’s nowhere in the Bible or Fathers or Catechism even, that it’s not sex and isn’t inherently tied with sex drive, but those arguments are all weak. It ultimately comes down to “getting what I want” and nothing else counting.

So, make sure you’re reverent towards the ladies, you don’t use them, you don’t give appearances of relationships which don’t exist and you don’t collect the fruit of relationships which don’t exist. Make sure you don’t act on sex drive but on love.

Also, remember that there’s no compulsion, no obligation to have a girlfriend or do things with girls. No necessity, either. One can live without kissing a couple of nice girls every now and then, even if this seemed particularly difficult to me when I was in my late teens or very early twenties. :wink: Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a puritan that has never done anything remotely questionable. I’ve been through the same phase as you are now. And I can tell you that the best relationships were those in which limits were not crossed, but in which there was genuine affection and respect. That means friendships, including the somewhat teary ones. Paradoxically, they now seem more open to marriage than those other relationships, because of the real respect and affection and the fact the people stayed around, so something could always develop at a later stage.

So finally to finish this, I suggest paying no tributes to the male drives and just concentrating on building worthwhile friendships with people, ladies included. This doesn’t mean that if you fall in love and your intentions are pure, you should treat the lady as if she were another guy. But you really don’t need kissing encounters or suggestive clingy dancing or other such stuff for the sake of it. If there’s no girl in your life that you would particularly care for, love and cherish, then there’s still a lot of time for her to come into your life. It’s better to concentrate on waiting for her and preparing yourself to be a good man for her, than to engage in distractions or suffice with replacements to burn the energy somewhere and get some fuel to get going. I can tell you one can go without the fuel and the energy can be burnt elsewhere. It just takes a lot of effort in the beginning, but in the end it makes one happier.

Now, I wish you many blessings on your journey. Keep growing. One day the special woman will be in your life before you notice. Feel free to PM me if you’d like to talk more.


the proper task of adolescence is to learn one’s own identity and to learn the art of friendship. Both of those goals become frustrated, short-circuited and depraved if the person enters into the realm of sexual expression. Learn who you are, who God wants you to be, his plan for your life. Learn what you need to know and do to carry out that plan. Learn how to be a good friend. the proper sphere for social activity and enjoyment in adolescence is the group, sometimes single-sex, sometimes co-ed depending on the activity. One:one pairings with intense emotional attachment and physical expression are damaging because they cannot, at least in our culture, lead to courtship and marriage.


Let me give you a little perspective gained only from age and experience (AACK… I never thought I’d be referring to myself as "aged and experienced! :o I swear I’m still young at heart!)…

Looking back at my highschool “relationships” and “boyfriends”… 10 years later…
Those guys that I MOST admire, looking back, are the ones that were just friends. The ones that I laughed with and just spent time in groups with, maybe danced at parties or even went out to the movies alone with… I look back at those guys with real respect. I want to see them at my high school reunion and I want to hear how wonderful their lives have become! I would feel totally comfortable introducing my husband to these guys and reminiscing about our friendships.

I really have no desire to even see those that I “went out with” or even had a “kissing-type” relationship with (I was not sexual in high school). Even thinking about those guys makes me feel sad. I don’t wish them any ill, but I have no desire to reconnect with them. I wouldn’t even feel comfortable introducing my husband to them.

Does that make any sense?

Maybe picture yourself 10 years in the future. Would you feel comfortable introducing your fiancee or wife to these girls at your reunion?

Now I have to go cry because I’ve just made myself feel OLD! :stuck_out_tongue: LOL! :smiley:

Good luck!.. I know this is a challenging time. The pressure and desire is real…
Be strong… and enjoy your high school friends!


Two bits from me -

First, teenage girls have fragile hearts and self images. If you dance with and kiss a girl, regardless of how she talks - on the inside she thinks that it means you are now her boyfriend. When you don’t follow up on what she sees as a budding romance, you (unintentionally) hurt that girl.

You sound like a nice young man who would NEVER want to lead a girl on, so, don’t :slight_smile:

Second, you can be a popular 16 year old young man and NOT date or get romantic. My son keeps everything in the friend zone, he is close to 17 now - but knows that dating will wait until he is ready to seek a spouse.

Keep close to God. Try reading “Theology of the Body for Teens” :thumbsup:


I will second this. I think that kissing usually indicates a lot to a girl or a woman, maybe more so than to a man. I can’t add a lot of input-- I’m not much older than the OP-- but if I were to go out with someone and it ended with kissing, I’d draw the conclusion that this guy thought I was something special to him, and be deeply hurt if he did this often with other girls. I’d say to just be very, very careful in this issue, since I and I think most girls I know would regard kissing as something extremely precious to us.

And you do sound like you have good intentions (why else would you be asking for advice?), which is why I say all this. My :twocents:. :slight_smile:


First, at your age Mary was already the Mother of God, so it is right and natural to think about a relationship. Clearly, it is silly to think about relationships – as --I assume – you don’t plan to marry multiple people.

While we are on the topic of honestly, the key is to be honest with your body. Reproductive actions, are for the procreation of children as a renewal of wedding vows. If you are not married, what are you renewing? How are you affirming that which you do not have? So, any sort of actions which are an effectionate sign of the love that two people of opposite gender would share – should be considered in-light of the fact that those actions are to be a renewal of your mariatal vows.

Your body is not there as entertainment for others; nor theirs for you. The body is a temple for the Holy Spirit. The mouth is the same mouth that is called to praise God, and speak the good news that He is Risen! It is right to consider why you kiss these people. When you figure out why you kiss them, you can then consider if that is honest.

Often people your age feel they are missing something. They may kiss many people to fill a sort of something missing. In a sense, they are tricking themsleves to feel as though they have something they do not.

You are at an age where your body says it wants to be married; but society has made that fiscally challenging, and so the only responce for many is to suffer through this with patience. At root, the problem is often economic. People wish they could marry, have kids, and live with someone at your age; it is just not financially possible.

My other suggestion, if you plan to marry one day, is to keep in mind your future spouce.


I am so sorry. I feel so bad.

Anyway the advice given by other people comes from age and experience. Sometimes in life young people do not like to listen they feel what do you know you are not living in the times that we are living. My kids are still very young and innocent and still hide their faces when they see people kissing on TV. But what scares me the most is that what will they be exposed to.

But what it boils down to is what we as parents teach our kids. Teaching them what is right and what is wrong. Over the past couple of weeks I have been getting emails from concerned people regarding this thing called MXIT. Not sure if you are aware of it but it is a chatline kind of thing whereby young kids say 13 to about 40 maybe older are chatting. But the worst part is that these young girls are sending almost porn pictures of themselves.

So we as parents are we not monitoring what our children are doing. The same as the issues you have discussed here what kind of a relationship do you have with your parents can you not discuss these issues with them. People here can give you lots of advice but we are not your parents and can advice you so far and no further.

Sex is not for young, immature people. Girls at 16 years or still fragile but so are some boys. But never allow peer pressure or anybody to push you into a corner to do things that you are not comfortable with. If you do not drink does not mean that you are dull and boring it is a personal choice. The same as sex or having a relationship at a very young age when you cannot handle it.

I mother always said to me that sex was for married people not for young immature people. That is why teenage pregnancy is so high and also HIV and AIDS. I live in a country whereby this is such a problem. Where young kids are getting pregnant before their time or ended up with the virus before they even reach 18 or even 21. Young girls of less than 20 years old sitting with two kids no education and each kid is from a different father.

I seem to have your head screwed on right. Follow your heart and also your upbringing. As God for guidance he will guide you in the right direction. And do what you think is best for you and not what you friends or peers tell you.


Sound advice, in addition do not ever BECOME comfortable with these things.

Another thing to consider is suppose that one is married. Would it be appropriate to kiss someone of the other gender then? Mistakenly, many believe that marriage is being tied down, when in fact it is the opening up and sharing of two people with each other who have now become one. Because one is not married, does not mean they are ‘free’ to do as they please.

In Christ - J.M.J.


Wow - a 16 year old catholic boy who actually cares and is concerned about his behavior toward girls - you are wise beyond your years and your parents are blessed.

Despite the prevailing culture - you are right to be concerned. You respect others and would like them to respect you. Your expectations of proper young adult behavior however may need to be rethought.

To meet girls and dance at 16 is wonderful. As respectful friends to each other, the kissing sounds a bit much. Just because the rest of the place is doing it - you don’t have to and shouldn’t feel compelled to do so. I know the other guys will give you grief about it but try to ignore them. Trust me - they don’t know squat.

But remember a few things - the girl is someone’s precious daughter and a child of Christ to be respected and properly treated. You too are a child of Christ and someone’s precious son to be respected and treated properly. Being friends who enjoy each other’s company and dancing is a gift of the soul and a chance to learn about each other respectfully. Making many friends respectfully is a good chance to learn about different personalities and girl’s attitudes toward guys. It is complicated enough without adding the added pressure and guilty layer of kissing someone when you may not mean all that that kind of intimacy brings to a potential friendship.

Have fun enjoying the dances and parties. Be polite, honest, truthful and respectful of yourself and your dates.

Kissing is a special gift of self and should not be given away to just anyone you dance with. Save it until you and your heart are in agreement about whom to share it with. Pray on it and stay close to God. You are special indeed and so is the gift of a kiss.


Just noticed a little pamphlet about “friendly dating” in the confessional. Didn’t pick it up since we aren’t there yet with our children. Did scan the cover since Father was occupied with the person on the other side and his voice was loud (was trying to avoid evesdropping!) Anyway, the gist of what I read was that it’s OK to do things one on one in the same spirit that you might with a same-sex friend. Try googling that phrase and see what you come up with. It was a printed brochure that probably comes from one of the major publishing houses.

Looks like you’ve gotten lots of good advice so far. I would suggest that you make some kind of line for yourself that you will not cross. Certainly stop kissing (especially while dancing) or making declarations of affection (if you’ve been doing that). a friendly hug (no rubbing) or holding hands would be plenty. I would also caution against exclusivity or spending huge amounts of time together–even on the phone. A couple of phone calls a week should be plenty. Especially if it is a girl that you see at school.

The safest place to be is with other people–especially others who are not also 'dating". So hang out with friends, family, or in very public places. But don’t make a habit of going off alone.


What ltbpoe43 said has made me think about my own younger years. I was older than you - the Opening Poster - when I started wondering. We want to experience things. And that we want to experience the love of the young people is something natural. That’s some idealistic years when we’re already strong and somewhat grown but we still haven’t struck root, settled down, become pragmatic. Besides, we’re youthful and that combines well with love.

On the other hand, the focus on experience - or even experiences, is that love? I know I wasn’t looking for love when I did things I shouldn’t have done. I would go to dancing parties just to get some action (extremely rarely succeeded, but still). But at some point I was able to stop thinking how far I could go without offending God. But it took some thinking and some realisations. I knew it was wrong, so I had to stop justifying it and admit it was wrong. It was wrong on principle and I don’t like wrong principles. It’s better to be a gentleman in all situations, not excepting when it’s not unwelcome to cut oneself some slack.

Some questions that help are probably if you would like your future wife, or your current girlfriend, to do what Girl X does with you. Or if you would like a guy to treat your sister like that. Or a daughter if you had one. If the answer is negative, then there is some problem with it. Pray a lot. It’s not a shame to pray for strength in temptation and for wisdom to tell when temptation is happening. Be a gentleman, be a friend. If you actually fell in love, I wouldn’t tell you not to kiss that girl, but if you aren’t in love, you don’t need that kind of thing. Make it special and keep it for the girl you love - and hopefully your future wife.

The other guys will tend to treat the gentleman as the sucker. However, secretly, they will admire him. I’ve been in both situations - shunned but secretly admired, shunning but secretly admiring some guy who wouldn’t get any action but would stick to just talking. I’ve heard from people, too. Be yourself, don’t give in to the world. Be a gentleman, wait for a lady.


As a teenager (18) I find teenage relationships to be retarded. They act as if they think they’re married, but they isn’t. And grad is coming up and I see girls running around desperate for dates, going with guys they don’t even talk to, or plain out hate, just so they’ll have a date.
I’m glad I’m single (for now atleast):cool:


Found a great article on this.



I think it depends on the teenager.

I started dating at the age of seventeen, when my best guy friend and I noticed that we had some chemistry. He asked me if we were more than friends and neither of us were sure for awhile, until we both had the guts to make it official. I decided to date him because I wanted to take the opportunity to learn more about him and myself and see if we could have something that’s meant to last. I also didn’t want to have the two of us going on for years wondering, what would happen or could happen if we had decided to admit our feelings for each other. We take it a day at a time and we trust in God.

I didn’t decide to simply for fear of being single. I had plenty of opportunities to date other guys, but I wasn’t interested. I just knew I would miss an opportunity if I said no and I didn’t want to deny my true feelings.

People ask me what we’ll do when we go to college this fall. I don’t know, we’ll trust in God with that. We’ve been long distance for almost a year, so that part isn’t really a huge obstacle for the two of us. We’ve lived far apart from the beginning of our friendship, so we’re pretty used to it.


I have a 20 yo son, a 17 yo son and a 15 yo daughter. None of my kids were big on the dating scene (yet). Mostly, they went out with a group of friends. My oldest, when he was 17-19 was friends with a group of kids that all believe in chastity. They all made promises to each other to support each other when they felt weak in their determination. It was great!!! My next ds has only had 1 gf so far. He is more shy than his brother and is still totally intimidated by girls. My dd is a very pretty young lady, she has yet to go on a date even though she has been given permission to date. I think it stems more from the rules, that we meet any boy she dates and she fears her brothers will hurt any boy they don’t like.

I think it is admirable that you are thinking like a more mature person, but I don’t think you have any cause to feel “alone.” I see alot of kids that would rather keep to a group setting to avoid the peer pressure of dating. Frequently, I see the only solo date a teenaged couple has is the prom, and that is fine with me!


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.