Lately, the term 'dating' has been on my mind... rather a lot. See, for us Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) dating is something you wait until 16 to do. Rather, that's what's supposed to happen. However, the whole thing seems a little confusing. I mean the whole "Don't date until your 16" thing is kind of straight forward. However, lots of teens in my religion seem confused about what kind of dating your allowed to do at that age. *Sigh* I could go on and on about that... saying how wrong I think some people are... but what I really want to discuss is simply my thoughts and view on the matter. Not: my view on how others should go about it.
I think that different people definitely have various things that work for them, whether they be LDS (a Latter-Day Saint) or if they are from another denomination. Some teens are very mature, and some just... aren't. So, I think that people really should just focus on what their dating ideas are. What I believe in, as far as dating goes, is based a lot on what my religion and parents advise.
So basically my view of 'dating' is that it's okay to go on group dates starting at 16, and that going on single dates are appropriate when you get older and are more interested in finding a person to marry. I also think that you shouldn't be exclusive (exclusive = having a boyfriend or girlfriend) until you've gone on several single dates and until you are actually interested in marrying the person you want to be exclusive with.
There you go. In one complete paragraph, I have stated how I think utopia 'dating' should work. Sadly 'dating' seems to be a lot more complicated than that.
For some reason, society seems to want people to be exclusive. They think it makes sense for teens to pair off. They encourage it! For me, this just seems ridiculous because... well... a teenage relationship will lead either to things that I consider to be sinful when not limited to a marriage, or to breaking up. The fact is that I believe feelings leading to romantic love should be between a man and a woman who can actually take things somewhere without it leading to sin.
Society's encouragement of teens pairing off troubles me for the above reasons, and because it seems like you can't escape the fact that everyone (including myself sometimes) puts others into 'couples' and pairs. This makes it hard for me because I know that when I turn 16 and were to go on a group date, then many of my friends (if not all) would think that I liked my date. Through no real fault of their own, but through conditioning, they would think that we were together. Then if I were to go out with another young man (let's say the next week) many would see me as a sort of player. They'd see me as cheating on the young man that I went out with first. Even though I never had any sort of relationship with either of them and they are both simply my friends.
I turn 16 in only a little bit. I have my idea of how dating should work, and the world has their view. Unfortunately, the carrying out of my ideas will probably be viewed unfavorably by those who look at me from a more normal and non-Mormon, non-me point of view.
So, maybe I'll end up going through with my ideas and pretend not to care about any labels people may give me. Or, I could just not do any kind of dating for a while. I could just wait until I get out of this weird teenage limbo. I could just hang out with people. Who knows what I'll do though? I most certainly don't.
16... I am coming. I just don't know what to do with you.