Advice for teens about dating

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Get expert advice on teen issues like self-esteem, friendship, social media, dating, health, bullying, body image, popularity, sex, and goal setting.

Understanding what the Church’s teaching on dating is requires us to apply its 2,000 years of reflection and experience to the present context. In the , Aristotle says that friendship is not only good but one of the supreme goods, “for without friends no one would choose to live, though he had all other goods.” Aristotle distinguishes three characteristics that generate friendship: utility, pleasure and virtue.If dating is to be taken seriously by Catholics, it must be able to foster this Christ-like love. Dating becomes a practice in trying to balance the friendship and the sexuality, of respecting both the spiritual and physical aspects of another person. If dating is to foster Christian love, it must be open to others.If paschal love is a pattern of life-death-new life, dating is excellent practice for this. A relationship that isolates you from your friends, strains your family relationships, or keeps you from the Church is problematic.Jason King: What does the Catholic tradition say about dating? “The Church thinks in centuries,” so the saying goes.The phenomenon of dating, however, is a rather recent one.In trivializing relationships, we trivialize people. For a religion that posits humans as made in the image and likeness of God, this is wrong.The second view, which often arises among Christians, is to condemn dating.Just as God’s inner life is a community — Father, Son and Spirit — and we are invited into this life, so too dating relationships should help strengthen our communities and be open to others.Couples should feel free to hang out at home or go out with friends.Relationships in which one or the other or both members are the sole focus are too narrow and non-Christian.Love is supposed to overflow and lead us to engage and depend upon others.

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