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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.

The two people aren’t “a couple” or “an item,” and they don’t refer to each other as a “boyfriend” or “girlfriend.” They don’t pair off. This is the kind of dating the Church encourages you to do after you turn 16.

You should put aside a need to find a “one and only.” If you’re dating casually, you don’t expect a relationship to become a romance.

After high school (and a mission, for a young man), if young adults become emotionally intimate and naturally desire physical intimacy, they are in a position to do something about it: they could get married.

But if teens become emotionally intimate and naturally desire physical intimacy, they can’t do anything about it.

Just because you can date when you turn 16 doesn’t mean you should immediately start looking for a steady boyfriend or girlfriend.

For decades, prophets have preached that youth who are in no position to marry should not pair off exclusively.

For instance, President Hinckley (1910–2008) said, “When you are young, do not get involved in steady dating.

Though LDS youth generally know the kinds of physical contact they should avoid (sexual transgressions and inappropriate touching), they often wonder when it is OK to hug or kiss or do other such things.

But these questions ignore the emotional half of the equation.

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