NurseAsk Nurse Lisa

Safe Dating

“Have patience. Some things cannot be rushed.”

-Bristol Bay Yup’ik Value

Are you wondering when most people start dating?  The answer is there is really no right age for teens because everyone is different! There are several things to keep in mind. Having knowledge about what a healthy relationship looks like, and what it isn’t, can help prevent dating violence and intimate partner violence (IPV). Teen dating violence and IPV are real issues that impact youth and communities everywhere.

Here are some questions you might want to ask yourself before going on a date or if you start dating:

  • What do I want in someone I date?
  • What are my boundaries?
  • What is a healthy relationship?
  • Can I handle feeling jealous?
  • Do I know how to say no?
  • Do I want to wait on a physical relationship?
  • Have I talked to my parents/guardians about dating yet?

Trusted adults, especially parents, can be great resources for navigating things like dating and relationships. They care about your health and safety and chances are, they wish the best for your happiness. Sometimes, parents set rules around dating, like allowing their youth to date once they reach a certain age, what kind of dates are appropriate, how much time you spend with your partner/boyfriend/girlfriend/SO, etc. These rules may be shaped by their values. Having open conversations about values, your boundaries with parents and trusted adults can help you navigate relationships. How will you respond if your parents or guardians say no to you dating? Staying calm can show the adults in your life that you can handle difficult conversations and situations. Also, remember that parents usually set rules and guidelines based on the best intentions for your health and safety.

Here are some safety tips for your dates:

  • Meet your date in a public place (especially if you are meeting for the first time)
  • Bring your cell phone
  • Bring cash
  • Self-defense items
  • Plan on shorter dates for first dates
  • Try double dates with friends
  • Trust gut feelings
  • Let family and friends know where you will be and for how long. They can pick you up in case you start to feel unsafe or uncomfortable.

If you or someone you know went on an unsafe first date, check out loveisrespect.org or If you feel that maybe you are not in a healthy relationship, read more about unhealthy relationships and abuse Or check out this quiz about unhealthy relationships (opens in a new window) then come read about Dating Violence & Domestic Violence. Get an Alaska regional handout by clicking here.

This article was informed by the following resources:

Get Help

For general resources about relationships, sex, wellness and more, please do a search on the Get Answers page.

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Call 911 or your local police. If not in an immediate threat, please view resources on the Get Help page.