Is there a right age to start dating seriously? You may be asking that probably because you feel like you’re old enough or too young to start dating. Most people in their 30s feel like they’ve missed the “acceptable age to start dating” bus.
On the other hand, some teens (as early as 16 years old) are grappling with the pressure of dating.
Chances are, you’ve felt the pressure to date at one point or another. The pressure could be from your friends, colleagues, classmates, schoolmates, parents, or grandmother. But the pressure is real.
So, let’s talk about the right age to consider dating seriously.
What’s the perfect age to date seriously?
Unlike casual dating, serious dating involves the following:
- Expectations such as respect and intimacy (physical and emotional)
- In-depth communication
When it comes to age, there is no easy answer or one age that fits all. Every individual’s journey is different. Some get serious as young as 16, while others start in their 30s. There is no specific age to start dating seriously. It’s important to note that you should do it when you are ready.
Signs that you’re ready to date seriously
Several factors are considered in determining “the best age to date.”
You feel ready
Whatever your age, you feel like you’re ready to have a boyfriend or a girlfriend. You’re excited about the possibility of having a partner or companion to share life with.
You are excited about meeting new people
Dating can be fun and exciting. You meet with different people as you assess each of them to find a potential romantic partner.
If you’re excited about the idea of going out and meeting new people in gatherings, on dates, or dating apps and sites, you could be ready to date seriously.
You have time
Busy lives require strategic planning for prioritized activities. If you’re ready to date, you’ll carve out time to date. Also, if dating isn’t going to add stress to your already busy life, that could be a sign.
You know what you want
Before you start dating seriously, you should have clear goals for your dating life. When you understand the real meaning of dating, the commitment that comes with it, and what you need in a partner, you’re ready to take the plunge.
Also, if you can manage your expectations and understand that no one will be exactly what you think they’ll be, the better.
You understand your needs and emotions
You have a healthy relationship with yourself and understand what your body and mind want.
- You practice self-love.
- You are aware of your boundaries. You know the limit of what you’re willing to do and how far you can go.
- You have your hobbies, friends, interests, goals, and desires. So, the other person will only compliment you.
- You embrace being alone.
You know your deal-breakers
Deal-breakers are values, behaviors, and qualities of a potential partner you don’t agree with. They are things you never hope to encounter, such as physical abuse, verbal abuse, cheating, etc.
You can respect other people
You’re ready to date if you can respect other people and their choices and not try to change them to what’s suitable for you.
Things to consider before dating seriously
Dating is a big deal. If you want and you’re ready to pursue dating seriously, there are some questions you need to ask yourself to help you decide if you’re in the right state to date.
- What does dating mean to you? Are you ready to date exclusively or for fun? You need to know if you want to get into a long-term or short-term arrangement. Dating seriously needs you to be prepared for a commitment.
- Why do you want to date? Are you dating for support? Love? Or a “good” time? It’s important to understand why you’re getting into the dating process.
- Does your schedule allow you to date? Dating requires effort and time. If you’re just starting a new job, your schedule might not allow you to date, and we’re not talking about 30 minutes of speed-dating. It would be best if you had enough time to learn more about your potential partner.
- Do you have personal goals and dreams? This is to identify if you have a strong sense of your identity.
- What characteristics are you looking for in a dating partner? You cannot be compatible with everyone. You need a partner with shared values for a relationship to work.
- Are you aware of your boundaries? Boundaries are your limits in a relationship. Before dating, know your limits; emotional, physical, sexual, time, financial, etc.
- What are your nonnegotiables and deal-breakers? Deal-breakers protect you from unhealthy behaviors or toxic situations.
Getting back to the question: what’s the best age to date seriously? 16? 25? 39?
Simply put, there is NO specific age to start dating seriously. Clearly, age doesn’t determine whether you’re ready or not. It’s all about maturity; physical and emotional maturity.
You know you’re ready if you can meet the above criteria—all of these need to be in place before you can get to it. Also, it’s important to understand that journeys are different.
Some people might find partners as soon as they start searching, while others might take some time.