Dating advice and stories for teens

Relationships that taught me about overcoming conflict, setting boundaries, speaking up for what I wanted.Relationships where I didn’t equate worthiness with self-denial, or desire with lack of interest.It would be a while more before I could fully unlearn those associations, ingrained in me since adolescence.I still believe in God, but I no longer believe in the definitions of love that I absorbed as a teenager, or that God was sending me messages that night at the church campout.And I can admit now that deep down, I knew all along that the shooting stars weren’t really a sign: “There’s going to be a meteor shower this weekend,” our youth pastor had said in the van on the way to the campsite.

I had become accustomed to our time alone: picnics at the Hollywood Bowl and the Greek Theatre, decadent meals at Black Market Liquor Bar and Gjelina, ocean-side walks in Santa Monica.I’d been raised to have faith in the seemingly impossible. * * * Throughout high school, I remained steadfast in my certainty that Nathan and I would end up together.When he began dating another girl from our youth group named Tori, I was disappointed that I wouldn’t be his first girlfriend, but I wasn’t worried (and sure enough, they broke up later that year).Girls were reminded to dress modestly, to avoid provoking the sin of lust.

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Church leaders told us that birth control was ineffective, that it was like jumping out of an airplane with a parachute that only worked some of the time.

Nathan was a lanky surfer type, with long knobby fingers that moved gracefully on a guitar, an effortless smile, and straight blond hair. It was also the thing that hooked me, along with his height.

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