I get to hear this question all the time and I think I asked my mum this question too… When is the right time to start dating? I know every teenager or most teenagers asked this question and according to American standard, I hear 16 is fine. Lets us not think dating is just about collecting data or getting to know each other. To me, dating means opening yourself emotionally to the opposite sex with the risk of getting hurt and so when you ask what the right time is to do that, my answer would be, are you ready to open your heart emotionally to someone knowing fully well you could get hurt? As teenagers, you are so young and your mind is pure or it should be, all you think of now is the latest game consul, the latest fashion, the latest movie, do you really want to add the responsibility of a relationship to that? I know Hollywood gives you the impression of a cute young girl and guy in a relationship. They show you a young  power couple, wants you to think that is the way forward and that you are more of a man if you have a girl relying on you or you are a pretty lady if you are dating the hottest guy in school. Coming from someone who has been there (not like I dated the hottest guys or anything…lol), you are just exposing your heart too early to someone who most of the time will not know how to handle it and maybe after a month or even a year, you guys break up and then you are so hurt and cannot concentrate. 20624766_sHow much do you even know yourself? How much have you learnt about who you are? What are your values? What can you handle emotionally? What are your strengths and what are your weaknesses? You keep discovering yourself as you grow older and at  a young age you don’t want to have another person discover you for you; that is you don’t know about yourself then you start dating someone that doesn’t know about himself, the only Idea of a relationship he has is the Hollywood/Nollywood definition of relationship and you want him to understand you? That is a recipe for disaster. Let me tell you what getting in a relationship early would do for you. It would open a side of you that should have been kept till you are ready (that is your emotions) then when the first hurt comes you may not know how to handle it (I can remember my first hurt because I am an emotional head who easily cries, I cried like a baby not because of the end of the relationship, after all, I ended it, but because he ignored me, when I called out to him in public ;). Let us go back to what an early relationship can do to you. 1) It will hurt you, a hurt that goes beyond what your friend or mum and dad has ever done to you. 2) It will distract you . 3) You may not feel whole again. 4)You may have fears of the next relationship. 5) You will get suspicious about the next relationship. 6) Lack of trust. 7)) A preconceived notion that someone is taking advantage of you. 8)  You may think you don’t deserve better based on past relationships, therefore making you want to settle for less. 9) You may blame yourself for any problem you encounter in your relationship and future relationship If you were taken advantage of in a previous relationship, you may think it is your fault and go on to another relationship trying to fix things. I know as a young kid, you cannot wait to be responsible for someone but if you are still taking lunch money from your parents and solely dependent on them, you really just need to enjoy doing that. Take your time, you will get there, where you would go into a relationship and be in love with that guy or girl, that will be totally worth your heart, worth the risk, that would bring out the best version of you. Just remain single, whole, till you are sure you can handle the responsibility, stress, emotions, love, self control that a relationship entails. Ask yourself, is it really the right time to date? Do you really think that every  18-22 year old guy is thinking marriage? Make friends , enjoy the friendship, if you start “catching feelings” for each other, “catch it” and eventually you will “catch out”, not all feelings should be followed with a  stamp of  relationship, some of us don’t even know who we are outside a relationship, we are just serial daters and when we are not dating we feel empty, we cannot even enjoy the company of ourselves…Slow down, discover you, enjoy being with you… it is worth it.