Dating as an adolescent: Do you feel safe?

Dating as a Teen:

Dating is a great way to find out more about a person and see if you have the same values and ideas. But you may find you are in a relationship that is not healthy. If something is not healthy, it’s not good for you.

How do you know your relationship is not healthy?

  • They control where you go, what you wear, or what you do.
  • They try to stop you from seeing or talking to family or friends.
  • They call you names, put you down or criticise you.
  • They threaten or scare you.
  • They hit, slap, push, or kick you.
  • They pressure you to have sex by saying things like 'if you loved me you would'.
  • They try to control you by checking your phone to see who you're talking to and what you're talking about.
  • They do not respect your feelings.

The person may say 'I love you'. But when someone controls you, hits you, calls you names or humiliates you that isn't showing love.

That's showing you who's in control! When someone loves you, you feel safe, respected and free to be yourself. You shouldn't be made to feel scared, bullied or controlled.

If you experience any of the examples above, you are in an unhealthy relationship. It could also be abusive, so it's important to speak to someone to get help.

This can happen in any relationship. It can even happen in a marriage. But it can happen more easily if you are dating an older man (often called a sugar daddy) who has more money or power than you.

There are still some people who believe that women and girls are less important than men and boys. They believe men have the right to control women. But they are wrong. Girls and women have the same rights as boys and men according to the law.

You shouldn't feel afraid of the person you are dating. You may not always be happy, but you should never feel unsafe in a relationship. Go to your local clinic and speak to a health care worker, social worker, counsellor or psychologist to get your power back.

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B-Wise User Anonymous 9 July 2020 12:09

Hi,my friend is 16 and is dating a guy who is 27 years old. Is is safe? Thing is the guy treats her well,he makes sure she's okay, he communicates with her and he respects her in every way possible.

B-Wise Expert Expert 9 July 2020 13:24


It is not against the law if your friend is already 16 but it is not wise because the guy is too old for her. She mustn't allow him to pressure her to do anything

B-Wise User Gezaye 28 June 2020 21:38

When dating a person and if u wanna have sex can u do it at The age of 13?

B-Wise Expert Expert 29 June 2020 15:43

Hello there,

The legal age to have sex is 16 so the age is 13 is too young

B-Wise User Juice boy 28 June 2020 17:52

Hi...I wanna know at what age is it legal to start dating,is it 16

B-Wise Expert Expert 29 June 2020 15:37


The legal age for consent (being able to agree to do something) is 16. 

B-Wise User Mukuna 8 April 2020 21:02

Am 13 and dating a 23 year old guy

B-Wise Expert Expert 9 April 2020 14:58

Hi there,

This is not a good idea because you are under the legal age of consent which is 16.

He is too old for you and this is dangerous because he might pressure you into having sex before you are ready.

B-Wise User Anonymous 7 April 2020 15:45

I'm 16 and I'm dating a gay that's 17 and we are dating now for 4years and he is overprotective and stuff.. When will you know when you are ready to brake your virgin?.

B-Wise Expert Expert 9 April 2020 13:55

Hi there,

It's important to break your virgnity when you are absolutely sure that you want to and there is no pressure on you to do it. 

Please read this article to help you make the decision:

B-Wise User Ituh'meleng 12 October 2019 13:33

I'm scared to tell my parents that I'm dating so can I keep it or can i tell them?

B-Wise Expert Expert 14 October 2019 09:26

Hi there, this is how you can talk to your parents

B-Wise User Nicole 31 December 2017 00:27

My little sister is 13 years old she is dating a guy who is 21 . The guy has so much control over her, i strongly adviced her to break up with the guy, but the guy is threatening to publish naked pictures of her . What should i do as an older sister?

B-Wise Expert Expert 12 April 2018 13:45

Hi thank you for your question.

In South Africa it is illegal for a 13 year old to have a sexual relationship with a 21 year old, and the guy can be charged with statutory rape.You can do the following:

You  can report the matter to their local Department of Social Development office, Child Welfare organisation or call Childline – 08 000 55 555 and will be directed to the right regional office. If the guy is having a sexual relationship with your little sister, who is a minor in this case, you can open a case of child sexual abuse/statutory rape at the nearest police station. 

B-Wise User Anonymous 29 September 2017 19:03

I'm afraid to tell my parents I'm dating? Do I need to tell my parents or keep it a secret?

B-Wise Expert Expert 3 October 2017 12:35

Hi, thanks for the question. What you tell your parents, and when, is different for every person. It depends on the relationship you have with your parents and how you think they will respond.

If you don’t usually share these kinds of things with your parents and you are scared of their reaction, think about the worst that could happen. Do you think they’ll be angry? Disappointed? Will they stop you from dating? Decide if you can live with their reaction, and if it’s something you can talk about with them and find common ground on.

There are good reasons for your parents to know you’re dating:

·         they will find out eventually, so rather let it be from you;

·         you don’t have to lie to them about it or keep secrets; and

·         you can get their support if you have problems.

If you do tell them, plan what to tell them and choose a time when they are open to talking. Decide what you want to get out of the conversation and keep that in mind when you approach them.

But if you are worried for your or your partner’s safety if you tell, put safety first. Call Childline on 08000 55 555 for advice or to report if you feel you are in danger.

B-Wise User slender 26 June 2017 00:25

For me is it okay when i date a 17years old guy while iam 15YEARS OLD?

B-Wise Expert Expert 31 July 2017 12:58

Hi Slender, that’s a good question. It depends what you do together as a couple. You can spend time together and do things together as long as you feel comfortable. But when it comes to sex, it’s different. In South Africa, the legal age of consent (the age you are considered old enough to say yes to having sex) is 16. That means that until you are 16, it’s illegal for anyone older than 16 to have sex with you. Any kind of sex between a 15-year-old and a 17-year-old would legally count as statutory rape, and the 17-year-old could be prosecuted and go to jail. If you’re in a situation like this and you need help, speak to a trusted adult or healthcare worker and make sure you stay safe.

B-Wise User Anonymous 23 March 2016 20:39

Does love have age???

B-Wise Expert Expert 20 April 2018 15:00

Hi Anonymous, love is a strong feeling of affection or liking someone. Many people feel love toward someone at different times. Most adolescents or young people start serious relationships when they are 19-21 years old. However, it might not be a good idea to date someone that is a lot older than you.

B-Wise Expert Expert 30 March 2016 13:49

Hi Anonymous, love is a strong feeling of affection or liking someone. Many people feel love toward someone at different times. Most adolescents or young people start serious relationships when they are 19-21 years old. However, it might not be a good idea to date someone that is a lot older than you.