How can a person casually date different people without getting a reputation as a promiscuous or dishonest person?
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“How can a person casually date different people without getting a reputation as a promiscuous or dishonest person?” New Era, Sept. 2013, 40

Where I live, you’re considered boyfriend/girlfriend after one date. How can a person casually date different people without getting a reputation as a promiscuous or dishonest person?

youth bowling

Photo illustration by Matthew Reier

This is a significant challenge for many Latter-day Saint youth all around the world. They are counseled to “avoid going on frequent dates with the same person” so that they do not develop serious relationships at a young age (For the Strength of Youth [booklet, 2011], 4). But in the culture of much of the world, the invitation for a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship often comes even before a first date; and likewise, just one date can imply an exclusive relationship with an expectation of commitment. In such a culture, going on dates with different people appears to violate the “relationship” and can give you a reputation as a promiscuous or dishonest person. So what should you do?

First of all, make sure everyone knows your belief in and commitment to the Lord’s standard of chastity and sexual purity so that there is never any doubt about your character and behavior. Next, you can actively work to change the dating culture around you for the better by speaking up for the Church’s guidelines. If people question you about your dating standards, ask them why, if they aren’t looking to get married anytime soon, they feel the need to have such emotionally and physically intimate and exclusive relationships at such a young age. Invite them to join you on a group date so that they can see the fun they can have while avoiding the needless moral dangers and emotional drama of teen romance. And let them know about the guidance and counsel we have been given by living prophets and apostles.