Got teens? No matter what you do, you are probably going to have to deal with them dating sooner than later. We’ve been in this for a few years now, and have developed some teen dating rules we think can make this time palatable for everyone. Know that we are in it with you! We’re 2 gay dads who are trying to manage this exciting/scary season of life too. We have been dragged into it kicking and screaming but after some frank conversations (and bourbon) we are working through it.

Whether you are a home with 2 dads, 2 moms, one of each or any other combination, you probably aren’t looking forward to watching your teenagers start dating. It is anxiety attack-inducing at its worst. Being a family with 2 gay dads, we seem to be doubly protective of our girls. On top of wondering if the boy will treat them right and not get handsy, we worry our girls will endure awkward questions and insensitive comments because of our family.

Like all parents, we just want to protect our girls. That’s why these 2 gay dads came up with some handy teen dating rules.

high school girl and boy dressed for Homecoming Dance

We liked Sophia’s first real boyfriend a lot, and still made him come to our house every time. (Photo courtesy 2019 from Jon Bailey)

7 Teen Dating Rules By 2 Gay Dads

Despite many advances in LGBTQ rights, we live in a world that can sometimes be dangerous for people who are gay or who are gay allies. We sincerely believe though that there is more that connects us than divides us, and that we are all more similar than we are different. It’s our hope that we have instilled that confidence in our girls and they choose partners who are respectful and kind.

  1. Not all boys (or girls) are alike.

Our family is a prime example – love comes in many forms. We want our girls to understand stereotypes don’t help anyone. They should not assume a partner will treat them in a certain way, or even know how to treat someone in a relationship. Teen emotions run high, and also sometimes run out of control. We all don’t like or want the same things. That’s ok!

Photo courtesy of Antonio Guillem

  1. Sex, love and dating are not the same things.

Sigh. No Dad wants to talk, or even think, about their daughters having sex. We’ve all heard the horror stories. Ugh! However, we believe our girls need to understand the difference between sex, love and dating. That one doesn’t have to follow or go hand in hand with the other. Open communication is the key – between the teens dating and also between teens and their parents. Talk with them about these realities and set some teen dating rules for them in advance. At least they will know where you stand!

  1. Girls have all the control.

As 2 gay dads we are so invested in making sure our daughters feel empowered, and not marginalized at all. They get to decide what happens with a romantic partner as well as when, where and how. We let them know they can always, ALWAYS say No.

Photo courtesy of Erstudiostok

  1. Be respectful. 

This is one of the most important teen dating rules everyone should have. Our daughters need to be respectful of our parental rules, curfews, values and morals. They also need to always be respectful of their romantic partner and expect the same in return. Finally, we hope our daughters understand they need to show respect for themselves too.

Photo courtesy of millann

  1. We must meet your date first.

There will be no honking at the curb and our daughters running out to a waiting car. Not. Happening. Our daughters understand we need to know who they are leaving with, where they are going and what they will be doing. We also need to make sure the person trying to date our gorgeous, smart, kind, funny, amazing daughters are good enough for them. (Spoiler alert: they probably aren’t.)

  1. Start slow.

There are lots of theories about what age is right for teens to start dating. However, that is really an individual question to ask of each teen. However, studies have found early dating, and prolonged one-on-one dating increases the risk of sexual activity. Encourage group dates at first. Help your teenagers keep their romantic life in perspective. And make sure they are dating someone in their same age group.

Photo courtesy of skynesher

  1. Who has 2 gay dads who will always be there for you? You do!

Anytime. Any place. We are committed to being there for our girls through their dating highs and lows and the ups and downs of teenage life. We want our girls to fully comprehend that there is nothing they can do…NOT ONE THING…that could ever make us not love them.

Photo courtesy of martin-dm

 

 

 

 

Also, if you have girls you may want to consider taking them to self-defense classes for teens. We did this recently with great results, and you can read about it in another story from 2 gay dads.

In addition, there are several other sources that can round out your perspective on teen dating rules. Consider this article on setting ground rules for teen dating, and this good advice from Very Well Family.

These teen dating rules by 2 gay dads are not just for gay families. We believe this experience is hard enough for everyone. Good luck!