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You have met the most amazing person, and you totally NEED to go out with him/her. Do your parents even allow you to go out and "date?Before you ask out the object of your affection, or say, "yes" to someone who's interested in you, go through this checklist of questions to make sure you're ready to handle whatever might happen in your new relationship. He talks about the future, even in the short term, but never follows through. If you are actually brave enough to confront him about his inconsistent relationship talk, he will look at you as though you are certifiable.

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Depending on how easygoing or strict your parents are, that age could be as young as 13 or 14, or as old as 18.

If you really want to be with this person and your parents won't give in, try talking to them about it. Gowen suggests trying to show your parents how mature and responsible you are.

By the time they're in high school, guys may have gone a lot further than you're ready to go.

In fact, Gowen did a study of girls who had older boyfriends, and she found that freshmen girls who dated junior or senior boys were more likely to go further, and to be forced into doing things they didn't want to do.

Kris Gowen, Ph D, Ed M, a researcher in sexual and mental health at the Portland State University School of Social Work.

She's also written a book about sexuality for teens, called Sexual Decisions: The Ultimate Teen Guide.

Once you know your limits, you need to be strong and secure enough to say "no" or "stop" if things are getting too hot and heavy.

Are you also mature enough to handle the rejection that can come in a relationship? On the flip side, if you were the one having to do the breaking up, could you do it in a firm, but kind way?

Dating a guy who's in high school when you're still in middle school, or who's a senior when you're still a freshman might seem cool, but it could get you into a lot of trouble.

"Just because a girl looks like she's 16 when she's only 11, it doesn't mean that psychologically or emotionally she's ready to date older boys...

they are so much more skilled at this dating game than she would be, and they can manipulate her and hurt her," says Laura Choate, Ed D, a licensed professional counselor, associate professor of counselor education at Louisiana State University, and author of the book, Girls' and Women's Wellness: Contemporary Counseling Issues and Interventions.

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