How to date
If you’re in love with someone, the next logical step is to find out if they feel the same about you. Often you can guess if someone’s interested. If you’re not sure, be brave!
Try to get into a situation where you’ve got a chance to talk to the person. If you have mutual friends, let them introduce you. You could also send them a text message or try to make contact on chat – but if they don’t answer, don’t pester them. If you notice they’re not really responding or they’re even trying to avoid you, there’s a good chance they don’t return your feelings.
Bear in mind, however, that there’s an extra tricky puzzle in the love game: some people can be standoffish even if they’re really attracted to you, because they don’t know how to cope with their feelings! Or maybe they feel they shouldn’t be responding to your advances even if they’d like to. So don’t immediately assume someone isn’t interested in you because they don’t respond straight away.
Some guys have the idea – often picked up from movies – that if you keep hassling a woman long enough she will give in to you. People might tell you that if a girl says no or even gets upset or angry, you should ignore it and not give up.
This is a fantasy – if someone reacts like this to your advances, you’re just being abusive.
If you get a clear no, be respectful. Move on and leave the person alone.
Asking someone out
If the person you’re interested in responds positively to your cues, you might want to ask them out on a date. You don’t have to be a man to ask someone out – women can do it too, so don’t be shy!
Before planning a date, find out what they like doing – maybe watching movies or sports games, going to museums, walking, or dancing. It’s a good idea to meet in a quiet place near where you live, somewhere you can relax and talk easily.
Remember, dates don’t have to be fancy or expensive. They can be simple, like meeting at a kibanda and then taking a walk in the park.
First dates are often a bit tense. Maybe you’re very nervous, or feel like you’ve got butterflies in your stomach. There could be awkward moments on your first date – when you think you’ve said something silly or when you just don’t know what else to say. Don’t worry too much: the key is to stay calm.
For more tips, read our first date do’s and don’ts.
Once you’ve realised that you both like spending time together, you can start thinking about another date. It doesn’t always have to be your responsibility to decide what to do – you can put the ball in their court too. Over the next few meetings, try finding out more about them, about their likes and dislikes, their past, and their dreams for the future.
Are you even more in love, or starting to worry that it won’t work out after all? Does a relationship seem realistic?
When to hold hands, kiss, and have sex
While you’re dating, you might want to hold hands, kiss, hug, or even have sex with your partner. There’s nothing wrong if you feel that way. If you’re not entirely sure what your partner wants, talking about it can help. You can be straightforward and ask, ‘can I kiss you?’ or ‘how would you feel if I held your hand?’
Having sex with your lover is a big decision. Take one step at a time. You might want to talk to your partner about it before you make a move. The most important thing is to know if they feel the same way and really want to go ahead with sex. Read more here about having sex for the first time. If your partner doesn’t want to have sex with you, respect their feelings. Their choice could be based on religious belief, or it could be for cultural reasons. Maybe they want to wait till they’re married, or maybe they simply don’t feel ready for sex.
Give them all the time and space they need to think about it and make up their mind. And then accept their decision, whatever it is.