The Windhoek Observer sent its intern reporters to Wernhil Mall in Windhoek’s CBD to get random views on appropriate age to begin dating.
“The heart wants what it wants” is a saying that is often quoted when illicit, challenging or controversial love connections happen. There is much truth in those words, when Cupid’s Arrow strikes, most people are unable to resist the pull regardless of the circumstances. However, while love may be blind, society is not. There are different beliefs about whether age is just a number when starting to date.
We asked random people in the mall about the right age to start dating or fall in love.
Helen Nampala, stated that there are many factors that go the decision to start dating. “I started dating at 14 and it was a disaster. The boys I dated were not mature enough to make rational and sound decisions on a consistent basis”.
“That said, gender and maturity level plays a huge part in dating. Perhaps 19 or 20 is a good age to start dating - wishful thinking right? But, I really feel at those ages, young people may have a bit more experience and more importantly, they're responsible for their actions.”
John Nelondo says, “The societal custom is restrictive and runs counter to instinct. When you hit puberty you feel the need to experiment and want to be sexually active. This is a natural, biological instinct and that, to me, is the signal that you are ready to date, mate and to procreate.”
Glenn Ganeb, says it’s up to each person to decide when to have a relationship and with whom to have that relationship with. “Age should not be the only factor that decides when you should and should not have a relationship. You need to understand who you are and prepare yourself. No one can ever say they are ‘ready’ for a relationship. People grow and change all the time. So, just seize the opportunity when it comes but make sure you take the necessary steps before you embed yourself too deeply.’’
Another person who asked not to be named, suggested that the best time to start dating is when you feel ready emotionally. “You do not have to rush it. When you start, it is a trial-and-error process to find a mate-match. To be honest, you might truly suck at dating and building relationships (at least, at first) but at least you learn after each experience; which is good. Unfortunately, there are no classes that teach you how to do this.”
Julia feels that when to date depends from person-to-person. “If you know you are emotionally mature enough to handle the emotional roller-coaster that dating brings, and then you’re old enough, she says. That can be 14 years-old, 16-years-old, or that can be 28-years-old. You should really wait to meet the perfect partner for you and then decide to romantically pursue them, rather than trying to hard out of desperation.”
Interestingly, an older person we approached (who preferred to be anonymous) thinks that many people these days, ‘hook-up’ for sex and don’t date at all any more. “I find that to be a mistake. I started having girls as friends when I was 11–15 but back then, it meant holding hands, hanging out and occasional friendly kissing.
“By 16, I had more serious girlfriends and more intimate contact, but no sex. I was raised to avoid sex until adulthood and that you had to be responsible for any results of your activities. I’d seen what irresponsible sex leads to and I had no real interest in screwing up my life to gain momentary gratification.” I have no regrets about how I dated back then, it was a lot of fun and I met a lot of great people, many of whom, 45 years later, I still know as friends.”