My advice to my teenage daughter:
When it comes to a boyfriend, the emphasis should be on FRIEND. The girls at my daughter’s high school think of boyfriends as trophies, proof that a girl has been approved. (And the boys know they hold this power.) No. He needs to be someone you like, who has your well-being in mind, someone you can trust.
If he’s a jerk to other people, even if he’s nice to you, he’s still a jerk. (To paraphrase Dave Barry.)
Watch how he treats his mother. It shows how he will treat you and other women. He doesn’t always have to agree with her. But he has to respect her.
It’s OK if he’s older. I’m not saying you should get into a statutory-rape situation. But as boys mature, they become less likely to drink dangerously, to drive recklessly, to pressure a girlfriend to do something stupid, like have unprotected sex. In short, men, as opposed to boys, are less likely to be idiots. Plus, they’re often more assured and more experienced – both pluses.
You can’t fix him. If you meet someone troubled, by all means be kind if you can. But do not date him. You cannot fix him and he cannot be a decent boyfriend.
Try not to date a drunk, sure, but never, ever date a cheap bastard. Advice from my grandfather.
It’s best if he’s a little more in love than you are. Advice from every female relative in my family. Sound calculating? We’re just saying, protect yourself a little bit.
Finally, it’s OK not to have a boyfriend. You’d think every girl and woman would know this, but, sadly, some don’t. You are great all on your own, with nothing to prove.