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” Catherine: “OK.” The two Toronto-area teens have been going out since last April, although rarely on their own.In their group of eight friends, the four boys and four girls are paired off into couples, but prefer to spend their time all together, sitting around and talking at one another’s houses, grabbing something to eat, going to a movie. “We just feel better when we’re together,” Catherine explains.
“I think that’s just ridiculous,” says Charles, who doesn’t feel ready for that kind of intimacy with girls.Having supportive friends around can exert a powerful moderating influence.But by the same token, a tough, aggressive peer group can have a negative influence, such as tolerating dating violence.“At this age we’re always fighting with our parents, so we need to feel we’re loved.” She’s quick to add that while she and her boyfriend love each other, they’re not . ” This is the new world of teen dating, and it can be almost unrecognizable to many parents.Long gone is the tradition where a boy phones a girl on Tuesday to ask her out for Saturday, picks her up at her house, meets the parents, pays for dinner and a show, and sees her home.