What do you think about when you hear the word love? People perceive love differently; some view love as something they wish to obtain while thinking of a specific person they have feelings for, while others only see love coming with pain and heartbreak. At some point in their lives, most teenagers have been in a relationship or experienced feelings for another person. Relationships are natural, exciting, and often times confusing; they are difficult by nature.
The average high school relationship lasts from a few months to two years. They are often temporary, and these is usually a very slim chance that the lovers will even be part of each other’s lives in the future. In fact, only two percent of new marriages in North America are comprised of “high school sweethearts.” However, some may argue that love, no matter how intense, can be found at any age, despite a person’s maturity.
LHS junior Aryana Khun shares her opinion on teenage love, saying, “it’s fumbling and could easily be mistaken, but I do think there is love. I believe that is what goes wrong when people assume that teens are merely too young to love that doesn’t necessarily seem true.”
Most high school relationships are focused on benefiting themselves; they are relationships of “I’ll do this for you if you do this for me”. Teenagers tend to not care about the person themselves and more about the benefits they can have with the person, such as if the person is rich, physically attractive, or good at playing a sport.
Teens are found to get into a relationship with another person if the person makes them feel good about themselves. That may be through sex, making the relationship strictly sexual, or they may use the person if that person has a high status or money. Some teens will even use a person to impress someone, such as a person they had previously dated. If someone only wants these things and more out of a person, they don’t truly want them, they want what the person has.
These types of relationships are built on conditions. They are inherently selfish, and most teens enter these types of relationships unconsciously.
“I do believe in love in youth.” says Khun, “The capabilities and skills in handling a relationship, however, are not always present in teenagers. That’s my opinion but teenagers surely love recklessly and I’m sure of that. The love may not always be mature love capable of lasting in the long term but the people I see feel they definitely feel it no matter how fleeting or long term it ends up being.”
If the relationship is conditional, it is not exactly a relationship at all. There was never an original connection between the two people, so once the relationship ends, they are left feeling even more lonely than before. Once the conditions are gone, the two fall apart because they most likely never saw the end coming so soon.
Conditional relationships cause teens to get attached to superficial objects and tolerate being treated poorly by their significant other. Over time, most come to recognize the need for an unconditional relationship, which is a relationship where each person is accepted for being themselves unconditionally and without expectations. They learn to judge their partner based solely on how he or she treats them.
An unconditional relationship involves people loving each other’s existence regardless of their flaws or weaknesses. When each person in the relationship respects and supports each other without any expectation of something in return from the other person, it is considered an unconditional relationship. Unconditional relationships revolve around acceptance and loving another despite the inconveniences.
Most people will advise someone to love themselves first before getting into a relationship. Some say that one is unable to love another without loving themselves first.
Khun explains, “I believe in self-love and the need to be alone with yourself. I wish to feel comfortable in my own skin before attempting a relationship. I’m happy being single at the moment, and I think it’s a good experience to ‘date yourself.’”
A first love comes once in a lifetime and can affect a person for the rest of their lives. Love increases vulnerability, and since students in high school are still maturing, a breakup or turndown can be emotionally damaging, adding to the drama involved in adolescence and at times taking away from education.
“The vulnerability sends me running but due to feelings, I suppose it’s not as easy as choosing whether or not you’re ready,” Khun says of being in a relationship.
Falling in “love” during high school could lead someone to develop trust issues and become more emotionally damaged from the relationship than someone older since high school students are still maturing.
Despite this, valuable lessons are learned through love. Once someone enters a relationship, they will understand what they look for in a partner. Teenagers are young and just discovering their identities, so love allows them to discover what they will want out of future relationships in life.
Everyone has their own opinion on love. One thing is for certain, however; a person who truly loves you will never let you go, no matter how challenging the situation is. They will continue to love you through the ups and downs of life.