According to Stage of Life, 92% of teens hope to get married sometime throughout their lives. Although almost all teens want to spend their life with their partner, 60% of teens view teenage relationships negatively. I began to wonder why teens would want a relationship in high school.
Lauren Nann, junior, and Carlos Reyes, junior, have been dating for almost three and a half years. Their relationship began as a friendship. “[Carlos and I] have been friends longer than we’ve been dating,” Nann said.
She described to me what she and Reyes enjoy doing together. “We really don’t do much: We sit around and watch Netflix and maybe get something to eat.” Nann still thinks, “It’s really cool we can just do that because [we are] so comfortable around each other.”
“Overall I do think [romantic] relationships are really beneficial in high school as long as both partners are willing to maintain it,” Nann stated.
Yet TV shows, movies and the media deem high school relationships as unimportant. The endless drama seen on TV make high school relationships seem immature. After talking to Nann and evaluating my personal experience, it is clear that high school relationships do teach lessons. “[Carlos and I] don’t always see things the same, but he always offers me a new way to look at things,” Nann explained. It is really important during these four developmental years of high school to learn how others think and take steps to work through problems.
When asked what would be lost if the relationship ended, Nann answered, “My best friend. It would be so hard to lose that support system.”
After eight months, Alex Shearer, junior, answered similarly to Nann about he and his girlfriend Maddy Leen, sophomore. “I would be losing one of the best things in my life [if we broke up]. We experience things together that I couldn’t with only my guy friends,” Shearer said.
Now I ask the question, will a high schooler learn lessons, gain perspective and have support without the help of a significant other? I sought out a female and a male Leesville student who are single by choice, meaning they aren’t looking for a partner at the moment.
“I like being single because I don’t have to constantly keep up with someone and I have more time for myself,” Tess Coward, sophomore, said. Coward’s last relationship ended because she wanted more time with her friends. “I learned a lot from being in a relationship about myself and communicating with others, but [a relationship] is not what I need right now,” Coward explained.
Dillon Cooper, senior, thought about playing baseball in college during his junior year. Cooper did not have the time to exclusively date anyone while also being looked at by coaches. “I can’t have a girlfriend during baseball season because baseball needs to be my main focus. Having a girlfriend definitely costs a guy money and keeps [boys] away from [their] friends,” Cooper said.
Learning to give and take, compromise and support others are important in any type of relationship. Even if high school sweethearts don’t end up marrying, all of the lessons learned and “firsts” experienced will remain. I conclude that having a boyfriend/girlfriend in high school is beneficial if both sides make the other a better person. High school is a stressful time of life, the key is finding someone who can ease the stress rather than add to it.