The Validity of Teen Relationships

“Don’t be so dramatic.”
I’m not trying to be, but my heart literally feels like it’s breaking.
“There are plenty of fish in the sea.”
Thanks for the cheesy analogy but I really only wanted the fish I had.
“Come on, you should be over them by now.”
It’s been two days.

Many parents and adults alike find teenage relationships to be meaningless and lack reason to be respected.

Like most things teenagers do or find interest in.

However, even though teenage relationships are different than adult ones, it doesn’t make them any less valid or important; and the breakups that go along with them are also just as difficult as those of adults. Teenage relationships, both successful and unsuccessful, deserve more recognition and respect from today’s society.

Teen relationships without a doubt have a much different and less complicated dynamic than adults, but this doesn’t make them any less important to acknowledge. While most adults are dating to potentially find a lifelong partner, teenagers simply date for pleasure. They don’t worry about if they share the same ideas about raising children or how often they go to church, the relationship is based purely on physical and emotional attraction…which is completely okay. The eagerness to start dating, even if it doesn’t last long or hold much intensity, is caused by the average age of puberty dropping. This leads to an earlier chemical anxiousness for their first intimate experience. Sure, dating wasn’t always like this, but it’s evolved to make sense for this day and age. The young people during World War II would often get married straight out of high school to start their lives in the workforce. But “education has become prolonged, so marriage is later” (Kalish). Teenagers in high school today still have their whole lives ahead of them. So why pressure them to be more serious while they still have so much to learn? Teenage dating for pleasure is simply a declaration of independence and maturity, which is a healthy response to the stressors of growing up.

Even though teenage relationships sometimes lack the complication of adults, they still the have potential to be serious and hold emotional bonds through the years. In a “recent survey of 1,600 people (who had never tried a reunion with a lost love), ages 18 to 92… 25% said they would [go back to their first love]” (Kalish). This shows that teenage relationships really can foster lifetime connection and deserves the validity that adult dating has.
Another reason teen relationships should be taken seriously is because if they are swept aside, it could lead to some serious consequences. After a breakup, teenagers could become overwhelmed with regrets and grief, which could lead to suicidal thoughts. And if they are belittled instead of properly supported during this time, they could feel inclined to act on those dark thoughts. In fact, “research shows that breakups are the leading cause of psychological distress and a major cause of suicide among young people” (Conversation). Even if they seem shallow compared to the complexity of adult love, these relationships mean a lot to the people in it. So when these relationships end, the people deserve the time and respect that anyone else would get during a tough time.

Some may believe that teen love is too short-lived, inconsistent, or unhealthy to be considered important. But honestly, adults go through relationships like these too. Young and old, the people you meet and choose to commit to, all teach you valuable life lessons. Especially for teenagers, these first flings teach communication skills, maturity, compromise/selflessness, and practice in facilitating future relationships, which are all important tools to have.

Even though teen relationships may seem trivial or inconsistent, some people build strong bonds that last through adulthood. And for those that don’t, the experience teaches valuable life lessons and is simply a part of growing up and gaining independence. Everyone should learn to understand and respect the dynamics of teen relationships, especially because if you don’t take them seriously when they end, it could result in serious consequences. At this point, it’s clear that teen dating is important and the negative connotation behind it needs to end, starting with you.