Picture yourself as a teenage girl (if you aren’t one already) dating the guy of your dreams. Just yesterday, you were declaring your love for each other on long-winded Instagram DMs, but now, after a party where you may or may not have gotten a little too close to your totally platonic friend, you’re seconds away from breaking up. Alas, therein lies the inherent volatility of a high school relationship. While it’s perfectly fine to explore romantic relationships in high school, believing that most of these will last is naive.
A paper from the Handbook of Adolescent Psychology claims that the average adolescent romantic relationship lasts around six months, give or take a few depending on the age of both participants. Of course, there are exceptions — I know a couple that lasted a mere two days before calling it quits, while, conversely, another has lasted nearly two years — but the general trend remains: most high schoolers are not mature enough nor ready for a genuinely serious relationship.
This is mainly because couples in our age group do not have to contend with the serious struggles adult couples must face such as blending finances, being away from each other due to work or school for long periods of time, conflicting familial traditions, cohabitation and much more. High school provides a designated time and place for meeting every day, as well as parents or guardians to fund their child’s basic needs, whereas life outside of school does not give such stability.
The CDC reports that 17% of couples who married in their early 20s are divorced within a mere five years. The same paper further asserts that women “[who] delay first marriage to older ages… are ultimately more likely to become married and to stay married,” a trend especially seen among women with higher education or economic status.
People change so much between high school, college and adulthood as they grow into themselves and discover what to do with their lives. While two people may grow in the same direction, chances are that the person you are in high school will not be the same as in college or beyond, and that’s okay. Breaking up does not equate to a failure, it simply means that the couple was not compatible but can now grow from that experience separately.
At the end of the day, dating in high school isn’t a problem. As long as you let the relationship go on whatever course it will most naturally take, whether that be breaking up or staying together, it will all work out in the end.