The concept of a first love or a high school sweetheart have persisted for many years in popular culture. We associate it with a time of innocence and pure love, a period in our lives to help us grow, even if it inevitably ends. My editor, Ella Gohari recently published an article asserting that as high schoolers, we should not expect our romantic relationships to last into adulthood.
While she is correct that it is naive to believe that these relationships persist into adulthood, she seems to suggest that because of this fact, there is not much reason to strive for one anyways. However, as someone in a two-year long relationship, I must say that it has truly been worth it, even if we don’t stay together after we graduate.
Even if most high school relationships will eventually end, it doesn’t mean that the pursuit of a relationship is meaningless. One advantage of serious teenage relationships is that they can help you mature. Relationships require communication, empathy and compromise, all of which are essential skills that can help you navigate the challenges of adulthood. According to a study published in the Journal of Adolescence, teenagers in serious relationships are more likely to develop positive self-identities and achieve a sense of personal growth.
In addition to helping teenagers develop, serious teenage relationships can also provide companionship during hard times. During adolescence, many teenagers experience significant changes and emotional periods in their lives, such as dealing with the pressures of college applications, or making and losing friends. Having a supportive partner can make these transitions easier to handle. According to a study published in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence, teenagers in serious relationships reported higher levels of social support and emotional well-being than those who were not in relationships.
Finally, serious teenage relationships can teach teenagers valuable lessons for future relationships. By experiencing the highs and lows of a relationship during adolescence, teenagers can learn important skills, such as how to communicate effectively, how to resolve conflicts and how to navigate issues related to intimacy. According to a study conducted by the University of Minnesota, teenagers who were in serious relationships during high school were more likely to have healthy and stable relationships in adulthood.
Personally, I know that even if my current relationship ends someday, it will have been worth it. Even if a high school relationship eventually ends, it will likely be an overall positive experience that is worth pursuing.