Looking back, most of us should be jumping for joy knowing that we didn’t have to stay with the first love that walked into our young lives. Bad hair, bad manners, bad in bed. Ick! However, those in the throes of their first love get heartsick at the thought that they might not end up lifers with their high school sweetheart.
The Fault in our Stars writer and nerdfighter John Green was once quoted as saying you never feel as purely or as much as you do when you are a teenager. Why? As teens, we’re finally starting to come into ourselves as individuals and our hormones and thoughts are running wild. Your first love is passionate, intense, and hard to get over. Part of this reason is because we are loving something that is ours alone, and we are loving it intensely for the first time. [Read: 10 types of love you’ll experience in your life]
This can cause us to look back at a first love with rose-colored glasses, simply because those teenage years shaped our perceptions on what it means to love and be loved.
Why young love never lasts
Still holding on to the idea that your teenage love will be the one that will stand the test of time? Here are 6 compelling reasons why you shouldn’t rely on teenage love to last you a lifetime.
#1 Hormones, cheating, and high school drama. If you were to gather a group of 100 people, and ask how many had their first experience being cheating on in high school, nearly all of them would raise their hands. As “parental” as it sounds, as a teenager you have hormones coming out from every orifice, making your emotions and sexual control harder to handle than when you’re an adult. What’s more, that first sting of betrayal will stay with you and shape how you handle relationships in the future.
High school is also filled with teenage drama: sexual issues, fickle minds, friends liking your mate, jealousy, bullying, experimentation with drugs and alcohol, depression, lying, and partying. These things combined don’t make for a healthy environment for a romantic relationship. Likely by the end of high school, you’ll be over the drama and ready to move on to a grown up relationship.
#2 On-off relationships will tire you out. While it may seem like magic to get back together with your ex in high school, you’ll soon grow out of this phase and realize how tiresome it is to continually resuscitate a relationship that has already been broken a handful of times before.
Not only does this get annoying, it’s already incredibly unhealthy for your mental state, breeding trust issues and creating an eventual disinterest or distaste for your mate. Unfortunately, on-off relationships are practically born in the high school breeding ground. [Read: 10 reasons to avoid an on-off relationship]
#3 You change. We don’t stay teenagers forever, and with growth comes maturity. The way we change deeply effects our relationships with those around us, and because change happens so rapidly in our teen years, it tends to doom our chances with our high school mates.
Studies suggest that humans change notably every 3-7 years. With this change in place, is it really possible to grow together? The answer is yes, but it’s unlikely to play out this way in high school, as the changes you make from your teens to your 20’s are so drastic, you likely won’t recognize your emotional self.
#4 Your wants and needs mature. The more you’ve grown, the more you realize your high school boyfriend is kind of a jerk. Okay, maybe he isn’t, but the point is that people change, and who you are at the beginning, middle and end of high school will likely not reflect who you are now. With this emotional growth and experience in dating different girls or guys in your high school, you’re already starting to find out what you really want in a partner.
This is a healthy growing process, which will lead you to date more in the future. While it sounds shallow to say that staying with one person will stunt your maturity, in some ways it will. Dating different people allows you to see what qualities you need, and which ones you won’t put up with in the future. [Read: 16 signs you’re settling for your first love]
#5 College blues – the typical loss of your mate. Before packing your bags for a life of higher-education, you might be asking yourself: can I stay with my high school boyfriend or girlfriend in college? Do these relationships last? Does making your way off to college automatically spell out death for your high school relationship?
The romantic in me wants to say no, but the answer is that unfortunately in most cases, the answer is yes. Now, if you attend the same college or university as your beau, you’ll probably end up staying together longer. It will be a lovely growing experience for the both of you, as you’ll both be new to dorm-life and living away from home, and having someone you love in the same campus means you’ll have at least one guaranteed friend.
That being said, it won’t be long before you’ve both developed new friends and interests, a new dating pool full of interesting and diverse people, and suddenly realize how far apart you’ve actually grown.
If you don’t go to the same school, you’re in for an even more unpleasant experience, but a much easier breakup! Trouble’s a-brewing when you attempt a long distance relationship with your high school love post-graduation. Not only does the above information about growing apart still apply, but you must also throw in never getting to actually see your mate.
Long distance relationships are hard, even for the most seasoned daters. Sure, Skype calls are great, but they don’t make up for the intimacy you get from physically being with someone – especially at such an important and hormone-addled stage in your life. [Read: How to make a long distance relationship work]
#6 You develop different life goals. As we grow, we discover different wants and needs, not just from our partner, but from our life. Sure, we’ve seen enough rom-coms to know when we’re using a line on somebody: “It’s not you, it’s me. We’re just at different stages in our lives!” But this time, it’s actually true.
As you mature, you start to realize what you want from life. What happens when you want to be a doctor in Brazil, and she wants to be a lawyer, or settle down and start a family in Washington? Or worse, what happens when you want to be a doctor, and he wants to live in your hometown and work at the local 7-11? Yikes!
[Read: 10 steps to get over your first love with a happy memory]
It may sound harsh to say you won’t stay with your first love, and who knows, maybe you will be that one couple that stays together. But for the most part, don’t sweat it. You’ll continue to grow without them, discovering what type of person you want to be, and meeting challenging and fascinating people along the way.
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Waverly Smith is a freelance writer who has been getting paid for spreading her sarcastic take on love, life, and sex since 2010. She is many things that peo...
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