The dream of being high school or college sweethearts is common among young relationships. From many of our childhood movies and shows, these scenes are displayed as the ultimate goal within young adults. In such conversations, however, I feel like the danger of such devotion to romantic relationships and partners at a young age is not talked about.
As young adults, we are finding out how to navigate the world and grow into better versions of ourselves. When a priority and dependence is placed on a partner, it can distract from prioritizing yourself. When you are committed to a relationship without knowing your full worth, it can make you put up with a lot of unhealthy situations that you shouldn’t. Of course, the inability to set boundaries or get involved in unhealthy relationships is not to be fully blamed on you knowing your self-worth (at a young age or ever). But as we acknowledge that our frontal cortex (the decision making part of our brain) is not fully developed until the age of 25, age is emphasized as an important factor in committed relationships. Your very ability to make healthy and mature decisions is compromised.
Given this fact, a lot of people will settle in pursuit of seeking young love instead of healthy relationships. Perhaps because you had been together for a long time, there might be a pressure to remain with that partner. Even when you acknowledge that something is not right within the relationship, you may stick around to “change” that person. This ride or die mentality is extremely harmful, and often unproductive, especially for a young teen who barely knows themselves. And just in the same way you haven’t fully developed and found yourself, chances are neither has your “dream” partner. Though they will change, it would not be healthy for them to do so to your confined desires. Just as you do, your partner needs space to grow as well.
Often when devoting to young romantic relationships, some young adults forget the importance of space apart. It is crucial to establish other relationships too- bonding with family or hanging out with friends. Space apart will allow you to develop your own sense of self not tied to your relationship with a single person. It will allow a sense of independence that is sometimes necessary to speak up for yourself and create boundaries. Being around different people will also allow you to have fresh perspectives on your relationship. Your teenage years are all about making memories, so why not make them with as many loved ones as possible.
And when you take time, taking time by yourself is just as important as being with someone else. Learning your love language and being able to love yourself is necessary. Self-love should be a priority at this time in our lives, as we are growing up. Doing things that make you happy and fulfilled will give you the perfect comparison for when you are not. This will allow you to set boundaries and walk away from things that don’t feel good.
While I think committed relationships are fun and work for a lot of people, I also think being open minded is important. There really is no rush to find your forever spouse now. Being a tennager/young adult provides you with the perfect time to experiment. It gives you a chance to get to know a lot of people, figure out your boundaries. This journey gives you a perfect opportunity to learn more about yourself too. Throughout these experiments, it gives you the space to become yourself, in a healthy manner that might be compromised in the pursuit of seeking a highschool sweetheart.
While there have been many successful highschool and/or college sweethearts, that really doesn’t have to be a goal. It is just as beautiful a journey to experiment and allow yourself the freedom to do you. Perhaps, if they were the one after all, there would be a reunion.
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