It seems that for most people when they eventually forget every bit of information from a highschool math class, they still remember with perfect clarity their first high school relationship. High school relationships can be fun, exciting, and meaningful, but they also have the capability to create deep feelings of insecurity and sadness.
Amber Safir is a Berkeley High School sophomore. She, reflecting on her own high school dating experience and high school relationships in general shared what she believed are three major elements in such relationships. The first point being, “we are kids,” and due to this people have less experience than a lot of adults. This evidently can be detrimental to some aspects of effective communication and provide stress on the relationship. Second, “high schoolers tend to be notoriously busy.” This is true, while managing school, extracurriculars, family, and social lives it can be tremendously difficult to balance and still prioritize all these things. Lastly, Safir pointed out the negative effects that occur when a couple breaks up. Reinforcing this idea, an issue of the Behavioral Sciences Journal describes how, “Post-relationship concerns (including breakups) were also more likely than pre- or during-relationship concerns to be associated with concurrent mental health issues (36.8%), self-harm (22.6%) and suicide (9.9%).”
Teenagers may also feel pressure to be dating or engaging in sexual relations. “I think having the societal narrative, that it’s really impactful to have sexual relations actually ends up making it more possible for there to be all the pressure that we see, especially in like hookup culture nowadays, where people feel like they have to or should be having sex,” Safir brought up.
These implications are extremely relevant given that, as a research paper by the Pew Research Center describes, “Nearly one-in-seven teen daters (15%) say a current or former partner has pressured them, via the internet or text messaging, to engage in sexual activity they did not want to have.” This pressure being present in teenage relationships impact teenagers immensely throughout this period as well as throughout the rest of their lives.
Another factor that can play a role in affecting ones self worth is a person forming an unhealthy reliance on their partner for validation. Validation and confidence are things that some teenagers can have a difficult time with on their own, regardless of their being in a relationship.
Safir also explained what this idea of reliance could look like, “If I’m making them happy, that must be good in some way.”
Ultimately dating in highschool can be a beautiful and thrilling experience, but the potential negative emotions it can summon must also be recognized. Breakups, pressure to do sexual acts, and destruction of confidence can all be negative parts of a romantic relationships. Both the positive and negative aspects of romantic relationships must be validated so teenagers can be fully supported. There’s no rush to jump in.