By Christine Murray, See the Triumph Co-Founder
Dating relationships during the teen years can be really intense for many reasons. It’s normal for teen dating relationships to be filled with a lot of ups and downs, and even the definition of “dating” today among teens can be hard to pinpoint. Technology and social media have added to the intensity of dating relationships among teens today, especially because they make it easier than ever for teens to stay in constant communication with each other.
I would guess that if you asked most adults, they could tell you stories of at least one person they dated--or wanted to date--during their teen years that they thought was “the one” for them, but who ultimately turned out not to be the right person for them, or the relationship didn’t work out for other reasons, such as moving away to college or other changes in life.
As an adult, I can tell you that it’s very, very rare for dating relationships that start during the teen years to turn into lifelong romances. I’ve probably met thousands of people in my life as an adult, and I can think of only a few who ended up marrying or being in a lifelong relationship with their “high school sweethearts.” Of course, it’s very romantic when that does turn out happily, but I would guess that if you’re a teenager reading this now, if you could fast-forward your life 20 years, you’d find that very few people you’ll know, too, would be together with the same person they like or are dating right now.
So, if teen dating relationships rarely last, what’s the point in having them? I suppose someone could make the argument that it’s a good idea to skip dating and relationships altogether during the teen years and just wait until there’s a better likelihood of a relationship working out. And, of course, you don’t want to go into any relationship expecting the worst and doubting that it will last. Even going into a dating relationship that might not last, it’s important to keep an open mind and have a positive view of the future of the relationship, especially a healthy one.
Dating relationships during the teen years can provide teenagers with a lot of valuable learning experiences about relationships, as well as about themselves. But, it’s important to be smart about dating as a teenager (and at any age, really!). Five suggestions for dating safely and smartly as a teenager are:
Overall, it’s important to trust your own intuition first when it comes to making decisions that impact your happiness, safety, and future. If you’re a teenager who is dating, make a commitment to seeking a relationship that is safe, positive, and provides opportunities for you to grow as a person. Appreciate the lessons that relationships can provide--even the ones that don’t work out.
To sum this all up, our final message during this fourth week of our focus on #safedating4teens is this: Remember that dating relationships are a time for learning and growing.