Where Do You Stand on High School Relationships?
Originally Published: August 21, 2019
Revised: August 21, 2019
Everyone has a different introduction to dating. I remember people “dating” in fifth grade with hand-holding and parent-supervised dates galore. I also know others that only started to think about dating after they entered high school or college, and some people are just not into dating at all. Personally, after starting high school and being disappointed by my first kiss, I swore off boys and relationships in the hope that I would dedicate that time and energy toward schoolwork and other activities. To my surprise, by the end of freshman year, I found myself struggling to come up with a way to ask a cute girl out. Even though I wasn’t actively seeking a romantic relationship, my heart decided otherwise, and I fell in love with my best friend.
To learn more about others’ experiences and thoughts on dating in high school, I asked teens for their opinions. From those who are in favor to those who choose not to date in high school (to teens somewhere in between), there is a range. Read on and see how teens decide how to tackle high school relationships—or if they want one at all.
If you’re not heterosexual and/or cisgender, dating can be a completely different ball game.
Many people are all for high school relationships. Henry, 19, of Rochester, NY, says, “I think high school can be a good time to start experimenting and getting your feet wet with what it’s like to be in a relationship, before you go to college or become more independent.” Many feel that high school relationships give them insight. Taylor, 18, of Washington, DC, says, “[Each partner I had] taught me something and allowed me to find pieces of myself. I became a better person from knowing them and having important and challenging experiences with them…I wouldn’t have been ready to enter college without having either of those relationships under my belt.” Because of dating in high school, both Henry and Taylor discovered “how” to be in a relationship. They learned more about who they are and believe that having those relationships made them better suited for college and the “real world.”
Some high schoolers are more in the middle; they’d be happy if a relationship happens but wouldn’t be disappointed if it doesn’t. Mikayla, 16, of East Hanover, NJ, jokes, “I’m like Pocahontas following the colors of the wind. If the wind takes me to a relationship, cool. If it doesn’t, eh. I don’t care either way.”
Others believe that there are more important things to focus on. Alexandra, 17, of Atlanta, shares, “I have this poster in my room that says ‘You can’t love other people until you love yourself.’ I guess a relationship would be O.K., but I gotta focus on the most important relationship in my life: me, myself and I!” While you’re in high school, you’re at the start of figuring out who you are and you might not feel prepared to be with someone else.
Choosing to Wait
Then again, a person might choose not to date at all in high school. Jacob, 19, of Baton Rouge, LA, explains why he never pursued a relationship: “One, there weren’t really any other ‘out’ gay guys in my high school.” If you’re not heterosexual and/or cisgender, dating can be a completely different ball game. You might want to have an idea how the person you’re interested in might identify in terms of sexual orientation. If you’re out and the person you’re crushing on isn’t, it’s helpful to know that when you approach them. They may not be able to openly reciprocate or may be afraid of being unintentionally outed.
Jacob adds, “I would not have had time for a relationship, as I was always working on something: swim team, work, choir, more work, my organizations and even more work!” Examples like Jacob’s are more likely than you think. Teens are busy and get wrapped up in their activities and events.
Jacob had some other advice that hit the nail on the head: “Always follow your heart.” I never saw myself dating in high school, yet I’m currently a senior and have had a steady relationship for two years. I wasn’t strongly in favor of or opposed to dating; I just figured whatever happens will happen. Whether you have a relationship, want a relationship or decide that dating isn’t for you, trust your judgment.
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