We all know the story. You’re crazy about this boy who doesn’t even know you exist. You tell your friends about him. He’s the thought keeping you awake at night. He’s the reason you even want to drag yourself out of bed and be at your best mood at school.
These feelings are nice, and perfectly normal for kids in their teenage years. But take it from me that you do not want it to turn into a steady relationship. Not at this age.
Why? Teenage years is the year of impulses, of late-night outings, getting drunk and trusting your best friend to get you home safely. It’s that time in your life where you realize you’re never gonna be any younger to do all these things you weren’t allowed to do as a kid and won’t be able to do as an adult. These are all sound arguments, but what I’m saying is that being a teenager is so much more than just that. It’s that time in your life when you try to discover who you are.
When you enter that voyage of finding out just who you really are and how you fit into this gigantic puzzle that is life, you need to be able to define yourself not as so-and-so’s girlfriend, or so-and-so’s best friend, but you yourself. Yes, only you. You need to know how to be you alone, without being defined by who you are to the people around you. This is the very heart of self-discovery.
What does it have to do with dating? This is where it gets tricky. At sixteen, you either feel like you’ll live forever or that you’ll die alone miserably. I’m a teenager myself, so believe me, I know what it feels like to be an adolescent now, at this day and age, which can be very different from how it was maybe twenty years ago.
When you have someone you can refer to as a boyfriend or a girlfriend, your mind will be wired unconsciously to seek validation of who you are in that person. Your life becomes focused on him instead of yourself. He becomes the person who tells you who you are. Soon or late you break up and only then do you realize that you’ve been spending the last few months of your life revolving around this other person when you should really be focused on discovering yourself.
And then there’s the case of the heartbreak. Deny as you might, most relationships that start during high school probably don’t end up in marriage, am I right? No, they mostly end in breakups, and then crying your eyes out all night and binge-eating on four gallons of Ben & Jerry’s and staying on the couch all day long for a Pretty Little Liars marathon and pointing your finger around because you don’t know who to blame for the doom of your relationship. And then just like that, your view of a steady relationship is destroyed and you make a vow not to get married when you’re an adult because relationships are messy and everyone gets hurt in the end. This is the kind of thought you have at the break of a relationship when you’re a teenager, because instead of focusing on how you should develop your own self, you become so invested in someone else’s life and how to make them better instead.
I’m not advocating against these young loves, really. I need to stress that point. There is a certain beauty about it as well. It’s taking a chance at being fearless, it’s believing in something. I’d be lying if I said these butterflies you get in your stomach are a warning for your impending doom, and you should not ever fall in love because everything that falls gets broken, because this is not true. They are part of what makes being a teenager probably the most exciting thing that’s ever gonna happen to you.
I truly believe that one needs to know themselves before they can try to know others. So before you get into a relationship, fellow teenagers, ask yourself if you are ready, and if the other person is ready. Because at sixteen, most of the time you are not. So take my word for it, or don’t, if you insist. If you believe in the art of trying, then that’s wonderful, go for it, give it your all. But when things don’t turn out the way you thought they would, have the courage not to let despair take you down, because there will be another day. There is always another chance to fall in love again.