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Don’t date; teens should wait

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Don’t date; teens should wait

Abbey Dissette, Feature Editor

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How many times have you been walking down the hallway and been blocked by couples either kissing or just standing there, forming a barrier between you and your next class? Dating in high school is a social norm, influenced heavily by the media; after all, romance is the main plot device of practically every cliché teen drama. While being in a relationship in high school is not the worst thing a teenager could do, it may not be the smartest decision.

Choosing not to be in a romantic relationship can contribute to becoming a happier individual; friendships are equally important and being single allows more time to develop close friendships. Teenagers have jobs, homework, and extracurriculars. Time is already spread thin, and trying to find time to devote for friends, families, and then a significant other as well can add to stress. Sometimes it is simply better to focus on creating close friendships that will outlast these four years in high school rather than put effort into a relationship that might not make it to the end of the year.

Not only does staying single throughout high school allow for stronger friendships, it also allows for one to learn to love themselves. Teenage years are a struggle, kids are finding out where they fit in the world and battling many emotions, some of which they struggle to express. Focusing on oneself allows individuals to develop their own interests before diving into the dating pool and serious relationships.

With serious relationships often comes a sexually active relationship which comes with risks, but besides the threats of STD’s and pregnancy, many teens do not understand the psychological effects sex can have on a relationship. According to The Heritage Foundation, those who have had sex are more likely to develop depression and two-thirds of those surveyed expressed regrets for having sex in their high school relationships.

Dating also comes with the uncomfortable question, are all high school relationships picture perfect? One in three adolescences have been either physically, sexually, or emotionally/verbally abused from a dating partner and over 1.5 million high school students have experienced physical abuse from a significant other, according to loveisrespect.org.

They also report only 33% of those in an abusive relationship ever alerted an adult. Perhaps they were manipulated into staying in the relationship or lacked the knowledge to get out when the red flags first appeared. Even those who may have alerted an adult may have been met with a barrier. The loveisrespect.org survey also found that 81% of parents believe teen dating abuse is not an issue or do not have enough knowledge on the topic to do anything.

Not all relationships have extreme consequences such as abuse or pregnancy, but all relationships do usually involve allowing oneself to be vulnerable to another individual. This act is especially difficult with teenagers being so unsure of themselves. If one does not have a strong sense of self when in high school, it can be easy to over share everything with their partner to gain validation. In doing so it can place an unnecessary amount of pressure on the relationship, causing it to burn out quickly.

Those who feel they are ready for a relationship know that there are two ways that relationship will end: breaking up or lasting forever. Rarely does one find themselves a high school sweetheart; instead high school relationships are ended with drama or awkwardly returning borrowed sweatshirts.

Breakups are uncomfortable and can drive even the most stable individuals to have apathy in many aspects of life, including school. Seeing one another around school or working together can be difficult and have consequences with performance. Most people know at least one individual who has gone through a breakup and struggled with school work or their extracurriculars.

However, not everyone reacts to a breakup by becoming apathetic. Some individuals look for a distraction, immersing themselves into school or work or sports. This preoccupation may seem as more of a positive coping mechanism, but it can be equally as harmful. These individuals are not allowing themselves to process the breakup and instead choose to overwhelm themselves another way.

Of course, not all teenagers are this drastic. There are always mutual breakups, no hard feelings and limited sadness. Still, it is rare to find someone that has remained friends with their ex-romantic partner. Additionally, ending a relationship with a significant other typically also includes ending friendships with the friends of the ex as well. Seeing one’s ex or even seeing one’s friends hanging out with their ex can be taxing on one’s emotional state.

Dating, while fun, is a lot to juggle and can be more stressful than helpful. Waiting until after high school to date is optimal. One can focus more on themselves and their friends and they avoid the awkwardness of seeing their ex in classes. Good things come to those who wait.

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Abbey Dissette, Feature Editor

This is my second year on the Fielder staff. I am looking forward to expressing my creativity as your feature editor this year. Besides journalism I am...

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Don’t date; teens should wait