Love is a crazy and scary thing. It can make us ecstatic in a moment and leave us heartbroken the next. Sometimes we hate that we’re in love, and sometimes it’s the best thing that ever happened to us. With all of its power, there’s no doubt that love is a complicated and potent aspect of any young person’s life. As such, it’s important to be mindful of how dangerous it can be, and how much it can really hurt us.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against falling in love at our age, and I’m not against relationships. Love can be a great thing! There’s nothing quite like it. It can make our lives fun and interesting, and relationships can be amazing and supportive and life-changing. Your partner can help you through hard times, or just brighten your day whenever you’re together. But there are some things we should try to keep in mind when dealing with love:
1. It’s not a bad thing to not be in love.
Sometimes it can feel like we’re the only single person in our school. Everyone is suddenly madly in love, and there you are without a hand to hold in the halls. It’s hard, but important, to remember at those times that you definitely do not NEED to be in love.
Being single doesn’t mean you’re unlikable, or unattractive, or even that no one feels that way about you. There are lots of great things about being single, and you should never feel guilty or lame about not having a partner.
2. Your partner isn’t necessarily “The One”
We’re young. It’s sometimes hard to remember that, but it’s important to be aware of. When we’re in love we feel sure that we’ll feel that way forever. We’re sure that the person we’re with is going to be the person we ride off into the sunset with – forever. Now, I’m not saying you’re wrong. There’s totally a chance you’ll fall in love and stay that way forever; your feelings are just as valid as someone who’s older. However, it’s equally important to remember that, especially at our age, you still have so much time to find that person (if you even want to). It can be hard to remember, especially in the aftermath of a breakup, but it’s true.
3. Your partner isn’t the only one that can feel that way about you
A lot of us aren’t super confident about our ability to get a partner. Maybe you think you’re Zac Efron and everyone will want you forever, and if so this section isn’t for you. But many people feel so lucky when they’re in a relationship and feel like the person that loves them then is the only person that’ll love them forever. This is just flat out not true. It can be hard to remember, but it can be really dangerous to forget. We sometimes don’t want to leave someone, or feel like we have to cling to that person, because they’re the only one that will ever love us.
Remember, the person who fell in love with you is not the only one who ever will.
4. You should never be completely dependent your partner
When you’re in a relationship, relying on each other is a beautiful aspect of being with someone. Supporting each other and helping each other is a great thing and I’m not doubting that. But you should still be your own person. There is a difference between partnering with someone and trusting them to do things for you (and vice versa) and being completely dependent on that person and get so invested that you can’t function without that person. You can’t spend a couple days apart, and even if they’re turning out to be abusive or mean, you can’t bring ourselves to leave them. Maybe our need drives us to even be unfair or abusive to them.
Remember, that while leaning on each other is OK, you should never need your partner to the point where you really can’t function normally without them.
I don’t know everything about love. And I definitely don’t know your specific situation. However, I think these general rules provide some useful guidelines for navigating the quagmire of young love. Love is an awesome thing, and these points aren’t meant to scare you away from it.
If you ever need support with relationship problems (and truly anything else!) you can always contact ConnecTeen.