Sometimes Love Can Be Hard
by Teresia Smith
Teenage romantic relationships are, in a sense, a training ground for adult relationships, providing an opportunity for learning to manage strong emotions, to negotiate conflict, to communicate needs and to respond to other’s needs. Falling in love can be tricky, dealing with all the emotions involved. Nevertheless, through their romantic relationships, adolescents have the potential for a lot of growth as they learn about themselves and other people, gain experience in how to manage their feelings and develop the skills needed for healthy relationships.
Recently, I asked a young lady to share her thoughts on teen romance and relationships. Here is what she shared:
“Sometimes love can be hard. You find the right person at the wrong time, you find the wrong person at the right time, or maybe you can’t find anyone that suits you at that time. Love can be especially hard in high school.
My few years of being in high school, I see girls and even the guys just getting together with the first person that gives them the slightest bit of attention. Seeing this repeated over and over helps me to understand that love is something way greater than that. Love should be where you find interest in the little things the other person likes, having each other’s back when something goes wrong, and not letting things around us distract us or make us turn away from each other. Love is where you do small gestures for someone you care about and you can tell them the truth with them knowing you meant well. One thing a lot of people don’t realize when they are with someone is that when you look at the person you are dating, you should see their beauty, not just on the outside, but the inside as well. If there’s not a real connection between you, you shouldn’t stay with them. Life changes quickly so that story could be different in the future as you both grow. They may be the right person but maybe it isn’t the right time.
Communication is one of the main things needed to keep love and a relationship with someone together. Talking about where you see yourself in the future and what your dreams are can help you get more connected with the person you love. Having a close connection with someone can be amazing and you could possibly have that for life. Not having that with a person can also be good. You don’t have to have someone in your life to make you feel special. Love comes in many different forms, not just from a significant other. Love comes from relationships with family and friends, from coworkers, people at church and even from strangers. When you get to know someone really well and have that special connection with them, you can understand that love is not just a word to be thrown around.”
Parents exhibiting a respectful relationship can set a positive example for young people to aim for in their own connections. With age and maturity come more realistic expectations and stronger abilities to choose a good partner, communicate well within a relationship and recover from relationship break ups. It has been said that time heals and experience teaches. Having positive people in their life to talk to and learn from, teens can develop a better understanding of dating relationships and learn to cope with their ups and downs. Healthy family conversations that normalize teen romances and teen break ups, can also help manage expectations. Adolescent romantic relationships – with all their ups and downs – have the capacity to be growth-promoting, confidence-boosting and healthy experiences that teach young people about give and take. And while we cannot shelter the teens in our care from all the hurts and disappointments that life throws our way, there are protective factors that limit the likelihood of serious harm from toxic partnerships or distressing break-ups. Watchful, kindly and respectful parenting and strong friendship networks can all play their part in helping adolescents enjoy their romantic adventures and learn from them.
Crisis Services of North Alabama offers free and confidential services to victims of sexual assault and intimate partner violence. If you feel your teen may be in an abusive relationship, or if you are a teen and need help navigating a relationship, you can call our Jackson County office at 256.574.5826 for an appointment. You are not alone.