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Love is not always great for teenagers

Published: Friday, October 11, 2013 at 3:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, October 9, 2013 at 11:18 a.m.

Imagine this: the movie, rated best romantic comedy of the year, winds to its climax. The heroine and her prince have been brought to some symbolic place by fate. The pair, perhaps having exchanged heartfelt dialogue, share a kiss that would cause any nun to break into soft sobs, and the millions of teenage girls watching on the edges of their couches burst into wild cheering and contented sighs. The girls with boyfriends will feel solidified in their romantic place, and their single peers will wish for something they feel they lack. Thus, romance is seen to control major parts of the lives of today’s youth, in both good and bad ways.

Starting off on a good foot, romance in a teen’s life can improve one’s mood. The knowledge that one is special and loved by another is a powerful, sought after feeling. For many teens, and girls in particular, the acceptance of society is crucial. To be put on a pedestal by someone of his or her own age can cause a teen’s self-esteem to improve dramatically. Relationships can provide stability in a teen’s life, and the significant other will become an extension of one’s self. Yet there is another extension: the single friend.

There are several situations that one should hope to never be caught in, and being a third wheel is most certainly in this category. No experts necessary; a friend’s relationship is a breeding ground for jealousy. A single teen may not feel an overwhelming envy, but they will still wish for a relationship of their own. Therein lies the torturous hand dealt by love, the way in which it finds the best place to hit someone. Seeing one’s friends in a relationship can make a teen feel happy for their friends, but lonely for themselves. What if they are the only single person left? What if they can’t ever find someone? These questions can paralyze a teen in a state of gloom and low self-esteem.

I don’t mean to generalize the entire psyche of teendom. There are probably teens out there with perfect lives without a partner, or teens that wish they could escape a relationship. There are relationships that can wreck a person emotionally, mentally, and even physically. But for the general population, the idea of a high school relationship is either an automatic part of adolescence, or it is an unnecessary burden. Someone could simply believe that love will always be perfect, or they could think that love is a waste of time and energy. Love is hard for a single girl, especially. Watching her friends happy and in love could cause her to start comparing herself to everyone she sees. She may begin to believe that she is inadequate because she does not have a significant other.

By now, the reader is surely thinking, so what? Well, this is what; love isn’t all it’s cracked up to be in high school. Media and romantic ideals have given this illusion that relationships are easy. They lied. Sorry, but that is the way it is. Love is not always great, especially if one gets left out. The lonely best friend, left out of her own love, gets to play the third wheel for her friends. Third wheels get left spinning in the dust of the couples.

Relationships can also adversely affect the people in love. Couples can easily slip so far into their own little world that they do not care about anything else. Friendships fade, school suffers, and parents are pushed away. If and when the relationship ends, one may feel as though they have nothing left. Love is not worth the stress it causes teens. Teenagers should wait for a semblance of stability in their lives and hormones, and then find someone. Adolescent years are a development point in the human mind, a mechanism that can jam very easily. Adding teenage relationships to these years is throwing a proverbial wrench in the works. Love stories in high school are all too often nothing but fairy tales with unhappy endings.

(Kelly Galten is a student at Petaluma High School. She plans to attend college and major in journalism with a minor and English and creative writing. She has a strong interest in rowing. “Crew is 50 percent of my life; the other half is writing,” she says.)

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