To much dating as a teen
The stuff that makes the world go ’round, leaves us swooning, and creates that feeling of walking on air with butterflies in our bellies, barely able to catch our breath.Also the stuff that makes us want to pull our hair out, scream at the top of our lungs, and declare all-out emotional warfare.
To be clear, I am interested in how we develop and pursue the takes-my-breath-away, euphoric, romantic love that is so sought after. As children, we experience love in the form of unconditional care and affection from our parents.Romantic love is basically intimacy with the added bonus of sexual attraction and passionate commitment—the beautiful sexual icing on the delicious intimacy cake, if you will.Second, most researchers contend that, instead of anyone being replaced or made unimportant, as we get older and expand our social network, new targets of intimacy and affection are added to old ones. Not only does our concept and understanding of love shift from that which we feel for our parents, siblings, dogs, and so on to a richer and deeper feeling for another person outside our familial circle, but it also cumulatively adds to the concept of love that we began with. amazing, deep, fulfilling, complicated, exhausting...” You get the picture.It’s almost like practice for the real thing that is yet to come. But let’s think about this: when we contemplate teens dating at twelve, or perhaps even fourteen years of age, what we must realistically consider is what dating means at that age. Most often, dating during early adolescence involves exchanging contact information (i.e., giving cell phone numbers for texting, becoming friends or followers on social networking sites); engaging in harmless communication via text and SMSs; seeing each other at school; and maybe even holding hands as they walk through the halls, displaying their “couplehood” so that peer onlookers can eat their hearts out with envy. By the age of fifteen or sixteen, teens move toward qualitatively different and more meaningful romantic relationships; certainly, by the time they are seventeen or eighteen, they begin to think about their romantic relationships in a much deeper, more mature, and long-term way, with significant growth in both emotional and physical interests and commitment.And despite the fact that high school dating for today’s teenagers has little to do with long-term commitments and/or marriage, modern-day romantic relationships among teens are very common, with approximately one-fourth of twelve-year olds, one-half of fifteen-year olds, and more than two-thirds of eighteen-year olds reporting being in a romantic, dating relationship in the past eighteen months. teens begin dating around the age of thirteen, and by the age of sixteen more than 90 percent of teens have had at least one date.5 And finally, the average duration of romantic relationships in high school is about six months. These older adolescents tend to form more adult-like versions of romantic love and attachment, and stay in relationships that last over a year, on average.
In fact, love is such an important construct that researchers have studied it for years, investigating the different types, taxonomies, and styles, as well as how to keep it once you’ve finally found that elusive and magical potion.