We all want that special someone in our lives. Whether that someone is a male or female, society associates dating with happiness. We often see this in movies and books like “Gone with the Wind” or “Titanic” or “50 Shades of”… nevermind. In society we portray physical and verbal acts of affection as the ultimate goal to feeling “complete,” but how does this affect teens?
Let’s examine why teens may feel the need to be in a relationship. It’s always been funny to me when people say things like “OMG I’m going to be single FOREVER!” when they are still freshmen in high school. The idea of love and physical affection is essentially a social construct that has been developed throughout history. According to Quartz.com, “Love is a hugely messy concept, and it incorporates both a biological side and a socially constructed side. The biological element refers to the physical behavior (the fluctuating hormones and shifts in brain activity) of those who are in love, and is a reflection of our evolutionary need for such ties. But it’s the social script that shapes our norms and expectations of romance, such as the contemporary belief that true love will be permanent and monogamous.” By absolutely no means am I saying don’t go into a relationship; what I am saying is that teens may feel pressured or have low esteem about popular norms like being in a relationship, and that is absolutely not necessary for happiness. We all want to have our hand held and be told that we are loved but sometimes relationships can be unhealthy.
What are some of the impacts and negative effects of teen dating? The pressures of being in a relationship can cause bad decision making due to inexperience. According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, “26% of women and 15% of men who were victims of contact sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime first experienced these or other forms of violence by that partner before age 18.” Unfortunately this is true and unless teens start being more properly educated in school and home, unhealthy teen dating will only get worse. If you or anyone you know might be in a unhealthy relationship, visit this website for resources and hotlines https://thatsnotcool.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Teen-Dating-Abuse-Resource-List.pdf
Teens shouldn’t feel the need to be in a relationship they don’t want or feel uncomfortable because of the pressures that society and media portray. It is important for teens to understand that happiness only lies in ourselves and being best version we can be. If you are in high school or middle school, be aware that this is the part of your life to have fun and live life and if you want a relationship, then that’s great…but do what makes YOU happy… not your friends or social media but YOU.