The burdens and beauty of dating as a teen

February is teen dating violence awareness month. If one is in a relationship during this season of love, ensure that it is healthy and safe.

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The burdens and beauty of dating as a teen

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  The holiday of love is rapidly approaching and teenagers are confronting spending Valentine’s Day alongside someone special or by themselves. Dozens of roses’ wafting scent and Cupid’s volleys of arrows notably characterize the holiday, but unhealthy feelings often hide behind the glamour. Teens face a hurdle of obstacles throughout high school, but when dating enters the mix, it often evokes a plethora of troubles.

  When love is paraded and glorified on social media, students tend to view romantic relationships as a necessity in their life. Many often seek attention from others in efforts to fit in and feel desired. Too often, people mistake a 500 day streak on Snapchat as a romantic relationship with another person, and when confronting them in day-to-day life, no genuine conversation is exchanged. While there is nothing wrong with displaying affection for one another on social media, it should not be used to define or compare relationships.

  “With social media, a lot of people feel pressured to be in a relationship. Couples always post about each other on social media, and that makes a lot of people feel lonely. I think that many teens settle with people they don’t necessarily like, just to be in a relationship. I’ve seen others try to sabotage relationships just so they’re not the only ones that are single,” Kiara Araujo (11) said.

  Casual flings are seen as the new norm, and adding a label to a relationship often appears as a taboo. When students disagree with this attitude, they are often ridiculed and judged for not conforming. Committed relationships and choosing to say no to sexual engagements isn’t for everyone, but it shouldn’t be shamed. Society has become more progressive, and a new outlook has been imposed upon love and sexual relations. Although it’s important to have an open mind, this shouldn’t lead to the demise of acceptance towards abstinence and faithful couples.

  “I think that nowadays it is more widely accepted to have sexual relationships without the commitment part of it. There were a lot of rights movements that made “slut shaming” unacceptable, so I think that casual flings are becoming a norm. But with that said, it is not wrong to say no to sex, and it’s completely up to the person when and if they want to have sex. They shouldn’t be judged for saying no,” Emily Sotelo (9) said.

  High school relationships are often characterized as only being “puppy love,” but violence in relationships can occur at any age. Abuse can be mental or verbal, such as one person making fun of the other, putting them down or embarrassing them in front of others. Violence is often hard to recognize, and since many teens prioritize relationships, they dismiss toxic behavior. Abuse can happen to anyone—including men and women— but it is never the victim’s fault.

  “Twenty percent of high school students are reporting being abused by their dating partner,” said Wendy Fuller, senior prevention educator with the Family Sunshine Center.

     If one chooses to date as a teen, a healthy relationship is feasible, but don’t feel pressured to accept what society projects. It is vital for someone to identify their morals and value their comfort over conformity. Never tolerate someone’s violent behavior and dismiss it because being in a relationship is top priority. Social media has surely transformed the modern relationship, but go beyond what’s on the screen and look for deeper connections in real life. Students need to recognize their self-worth and realize that they are deserving of love and find the courage to set boundaries. If ever in compromising or dangerous situations, seek help and talk to a loved one or counselor. For more information on teen dating abuse, call 866‐331‐9474 or visit

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