love is such a complex topic. there are many types and variations whether it be heterosexual love, homosexual, or anything in between. at a young age, humans start to feel love. whether it is towards their toys, parents, or their dog it is a feeling, and a legitimate one at that. people love to spend time demeaning love if it doesn’t fit their exact mold of what it should look like. depending on the person and their interests, some people start “dating” at 11, 16, 18, while others feel more comfortable waiting until 22. no one can tell someone that their love isn’t real, if they aren’t involved.
young love is a topic that is criticized by many. i don’t know how many times i have opened my facebook after posting a picture with my boyfriend and watching adults that i see (maybe) once a year at most, comment on my status telling me i am “too young to feel ‘real’ love” or that “my high school sweetheart will be long gone in 10 years.” but who are these people to determine the definition of “love”? google defines love as “a variety of different emotional and mental states, typically strongly and positively experienced, that ranges from deepest interpersonal affection to simple pleasure.” notice in this statement there is no age range or restriction on who is allowed to feel this emotion. i believe young people are just as capable of loving as at 34 year old middle aged woman.
relationships at any age take a lot of work. it takes effort, passion, respect, and lots of understanding. because of this topic being so beaten down in this day and age, i came up with a few tips for people who are striving to make their love last forever.
- let each other grow and change.
making love last from adolescence to adulthood requires a healthy sense of letting each other grow as individuals. the teenage brain is “still under construction.” research shows that the brain is not finished developing in most people until their mid twenties. it is vital that you respect your partner’s evolution and likewise let the relationship change and grow as well.
2. try to learn as much about them as you can
get familiar with each other’s worlds. know what part of your partner’s past has shaped them to be how they are today. you should be able to “get” each other in a deep and informed way, even though some things may be hard to understand at times. couples who get together young will share more formative experiences than average couples, so they will be more educated on major and minor details that make the person do what they do. it will also provide a rich grounding for your life together. but, on the flip side, the fact that you have known each other so long can make you both complacent. seeking to learn more about each other at every stage of your life together will help your bond stay strong.
3. learn how to make decisions together
over the course of long relationships, you will make many joint decisions. this can be good, but it can also lead to conflict. learn how to make decisions that are healthy for both involved by setting a goal, staying on topic, and being open to compromise.
4. do small, caring things daily
when we’re little we have this vision of love that every day you should be swept off of your feet and be treated to gifts. while this is not realistic, making small, caring demonstrations is. display kindness, be there for your partner in hard times, show respect, do thoughtful things. a big, planned out gesture is good every once in a while, but it’s the little things that make the difference in everyday life.
with all this said, young love CAN and DOES last. there may be cases where people move away or outgrow each other, but if your goal is to spend the rest of your life together, you can make it happen. don’t let people tell you who you love or how you love is wrong. this is your life, and after all, LOVE IS LOVE.