11 Serious Lessons I've Learned From Being In A Relationship As A Teenager

11 Serious Lessons I've Learned From Being In A Relationship As A Teenager

Being a kid in love can be tough, but it's worth it.

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There are very few couples who start as teenagers that actually make it. The younger generations are growing up more reliant on their cell phones than on forming meaningful connections with other people. Teenagers and young adults my age show patterns of immaturity, impulsiveness, and disrespect for each other. When you find a good one, you hang on to them in this day and age.

I've been in my current relationship for 2 years, 3 months, 2 weeks, and 2 days (but who's counting?) and this is what I've learned so far. It's worth mentioning I'm not a relationship expert and we're still learning ourselves. These are just things I've reflected on that I think are important to a successful young relationship.

1. How to forgive 

When you start dating someone at a young age, you're both going to make mistakes. If you want things to work and truly care about each other, you'll have to learn to forgive and move on. A lot of teenagers would rather throw the whole relationship away than work through everything, so forgiveness is key to building a relationship together when you're both bound to mess up along the way.

2. Patience 

No two people of any age will ever come into a relationship 100% compatible with each other. When you start dating as teenagers or young twenty-somethings, not only do you have to learn each other, but you have to learn what a healthy relationship is in general. It takes patience with each other to form a relationship that is enjoyable for you both. Along with that, both of you are going to grow and change throughout the relationship when you start dating as kids. You'll need to be patient with each other as you both start to find your way through adulthood.

3. How to love unconditionally 

When you start a relationship young, neither of you has fully developed into the person you're meant to be yet. Your significant other will come with their flaws and quirks, and they'll pick up more throughout your life journey together. You'll learn to love them unconditionally, through all of the change and growth you'll both experience.

4. How to compromise

At least in my case, my boyfriend (hi, Drew!) and I were at pretty different stages of life when we started dating. We were both busy with completely different lives and wanted to spend time doing different things. It's good to learn how to work through your busy lives together at a young age, because once you get into the real world, you'll already be old pros at compromising. Whether it's something as little as deciding what to do together in your limited free time, or something as major as working on communication issues, learning to be understanding and willing to meet in the middle comes easier when you start out in a relationship early in your life.

5. It's okay not to be perfect for each other 

No one is perfect and no couple is perfect. You're going to bump heads and have your differences with any person you date at any stage in your life, but the advantage of dating while you're still kids is you have the opportunity to grow up together. Even though we may not have been perfect for each other when we met, growing up and learning how to navigate the world together will affect both of you. You might not start out a perfect fit, but you'll grow into a perfect fit because your relationship will have a significant impact on who you become.

6. Even though you grow together, it's okay to turn out differently 

Your relationship will affect your likes and preferences, but it's important to remember that a relationship is two people who happen to like each other, not the formation of one person. It's actually really cool to watch your significant other discover new likes, new hobbies, new friends, and new adventures, and they still have you as the constant in their lives. You'll definitely develop into different people, but you'll always come back to each other.

7. There is something to love in everything about them

There's something to love in all the flaws they had as a kid, and there will be something to love in the flaws they have as an adult. Their oddities and quirks will become your comfort when the rest of the world is starting to close in on you. After all, their flaws are what makes them who they are.

8. Patience again... but a different kind

There are obvious limits on teenage relationships. You might not be able to travel the world together like you would like to, or go out to bars like older couples can (if that's your thing). The adults in your lives may not take you that seriously at first, and you can't really blame them, because most teenager relationships are short-lived. Through all the frustrations of being kids in love, just remember not to rush the ease and simplicity that comes with a young relationship. You'll miss how easy things were when you're struggling to find time for each other around full time jobs. Adult life together will come soon enough.

9. Typically, you'll both outgrow your bad habits

A killer of young love is inexperience. A lot of kids go into relationships not knowing what's okay and what's not, or what a healthy relationship looks like. Even with experience, dating a new person is all about learning how to make them happy. The cool thing about dating as teenagers is you'll learn the other person inside and out, and you'll outgrow your bad habits. Little problems that seemed catastrophic as teens quickly become unimportant as your relationships matures. We outgrow and we outlearn.

10. Take your friends' advice with a grain of salt 

Teenagers today treat each other like we're all disposable. Have a problem with the current bf? Toss him out and find a new one, it'll only hurt for a second. When you're in a committed relationship as a teenager and look to your friends for advice through the hard times, be cautious. Remember that

a) their relationship ideals will be different than yours,

b) they don't know your relationship, and

c) they base their advice off of the bad things they hear.

They don't hear about how happy you are on a daily basis.

11. There isn't anything sweeter than the memories you make when you're a teenager in love

We've already accomplished so much, done so much, and we still have our whole lives ahead of us. There's something about growing together with someone that makes it so fulfilling and so worth it. I fully look forward to when we'll be able to look back on our teenage years together and reminisce about how far we have come.

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Don't Leave Your Friends Hanging Just To Hang With Your Significant Other

Your friendships matter just as much as your romantic relationships.

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It happens to all of us. You meet someone who makes your stomach burst with butterflies and suddenly he/she is all you can think about. This person slowly becomes the first one you think to tell about your day, the one you send funny memes to, the one you call when you're upset, the one you invite to dinner or on a road trip with your family. It's very easy to get swept up in a relationship and want to spend all of your time with that person. This is perfectly normal and honestly a great thing!

But you have to remember the people who filled those spots in your life before.

Don't forget the friend who was your go-to brunch date or the friend you'd text right away to tell a story to. The friend who has seen you at your best and worst. The friend who encouraged you to date this person in the first place.

The friend who is waiting by the phone and wondering why you never think to reach out anymore.

You have to remember who was there for you from the beginning. It's okay to spend most of your time with your significant other if that's what you want, but too often people forget their friends once they enter a relationship and leave them feeling neglected. Your plans with them get pushed back for dates with your sweetheart and they start to feel like you don't care about them anymore. But it doesn't have to be like that.

You can make time for everyone — you just have to try.

It's healthy to have relationships independent of your boyfriend or girlfriend. And those relationships need just as much nurture and care as your romantic ones! If you don't treat your friends right, who will be there if something goes wrong in your relationship? It may be a pessimistic view, but if things don't work out and you've alienated everyone else, who will you have left?

But much more than that, you should want to keep your friends close.

They will support you in your relationship and remind you of your worth. They will give you advice and supply you with much-needed girl or guy time. Don't take that for granted. You need time with your friends.

And remember, platonic love is just as wonderful as romantic love.

So the next time you meet someone who makes your heart soar, spend as much time with them as you want! But don't abandon the people who've stuck by you. Show them you love them too.

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It's Time To Challenge 'You Complete Me' Culture

Your partner should be your companion, not your completion!

pmterch
pmterch
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After having some time to reflect after "The Bachelor" finale, I think this is the perfect time to put this article out there. In this article, I want to offer you a different perspective on how to view relationships. I want to challenge you to defy cultural assumptions of what romance is and shine a light on how codependency can squash your happiness.

The puzzle analogy

In wedding vows or proclamations of love, we often hear the phrase, "You complete me." We compare finding our person to finding the missing piece of the puzzle in our lives. Once we place that puzzle piece in the empty hole, we can finally see the beautiful and complete picture. Without that piece, we would be in a frenzy, searching all around under the kitchen table and on everyone's chairs to see if we find it. We desperately hope the dog, or the baby, hasn't eaten it. We hold out hope.

This comparison, as I have found, has created quite an issue in our modern day society. We are so obsessed with finding that missing piece in our lives to complete us that we often search in the wrong places or live in unending frustration. Sometimes we find a perfectly wonderful person, but they seem to lack everything on our checklists of what we have deemed as the perfect missing piece, so we let them go. If you are one of the lucky ones who has found a person who fills the void in your life, you often try to shove them into the puzzle as hard as you can and force them to fit. You need to be filled; you need to have the beauty of the final picture — without it, how could you ever be completely happy?

Where did I go wrong?

I was riding along in the car with my boyfriend when I realized we had hit a rough patch. We are a long distance couple — going to separate colleges four hours away from each other — but we only live two minutes away from each other when we are back at home.

I had never had a boyfriend before my second semester of senior year. I had always been very independent. I moved a lot, which meant anytime I got close to dating someone, POOF, there I went. But, this time I had finally stayed and found an amazing guy — my best friend.

When I was single, I was the queen of relationship advice (as we all are when we are not blinded by rose-colored romance). Finally being in a relationship made me realize how easy it was to fall into habits that I had always scorned others for. I began letting this relationship affect me in ways I never even suspected it could.

Don't get me wrong, this was not his doing at all. My boyfriend is the sweetest guy I know. He is always lifting me up and supporting me to reach my dreams. While we both struggle with anxiety and depression, we have found a way to always put our individual mental health first. My boyfriend had dated people before me, but I had not. This altered expectations of what this relationship was supposed to look like for each of us. He knew what mistakes to try to stay away from, while I was still trying to figure it out.

How to reframe your perspective in relationships

Regardless of my background, I think I have stumbled on the most amazing way of reframing perspective in relationships. Once I started changing the lens on how I looked at our relationship, we started bickering less and I became so much happier.

Here it is: your significant other is your COMPANION, not your COMPLETION.

Of course, you should feel happy and enjoy when your partner is around. They should treat you with care and make you laugh, but they should not be the person filling the empty piece of your heart — that isn't their responsibility. They should not be the ultimate source of happiness that makes you feel emotionally whole. This perspective is extremely unhealthy because people are fickle and we make mistakes. We screw up . . . all the time. Our culture loves to use the phrase, "You complete me." It sounds extremely romantic. However, it can be so problematic.

Now, when I spend time or communicate with my boyfriend, I see it as a lucky bonus we get after we both have spent time improving ourselves that day. When I text him, I don't expect him to reply to me immediately — even though I still wish he would because of the need for instant gratification, let's be real. I know that he is going after his dreams by working as hard as he can to make a life for himself. As a girlfriend, not only should I commend him for that, but I should also give him the space to do that. Likewise, I should go after my dreams and work as hard as I can to achieve them.

Your partner should be the fun blanket you have on top of your comforter. You would be just as warm without the blanket and still get a good nights sleep, but the blanket is still really fuzzy and gives you extra joy and you can wrap it around you while you are watching tv. And, if it is a really cold and stormy night, perhaps you snuggle up with your blanket and hold it tightly for a little extra warmth and comfort.

I am a believer in God, and I believe his holy spirit makes me whole. Regardless of if you share this belief or not, I think we can all agree that we are all supposed to walk through life together and lift each other up. If we expect to put our happiness and worth on the shoulders of one person, then that relationship is going to crumble. Why would you want the person you love most to crumble? I certainly don't. I want to be able to look my partner in the eyes and say, "I love you and I want to stand by you when you need me. When you don't, I will be okay because I am still whole and fulfilled".

pmterch
pmterch

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