“It’s kind of like an extra friend, someone to talk to and lean on. It’s someone you like, and they like you back, and you just enjoy each other’s company,” senior Addison Zhang said.
It starts as a crush, following their Instagram and texting back as soon as you hear that notification. Then, sooner or later, you find yourself being late to class, changing your walking schedule just so you can see them.
Depending on who you ask, high school relationships have their pros and their cons. Dating in high school can open your eyes to different perspectives, allowing you to diversify your narratives, and get a better understanding of the world around you.
“You get a feel for having a relationship before you go to college and head out in the real world. It isn’t worth it if you’re dating just to date, but if you want something long-term, with college in mind, then it is worth it,” senior Sanjana Das said.
According to Hudson Valley Community College, studies show having a healthy relationship in high school can help adolescents grow beyond their teenage years. Students expand their social skills while learning time management and developing both mentally and emotionally. In addition, these skills can be translated outside the relationship, growing in other areas such as academics, employment, and adulthood.
“Everyone deserves to find that somebody. Somebody you can hold conversations with and share inside jokes. It feels like they’re a part of you, like they’re the missing half,” senior Owen McGrath said. “It doesn’t matter what we’re doing, it’s just the fact that we’re with each other, that’s what really matters.”
Many students decide not to date in high school simply because they are too busy. With homework, extracurriculars, jobs, and maintaining a social life, students are already drowning with responsibilities. Having that new responsibility that a relationship holds is hard to manage for many teenagers.
On top of that, seniors dating in high school are already balancing both college applications and their personal lives. After all, time is not limitless for high school students.
“At this age, we fall in love, and we fall pretty hard. And so, we get possessive of the other person’s time and attention,” Millard North counselor Laurie Stackhouse said. “Students lose touch with their other friends once they’re in a relationship with a specific person, and that happens a lot. Friends feel like they’ve been cast aside, resulting in lost friendships.”
At the end of the day, whether you decide to date or not, the most important thing is to be true to who you are.
“If there are things that are important to you, stick to those things. Don’t sell yourself short, and don’t get roped into a relationship where there is an expectation to change who you are to make someone else happy,” Stackhouse said.