Although Facebook may have died out, everyone knows that if you’re in the mood to spark controversy, that’s the place to do it. Just ask junior Marcel Matuszek, who posted a status saying “having a relationship in high school is a joke…….” just a few days before school started. Not only did the status get 138 “likes” (138… really? I can barely get 38 likes on a status) but it also gained 34 comments–some praising Matuszek for his wisdom, and others bashing him because, for some reason unknown to me, they feel as if their own relationships have been threatened.
“High school relationships aren’t going to get you anywhere,” he said.
Now, I know what you all must be thinking. What about all of those high school sweethearts? What about those cute couples in the movies?
Trust me, I’m with you guys–my parents are high school sweethearts. They met at Niles West their sophomore year, and now they’re married with three kids. Matuszek admits that it does happen; it’s just very rare.
“In high school, everyone is stupid and young and naive,” he said. “Which makes it hard to maintain a relationship.”
Some people think differently, though. Math teacher Ryan Geu has been teaching at Niles West for 12 years now, and in his early years of teaching, he remembers a student of his walking into class with an engagement ring. ” She was just glowing, so I asked her about it after class. She didn’t really tell me the full story, but she said that they were getting married. I asked her if she was sure that he was the one, and she seemed sure… Getting married is a huge decision.”
Since marriage is a decision that can potentially change your whole life, Mr. Geu believes that students who choose to get engaged at this age need to know what they are getting themselves into.
“I can’t say that I would be ready at that age,” he said, “but it’s not my place to judge. People can get married at [a young] age, but I would advise them to wait.”
Senior Jasmine Townsend has chosen to follow her own path in life, though. This past Friday, she got engaged to her boyfriend of two and a half years, junior Lavandric Kirkwood. The two plan on officially tying the knot about six years from now.
“When my mom first found out, she was in denial. She doesn’t want to admit it, but she understands… Honestly it’s my life. I feel that we are that one in a million couple. We’re true high school lovers,” she said.
Having known each other since they were 10 years old, Townsend is confident that she is making the right decision.
“Just don’t listen to nay-sayers,” he said about negative comments from other people. “People will always have something to say about your relationship, but just don’t listen because at the end of the day, no one’s gonna be dating my girl but me. If you know what you want, be persistent.”
English teacher and Niles West News adviser Evelyn Lauer says that her gut reaction, as an adult, is to say that it’s too soon. “You’re young, you need to meet new people, and have fun in your twenties.”
Having had a high school sweetheart, Ms. Lauer believes that even when she was with him, she felt she was too young to be in love.
“When you’re in high school, you think there’s something better out there… looking back on my high school relationship, I think I probably could have stayed with him, married him, and been happy with him. Not that I’m not happy in my current marriage, but the love you feel at sixteen is stronger than any love you’ll ever feel for another romantic partner, because love changes. When you’re young, you have a powerful passion and life hasn’t sucked that out of you yet. Passion at sixteen is true and real.”
I think the question that we all need to ask ourselves is this: what is a high school relationship? It seems as though everyone wants one because they want cute pictures to post on Instagram, or someone to tweet about, but in reality, a relationship isn’t all about being cute and holding hands in the hallways. A high school relationship is hard. No matter what, someone will inevitably get attached, and soon after the attachment comes the L – word. Suddenly, you don’t see yourself with anyone else but this person, but what no one sees is that we are kids.
“Sometimes, the person that you’re the most in love with can drive you the most crazy,” said Lauer.
In every relationship comes something that I like to call “The Change.” It can happen within months or maybe years of the relationship, but in the majority of cases, The Change is inevitable.
“My values and priorities are going to change,” Townsend admits, “but we’ve been through everything and it only makes our bond stronger… it’s a bond that we’ve had since we were kids.”
The harsh reality of The Change is that you may fall in love with someone your freshman year, but by the time junior or even sophomore year rolls around, the person who you shared everyone with suddenly Changes. They now have different morals, different goals, and different wants and needs, and there is no longer a guarantee that you are a want or need anymore.
The Change makes it extremely difficult to be wholeheartedly devoted to another person when we are all still undergoing changes ourselves. How can we commit to being with someone in the long term, when we’re still trying to figure our own lives out?
The constant waiting and wishing and hoping to find love in high school is what makes it so complicated. We’re forced to see that person every day, which makes it that much harder to get over them, or stop thinking about them, and the fact of the matter is that no matter how perfect your relationship may seem, it will always cause stress, and to be honest, we’re too young to deal with that right now.
Being adolescents, every little thing that goes wrong in our lives seems like the end of the world. Of course, it’s not actually the end of the world, but what matters is that when a relationship goes south, it seems like the end of the world, which affects our day to day lives. I have a friend who came to school in tears for a straight week because she was having boyfriend problems, and as soon as things got better between them, she was a ball of sunshine again.
It seems insane that one person can have such total control over our emotions, but that’s what happens once you get attached. I’m sure most of you have heard Rihanna’s “We Found Love,” and if not, you’ve probably seen the quote that she says before the music video starts floating around somewhere on your newsfeed.
“It’s like screaming and no one can hear. You almost feel ashamed that someone can be that important, that without them, you feel like nothing. No one will ever understand how much it hurts. You feel hopeless, like nothing can save you, and when it’s over, and it’s gone, you almost wish that you could have all that bad stuff back, so that you could have the good.”
As dramatic as it may seem, for anyone who has ever experienced heartbreak, Rihanna summed it up perfectly. Not only does it hurt, but social media and music makes it even harder to deal with. For some reason, teens like to torture themselves and listen to the saddest, most depressing songs possible when they’re already down. On top of that, there’s Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to constantly keep tabs on that person and wish that you were with them.
It’s all extremely unhealthy. For all of you going through heartbreak, my advice is this: even though it may seem immature, delete them off of all and any social networking sites. Not being tempted to stalk them every two minutes could really help the healing process.
As high school students, we need to learn to stand on our own.
In the words of junior Besjana Mehmeti’s twitter, “life as a teenager and younger isn’t necessarily devoted to having a partner to spend it with. Enjoy your life and let it be.”