To much dating as a teen
Certainly, the context in which we consider this emotion matters: I love to read; I love Chinese food; I love my mother. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary lists various definitions: “a feeling of strong or constant affection for a person”; “attraction that includes sexual desire”; and “the strong affection felt by people who have a romantic relationship.” But do any of these descriptions really answer our question?
To be clear, I am interested in how we develop and pursue the takes-my-breath-away, euphoric, romantic love that is so sought after. As children, we experience love in the form of unconditional care and affection from our parents.
Having said all this, I should note that there are a couple of potential pitfalls when it comes to teens in the context of romantic relationships.
First, studies have shown that early and intensive (exclusive and serious) dating before the age of fifteen can have a somewhat stunting effect on adolescents’ psychosocial development.
Some researchers have argued that the “targets” of our intimacy change over time, so that intimacy with peers replaces intimacy with parents, and intimacy with peers of the opposite sex replaces intimacy with same-sex friends.
You recall me stating earlier that dating during the teen years serves as a type of practice for future relationships?Dating customs have changed since you were a teenager.The most striking difference is the young age at which children now begin dating: on average, twelve and a half for girls, and thirteen and a half for boys.By getting involved in serious relationships, spending virtually all their time with only one person, teens can run the risk of missing out on other types of social interactions (building other types of relationships, practicing intimacy, gaining different perspectives, and simply having fun with other friends! This can prove limiting to them in terms of achieving their full potential of psychosocial growth and development.
Conversely, research has also shown that adolescent girls, specifically, who do not date at all may tend toward underdeveloped social skills, excessive dependency on their parents, and feelings of insecurity when it comes to meeting romantic interests or potential partners.
Because marriage today, if it occurs at all, is happening much later in life (the average age is around twenty-seven for women and twenty-nine for men) dating for high school students has now taken on an entirely new meaning.