High school dating, worth it?

Raquel Amato, Opinions

Stupid, gross and pointless. Those were the adjectives I would have used at the beginning of my sophomore year to describe dating in high school.

I would complain about seeing couples holding hands in hallways, sitting and cuddling together at lunch, basically anything considered PDA. Relationships are more than just posting pictures together and going to dances with each other. Being in a serious relationship for almost two years has completely changed my perspective on a lot of things.

A lot of people think that being with someone means that you have to be intimate and do everything with the person you are in the relationship with, spending every minute with them to make it count; defining the relationship by the number of minutes, not the quality of the time.

I disagree.

Relationships are not about spending every waking minute with someone. A relationship should be based on trust, love, honesty and faithfulness.

According to a 2015 study by Pew Research Center, 14 percent of high school students consider themselves in a serious relationship. I am among the 14 percent and my relationship has made me a better person. I have become nicer, I have been more open, I have gone out and done things I would not have done if I was single and overall I have been happier.

Relationships are a part of getting older, whether they are friendships or romantic relationships, they help build who we are as people. We are constantly growing up. It does not matter if we are 13 years old or 43 years old, we are all learning and changing every second of every day. Every relationship we have matters; from the day we are born to the day we die, every relationship we have with another person is important.

Some people believe that relationships are hard, that they are going to make it difficult to juggle school, work, family time and everything that comes with being a teenager. According to Child Trends, a nonprofit research organization dedicated to children, teens and their families, teens in healthy relationships have reported getting better grades and higher levels of self-esteem.

My boyfriend and I have been together for two years in February and even though we do not get a lot of time together we always make sure we are supportive of the other’s choices and feelings. Education definitely plays a major part in our relationship since it is so important for both of us. We constantly support and motivate each other, especially when it comes to school.

Dating someone for a short period of time is also important, people find out what they do and do not like in a person and potential partner. It helps people find their “type.” Whether someone’s first romantic relationship is in junior high or high school, it definitely teaches life lessons and it absolutely helps build personalities. It does not matter if the very first relationship was amazing or horrible, it helps establish character and strength. People learn how to manage time and how to control feelings.

I am not saying everyone should be in a relationship all throughout high school because that would be unrealistic and being in a relationship does have some limits. I, however, am saying that I think everyone should experience what it is like to date. I know not everyone has time to date and someone’s education is often more important than dating and having a boyfriend or girlfriend, but I think everyone needs experience with relationships.

Dating someone in high school prepares them for their future, whether their high school sweetheart is the one they are with forever or they fall in love all over again.