I am thoroughly convinced that there is no easy way to explain love, dating, and the importance of maturity in sexuality to teenagers.
Even if you are up front, honest, and share your experiences (both good and bad), they’re going to want to learn for themselves. Sometimes I think that it is difficult to believe that your sweet angel baby will one day think that you don’t know best. Well. It’s coming.
I do not have a teenager myself (of course), however, I was once a teenager, and I know quite a few people who have also been teenagers at some point in their lives, and I am the second to oldest of six children; because of this, I consider myself a subject matter expert on a topic that no one can properly expert, including myself.
But I can tell you what I need my daughter to know before or when she meets her “one.” I believe that (almost) everyone has a “one.” I don’t want to refer to this person as “the one” or a “first love,” simply because it is more than likely neither of those things. But it is a person that comes into your life, you are both convinced that you were created for each other, you both commit way too young, and it ordinarily ends in an ugly way.
I don’t regret my “one,” primarily because I’m sure spending five years with him saved me from dating guys that were even less suited for me in the long run. Also, I can look back on a lot of “firsts” that are deemed as somewhat warm memories, because they were all with the same person. My husband also has a “one,” as does my sister, my older brother, etc.
So, let’s actually start right there.
Everyone has a “one”
Unless you were one of the very rare individuals who understood that teenagers really shouldn’t “follow their heart,” like everything is a Disney movie, you had yours.
Maybe it still jerks your tear ducts in the wrong direction whenever you think about them. I dated a few guys (one for three years, even) between my “one” and dating my husband. But if I’m being honest, I wasn’t fully over my “one” until I found the one.
If you had a “one,” then it should take you some time to get over them. At some point, you thought your life had turned into “Song of Solomon,” and you re-interpreted the verse, “I have found the one whom my soul loves.” And if you still think about them, then that’s okay too. But don’t dwell on something that has been over for a long time, because then it will become unhealthy.
2% of high-school sweethearts stay together
But 98% don’t. And that 2% is a somewhat skewed statistic because it is accounting for individual who have been married to their “one,” but does not include divorce.
And although it can feel as though you are never going to change your mind – you might. Or even worse, they might. That doesn’t mean you should stifle your feelings and end it out of fear, but just guard your heart. The big issue with this is that you may feel so inclined to want to commit to them and give them everything. Let me reiterate. Everything.
And although I hope that you don’t, I know that you might.
They may harm you
And you may want to forgive them, again and again. This includes verbal, physical, sexual, and emotional.
When we allow ourselves to become emotionally involved with anyone (friends and family included), we open ourselves up to a vulnerability that wants to work with that person no matter what. And unfortunately, there is much less honesty and fidelity in the world today, which I think is our own fault. But that’s for another day.
It is never your fault if someone abuses you, and you shouldn’t stay with or trust someone who abuses you. You may think this entry has taken a dark turn, but this is very important advice that younger people need to know. We need to stop acting like we are in a secret club with all of the answers that the younger generation has to “learn on their own,” because we’ve been there.
You’re sixteen, sometimes your significant other pushes you around when you’re arguing.
Well, I made him mad and I really shouldn’t have done that. I was being annoying. I was doing something wrong.
No. You did nothing wrong, they did.
You’re seventeen, and you find out that your girlfriend was making out with someone else.
Well, she said that I wasn’t paying her enough attention. I need to value her more. I don’t want to lose her.
No, you DO need to lose her. You don’t deserve that.
Don’t invest financially into a young relationship
What I mean by “young” is below the age of 18 or in any very new relationship. You may want to pay for some kind of expense for them because they don’t have the money; this is not your responsibility. I would also avoid starting a lease with someone unless you are either years into the relationship or an engagement involved. Don’t let them co-sign for your vehicle, vice versa, etc. Once you are engaged or older, then these are your decisions to make but please be wise. You’ve got us.
It’s okay to break up
You should never feel any type of pressure to stay with your “one.” I know that you feel like you’ll never find anyone else and you don’t want to picture your life without them, but if you decide that you are not as infatuated as you once were, don’t waste your time.
And if they determine that they no longer want to be in a relationship with you; that’s okay. It won’t feel okay. It will hurt so much.
You will eventually move on and you are going to live. Consider everyone in a healthy adult relationship with you that you look up to. 98% of them went through this exact same thing. Which brings me to my next and final point.
Mom and Dad will help you through it
Whenever you are on cloud nine, and whenever you want to disappear – we’ll be here with you. As old as you may think that we are, we were your age at one point and we have both been through it. We have both felt like our hearts were ripped out and we’ve also grown apart from people who didn’t feel the same way; then we found each other and we’ve made it.
That’s not to say that we haven’t been through some very trying times; we have. But we lived through it and it made us stronger. You’ll know when this the case, because even when we were going through our roughest moments, we still wanted to sleep in the same bed at the end of the night.
I know that this was a much longer entry than usual, however, one of my worst fears is seeing my baby girl get hurt, and she hasn’t even been born yet. But this is life, and life goes on. 🙂