Teenage Love is a Lie by Amelia Winkleman

Let me tell you about my friend Danielle and her boyfriend Jerry. Danielle and Jerry are deeply in love. They spend every free second of every day with each other, and if they aren’t together, they are thinking about each other. Danielle FaceTimes Jerry every night no matter what he’s doing to make sure he says goodnight to her. Jerry gets a little jealous anytime Danielle says a word to another guy. They are constantly Snapchatting and sending each other hearts. They talk about getting married on a vineyard and having 3 kids: Noah, Megan, and Mia. Sounds nice right?

WRONG! Do you really think that they’re going to last long enough to get married? Let me answer that for you… NO, they’re not. And guess what! They aren’t in love either. They can’t be. Teenage love doesn’t exist.

You may be in a relationship, and if you think you’re in love, I’m sorry. I’m sorry that you’re naive enough to believe that you love someone at 16. Because in reality, you don’t. You’re not in love because it’s just not possible. You’re not even old enough to know what love is, let alone understand it. You don’t know who you are yet, and if you don’t know who you are you don’t know what you love. If you don’t know what you love, you can’t love a human being! Your hormones are raging too much for you to understand any of your emotions as a teen. You’re not in love, you’re in lust. At best you are in “really like”, but you’re not in love. You may think you’re in love, you just like the idea of love. The idea of a cute relationship where you can take cute relationship pictures and do cute relationship things: like buying them jewelry with your name on it, or going ice skating and holding hands. You also probably like the idea of someone being there for you all the time. Another bad thing is that teenage “love” can be dangerous. It leads to having big expectations for things that often don’t end up happening. Let’s not forget about heartbreaks either, no one wants to experience that.

I know you could say that you know a couple that started dating in high school  and now has been happily married for 30 years. I don’t doubt that they have a great marriage. But, that doesn’t mean they didn’t miss out on valuable teen and young adult experiences while being tied down to each other for all those years. Independence is important and is a wonderful thing to learn early on in life. Because now, if for some the high school sweethearts get divorced, they won’t know what to do without each other.

I know it’s judgmental, but I just can’t stand people that think they are in love, it’s so annoying, and it’s not like I can just yell at them and tell them they are wrong. People who think teenage love is real may never understand how I feel, but trust me, I’m never going to understand how they feel about this whole “being in love as a teen” thing either. What can I do to get them to understand that they aren’t in love? I guess nothing, but at least I’m not wasting my precious teenage years holding onto something imaginary. Again, if you think you’re in love, I’m sorry because there are some good things about teenage relationships and I don’t think they are completely awful. They can be super fun and can help you understand yourself better. They also can help you learn what you want in future boy/girlfriends and they can teach you the difference between healthy vs. unhealthy relationships. Best of all, they are good experiences to have and they teach you a lot about being in different types of relationships. Having a lot of different experiences in high school is crucial, so now, maybe it’s time to dump your current experience and get on to the next one!