High School Students Should Wait Before Pursuing Relationships

It is common to see couples hugging or walking hand in hand throughout the school year. The opportunity to care for someone in a romantic way may seem fulfilling to young adults, and many do enter relationships in their teenage years, but having a relationship in high school is just not worth it.

High school students often have overly unrealistic expectations about relationships and the stages they will progress through, and when these expectations are not met, it can result in poor mental health. 

In the study, Caught in a Bad Romance: Adolescent Romantic Relationships and Mental Health, author Brian Soller found that depression in adolescents increases when their relationship progresses in a different way than they expected.

It is also worthy to note the effect a high school relationship can have on an adolescent’s life even outside of dating. High school is a time to develop one’s identity and prepare for the future, when they are faced with the realities of adulthood.

“Any unhealthy relationship can negatively impact multiple areas of your life, including future relationships,” school psychologist Nicole Jackson said. “It’s important that you feel safe in your relationship and can trust that both you and your partner are looking out for each other’s best interests.”

When students prioritize their relationships over themselves, they start viewing themselves through the lens of their relationship. Instead of focusing on their likes and dislikes, they place excessive importance on their partner’s opinions and often align their life goals to fit with a relationship that has a very low chance of surviving after high school.  

Soller states that, “research on adolescent relationships suggests, romantic relationships are particularly important for girls’ identities, and thus relationship inauthenticity may have especially strong effects on girls’ mental health.”

High school relationships can put huge amounts of stress on students on top of all the tests, clubs, sports, and other activities students engage in, as making time for their partner becomes more of a priority. If couples do not have a balance in their lives, it often leads to miscommunication, and then breaking up. 

“High schoolers probably should not date because we’re still pretending to be adults at this point,” junior Mia Jerphagnon said. “I just don’t think many of us are ready to date.”