Why teen relationships are overrated

Maleah Phetsomphou, Writer

Phrases such as “Oh my goodness you guys look so good together!” and “ugh I need a boyfriend” are ones I hear too often by my peers. Relationships, the “who’s dating who”, are strongly valued by teen society. After observing my peers in “normal teen” relationships, I have discovered that dating during your teenage years is overrated.

Through my experience constantly interacting with teens, I have discovered a social pressure placed upon teens to have a significant other. I have been a victim of this oppression. I first felt pressured by my peers to start dating someone in seventh grade. First, it was the pressure to find a guy who would take you to the winter dance. Then, it was who would be the first boy you “talked to” on Snapchat. Eventually, it would develop into who would be your actual boyfriend. I never minded seeing my classmates in relationships, but it is annoying to constantly be asked if I was dating someone. I never understood the hype around it. As I grew older, many of my peers became more and more desperate to get into a relationship. This happened with both girls and boys. Although attraction to others is normal at this age, I wondered why my classmates desired to be with someone so much. To achieve social validation? Feel loved by someone? To make others envious?

What annoys me the most about teen relationships is how fake they are compared to serious, adult relationships. Teen relationships consist of unfulfilled promises and false “I love yous.” At first, I thought teen couples really did like each other for reasons beyond physical attraction. However, after years of seeing breakups, I have discovered that my peers rarely date someone based on that. Most of the time, it is based on sheer popularity and physical appearance. For example, I have heard countless female conversations about their counterparts- judging them based on physical appearance. They say things like, “Even though he has a terrible personality, he’s so hot I would date him.” On the contrary, I’ve heard them criticize some of the smartest and kindest guys I know, calling them strange and even ugly. 

Aside from the social praise and envy gave to a dating couple, there are no real benefits of these relationships. Relationships consume massive amounts of time and effort, which could be spent on more valuable subjects like schoolwork and extracurriculars. I am a very academically rigorous student who participates in numerous extracurriculars.

I have never been in a relationship, yet I am truly happy with my lifestyle. Donating my time to Model UN, Student Council, Spanish Club, and my church make me feel validated. Not a teenage boy. There is more to life than wasting time on someone you truly don’t like. I believe that there are set times for relationships, but having one in a time where your decisions are crucial to your future is not. I can promise you that studying for the SAT will benefit your future more than who you ‘make out’ with on the weekends. Besides, in twenty years, you won’t even remember everyone you went to high school with. It’s not worth it to waste time on a relationship that you know won’t last. That is why I believe teenage relationships are overrated.