Valentine’s Day, Youth, and Relationships

Ashley Lytle

By Ashley Lytle, Editor-in-Chief

Stores are blossoming with flowers and their shelves are filled with chocolates. It’s February, and love is in the air, especially on one day in particular: February 14, Valentine’s day.

While many students planned to eat chocolate or simply hang out with friends, others had no plans, deciding to spend the day like they would any other. Couples planned gifts for one another and if they were lucky to be without prior engagements, they arranged time to spend together.

“I think it’s good to try your hand at relationships [in high school], at getting to know somebody and going through the awkwardness and getting over the awkwardness. I was actually just talking about this with another adult about teenagers having to go through the dating and awkwardness, getting to know each other. Otherwise, how are you going to be more confident in yourself to be in a relationship? I feel [teenage years] are a really important time to just try on different things,” said Cleveland health teacher, Gaye Chapman.

Valentine’s is a reminder of an ever existing question: whether or not the relationship between youth and dating is positive or negative. Many question if the positive aspects such as experience, outweigh the negatives that include the low possibility of teen relationships lasting long term. A Huffington Post article from 2012 titled “Are High School Relationships Worth it?” reported that “only two percent of new marriages in North America are comprised of ‘high school sweethearts.’”

“I would say [the relationship between youth and dating] is positive. It depends really because sometimes it can be negative, sometimes it can be positive, it just depends on how it works out between the two people,” said sophomore Scotty Douglass.

Senior Sawyer Jackson said, “I don’t know if you can really [define the relationship between youth and dating] as positive or negative, because you have to start somewhere. And you have to kind of experiment and look around for what you like and what you need in a relationship. If you start that now, it’s like a fail safe, and if you do get into a relationship, a lot of the time it’s got an expiration date because of graduation and all that. But it’s an important step I feel like.”

“I feel like a lot of young people let relationships take over their lives sometimes in negative ways, and I feel like [teenagers] also have a really strong hookup culture, so it’s not actual relationships,” said sophomore Bella Miller.

Senior Duncan Kass, who has been in a relationship now for almost a year said, “For a long time, I sort of struggled with the idea of dating because I felt like if I wasn’t planning on growing up, getting married to this person, and loving them forever, then I was sort of being unfaithful to them and kind of leading them on. The whole thing was sort of meaningless. Someone finally sat down and talked to me, and were like, ‘We’re not going to marry each other, or maybe we will, but I kind of doubt it. In high school you have a relationship to have fun, to learn how to be in a relationship, to have someone to be close with during high school.’”

Junior Isabella Donofrio said, “I think [youth and dating] does have its negative side effects. A lot of people do feel pressured to be in a relationship and kind of feel devalued if they’re not.”

The consensus between the students was that whether or not you choose to take part in the dating life during your high school years is a personal choice. It can simply help prepare you for future relationships, or who knows? You and your special someone might turn out to be high school sweethearts. You may feel you should wait and decide that you’re not ready to enter the mysterious awkward world of dating. As February continues, relationships blossom or cease to exist, and the chocolate goes on sale, know “[Dating] can be good for some people, some people it can not be good for,” as senior Carson Scoggins said. The decision is yours.