The Dangerous World of Young Love

If you’ve ever heard or said “those two are goals!” or seen “mom and dad” commented under someone’s Instagram post, you know how much the perfect relationship is idolized by our age group. We all desire love and companionship, but in our fast-paced lives do we rush so much to find “the one” that we end up sacrificing our mental health?

 

Young love is idolized by both adolescents and adults, but becoming high school sweethearts isn’t as easy as it seems. Obviously, young adults aren’t expected to have a complete grasp on the ins-and-outs of love. This inexperience paired with the limited examples we are given can be a recipe for disaster. With all the access we have to pop culture, a lot of the relationships we are exposed to take the form of “it couples,” but most of us know how those celebrity relationships turn out. This obsession translates to us cultivating relationships that only look healthy on social media, while neglecting the relationship’s real life issues until it blows up in our faces.

 

Whether we rush from one relationship to another because of the examples set for us by celebrities or simply because we don’t want to die alone and feel rushed by the current culture of staying on the grind, we need to be more critical of the situations we put ourselves in. But how do we know what makes a relationship unhealthy or toxic, especially with so little experience? We all know what a bruise looks like, but mental abuse is just as real and as damaging.  Relationships are not always easy, but the good should outweigh the bad and we shouldn’t be with someone and still feel so alone.

 

What even makes me the authority to try and answer this question? If I had to cite my source, it would be the relationship that lasted from my sophomore to my senior year of high school. At the time I thought all of the worrying things that were happening were just a part of the normal up and downs that exist in love. However, now removed, I am able to see that I really liked the routine and the idea of being high school sweethearts, even if it wasn’t always sweet. If I would have known then what I do now (that your relationship shouldn't bring the worst out of you, that someone you love shouldn’t make you cry every day, and that normal boyfriends don’t ghost you for months on end) I would have ended it before the first year went by. But I didn’t, because I liked the idea of going to my junior and senior prom with the same person, and because no one taught me that abuse isn’t just physical.

 

Young people are reckless enough as it is, especially with the feelings of others, but what turns bad situations worse is when we become reckless with our own. When our first take at love is letting someone treat you however they’d like because, well, at least you have someone, it doesn’t allow you to identify good or bad signs in future relationships. There are the lucky ones who graduate from a bad relationship and are able to use it as an identifier for the future, but others are left permanently damaged from their first steps into love. So, what should we be looking out for?

 

Some red flags:

  • You become isolated from your friends and family.

  • The relationship is on and off.

  • Arguments are constant and beyond the point of a healthy disagreement.

  • You cannot trust your partner and they have a history of dishonesty.

  • They are embarrassed of you or ignore you.

 

The list doesn’t stop there, it is up to us to know ourselves and trust our intuition over whether or not something is right for us. By looking out for ourselves and for our friends we can avoid more casualties on the field of young love.