While teen couples deal with the universal emotions and concerns associated with any relationship, they also face unique pressures and issues foreign to most adults.
Guidelines for Teen Couples
- Don't give into pressure to have a boyfriend or girlfriend if you're not ready for a relationship.
- School comes first. No matter how in love you are, you need to do your homework and study for tests. While it may be tempting to set up study dates with your new boyfriend or girlfriend, ask yourself how much studying you'll actually accomplish.
- Teen couples should make sure they remain involved in activities in which they've always participated. A boyfriend or girlfriend should add to your life, not take you away from activities you enjoy.
- Don't ignore your family. Having a date isn't a reason to blow off a family commitment. You may be able to compromise by inviting your boyfriend or girlfriend to family movie night or a similar event.
- Follow all the rules set down by your parents. If you want to earn extra privileges and be trusted, you must earn that trust by following the rules. If you're having trouble understanding why you should, think about it in practical terms. Would you rather cut your date short half an hour to arrive home by curfew or be grounded and not be able to go on any dates?
- Don't forget about your friends. They'll understand you want to spend time with your new boyfriend or girlfriend, but they don't deserve to be ignored. If you and your significant other have different groups of friends, discuss how you'll split your time hanging out with them.
- School events like football games and dances make great dates. You can spend time together as a couple while also enjoying time with your classmates.
- Give each other space. With cell phones and instant messaging, it's possible to stay in contact with someone at all hours of the day. Sometimes you just need a little alone time to keep the relationship fresh.
Teens and Sex
Sex quickly becomes an issue for many teen couples. While your body may crave the physical contact, are you ready for the emotional impact of such intimacy? Nothing can derail your plans for the future faster than an unintended pregnancy. Sexually transmitted diseases are another concern. AIDS is still a threat, and even non-fatal STDs are uncomfortable and can affect you for the rest of your life.
Going away to college is a breaking point for many teen couples. Some people want to enjoy their first year of college without feeling tied down to a relationship or they don't want to be distracted from their studies. If only one half of the couple has graduated, a cultural divide soon becomes apparent between the world of high school and college. If both parties are leaving for college, although online communication makes staying in touch easier than it once was, there are the potential problems of a long-distance relationship.
It can also be tempting to follow your boyfriend or girlfriend to college. You should only make college decisions based on what's best for you and your future career plans. If your dream is to be a high school English teacher, you shouldn't attend the state engineering college just because your significant other is headed there.
While breaking up is never easy, it can be particularly difficult for teen couples because of their inexperience and the heightened emotions of first love. Teens should find a friend or trusted adult to help them deal with their pain and immerse themselves in their favorite healthy activities. If they fall into a deep depression after a break-up, they may need to seek counseling. In most cases, though, time will heal the broken heart.