published Monday, February 14th, 2011

Valley Voices: Is true love possible in high school?

By Libby Givens / Valley Voices Staff Writer

I believe love is possible in high school relationships.

I am currently in the best relationship I've had in high school, by far. There are many reasons why this relationship surpasses my previous experiences, the most significant of these being that I am in love with my boyfriend.

I have been told plenty of times I am not actually in love.

Andie Proesch, of East Hamilton High School, said, "I feel like most people who think they are in love, or say they are, are not. I believe they are in love with the idea of being in love."

I agree with her. I used to be in love with the idea of being in love; I guess that is the reason why I always told my ex-boyfriends I loved them, too.

Sure, perhaps that wasn't a mature way of handling the situation. I should have told those guys that I wasn't ready to use the L-word yet, that I needed to establish a better bond with them before I could describe my feelings with such a word.

I realize now what the true problem was: I was prone to using "love" too freely.

In one of my previous relationships, within the same day of asking me to date him exclusively, a guy told me he loved me. It didn't feel right telling him that I loved him too, because at that point, I didn't have those feelings for him.

But what was I to do?

I was not mature enough to understand that I should be able to articulate my honest feelings to the person I was dating. This is something essential to the well-being and strength of my current relationship.

Savannah Miller, a 16-year-old student at Center for Creative Arts, said, "I've come to think that while teenagers have every ability to feel passionately, true love requires a lot of maturity and even more time to develop."

Sometimes, time can be the most threatening thing to a relationship.

My boyfriend and I go to different schools and have to make a point of finding time to spend together. We try to see each other at least once a week, a commitment which has thus far proven to be fulfilling for us.

But what happens when he leaves to go away to college next year?

I'm nervously anticipating that day. But I have faith that "absence makes the heart grow fonder."

This is the only high school relationship where I've ever felt this way about my partner; I love him. I've used the word in the past to describe my feelings, but didn't know the significance of the word until recently.

Perhaps the best way to maintain relationships in high school is to keep in mind the important elements of any relationship: They take time, trust, commitment and sincere effort to be successful, and to lead to mutual feelings of love.

If you can't take these elements on, then maybe serious dating shouldn't be a priority.

As Kelly Hegwood of Grace Baptist Academy said, "High school dating is like sampling different kinds of ice cream. You have the choice to take it or leave it."

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