When you get your first boyfriend or girlfriend in middle school or high school, you might start thinking about your relationship in the future. Maybe you will get married, move away, and have kids.
It can be fun to think about possible scenarios, but the truth is that your high school love is likely not the person you are going to marry. That may be sad to imagine, but statistics show that this is the reality of the situation.
Only 2% of high school sweethearts – or two in 100 people – stay together long enough to get married. Of those who do marry, less than 1% will last without divorce.
Why are the statistics so grim? It’s all about age. The average first relationship starts at 16 years old. At that age, the average length of a relationship is 1.8 years. This means that couples may get together in 10th or 11th grade and break up before heading off to college.
What about long-distance relationships? Those do not tend to last. Nearly 40% of them will end by the time the first semester of college is over. If the couple does stay together, there is likely to be cheating involved. Roughly 10-11% of people cheat, with most of them cheating with a peer or someone who is in their classes.
Why Do Teens Struggle With Relationships?
Why is it so hard for teens to move their relationships forward? The main factor is that the human brain is not fully developed. It is hard for young people to deal with the demands of a relationship.
Sure, the couple may love each other, but it takes more than feelings to make a relationship last. So many high school relationships fail because of the maturity level of a typical high school student. They are not advanced enough to make an informed choice of a life partner.
A lot of things change. After high school, teens are worried about college and being on their own. There is a lot going on as they transition from a child to an adult. Here are some common reasons why teens struggle with relationships:
- Not enough life experiences yet. Teens are young and have not had time to do the things that adults have done. They want to experience new things and do not always want to be tied down by a relationship.
- Not enough experience developing healthy relationships. A lack of life experience makes it hard to navigate relationships. Teens often do not know what is normal and healthy. They may be in a toxic relationship and not even know it.
- Constraints on spending time with their significant other. After high school graduation, teens often go their separate ways. Some go into the workforce. Others go off to college or enter the military. Some may move away and start a new life. When one person goes in a different direction from their partner, the relationship becomes a long-distance one. This means that teens may not be spending enough time with their boyfriends and girlfriends, and they become distant, which can ruin the relationship.
- Low self-esteem. Teens often have low self-esteem. They may stay in a bad relationship because they feel nobody else will like them. Also, teens may have to deal with their partner’s low self-esteem, which can be frustrating.
- Influence of social media on the relationship. Most teens use some form of social media, which is not always a good thing. They tend to overshare details, so constantly posting on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or some other site can ruin a relationship. Some people desire more privacy and do not want their every moment posted online for the world to see.
What Teen Relationships Need to Succeed
Teen relationships can succeed past high school, but it is not easy. They take a lot of work. Here are some things every relationship needs:
- Communication. Teens may struggle with communication, so it is a skill they definitely need to work on if they want lasting relationships. Partners need to be able to effectively talk with each and resolve conflicts. They need to be able to find out what each person wants. Otherwise, a minor misunderstanding can easily lead to a breakup.
- Commitment. Being in a relationship can be fun, but sometimes the commitment is not there. Once teens move on to college, they may want to explore new things and meet new people. Plus, people change. Not everyone stays the same person they were in high school, so it is hard for teens to decide they want to settle down and spend the rest of their lives with a high school love.
- Sacrifices. Staying together past high school often means making sacrifices. For example, you may stay local and give up your dream of attending an Ivy League college so you can attend college with your sweetheart. Or you may give up your favorite activities so you can spend more time with your boyfriend or girlfriend. Some people are willing to make these sacrifices; others are not. A successful relationship means that both parties have to make sacrifices.
Seek Legal Help
High school love can be exciting, but such a romance is not usually meant to last. High schoolers are immature teenagers who are trying to navigate their lives. Having a boyfriend or girlfriend past graduation may not fit in with their plans.
Even if high school sweethearts do marry, their love does not always last. Broward County divorce attorney Scott J. Stadler can help you end your marriage smoothly, whether you met your spouse in high school, college, or beyond. Call (954) 346-6464 or fill out the online form to schedule a consultation with our office.