High School Relationships: How Close is Too Close at That Age?

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The story and insight of a high school girl who experienced the love and heartache of high school romance and based her college decision on her relationship…

Everyone is familiar with High School love. Whether you remember it as the stereotypical quarterback of the football team locking lips with the hottest cheerleader after the big game or the cute band couple holding hands after practice, it was love in our minds. Let’s face it, at one point or another we all thought that we were in love. We met that guy or girl who swept us off our feet. We laughed and shared moments together. We ate lunch at the same table everyday with our friends and theirs. We were in love. These are the years for that cute puppy love, when first dates, awkward flirting, and coed sleepovers send butterflies soaring around our stomachs, but as we grow up and are faced with new life experiences we witness some of the awful things that come with true love – heartbreaks, cheating, and even distance. We start to ask ourselves the question, is what we had in high school all that real, and what makes these “newer” relationships so different?

Every girl can recall that one boy who made her heart stop, or caused her to giggle while twirling the ends of her hair. When he came up to talk to her the air from her lungs seemed to disappear and the strength in her knees seemed to give out.  It was this boy that introduced us true love, the ritual of meeting the parents, going to movies and dinner without a group of people, and the first kiss that wasn’t forced by a game of truth or dare, or spin the bottle. This boy will forever be remembered, no matter how many other relationships, heartbreaks, or happily-ever-afters lie ahead. A girl’s first true love sets the standards for all the rest to come.

Falling in love for the first time is a very important and memorable experience. The time spent with this person will never be forgotten. There are so many life lessons from a young adult’s first romantic relationship, and they are lessons better learned by experiencing them first hand: learning to depend and trust someone outside your family, not being afraid to open up to another person, realizing that relationships are not all about making out and sneaking around. Every person needs that first love; whether that’s the person they stay with or not, it is that first true love that showed them how to love another.

Boys are known for being cruel and insensitive. Parents are always warning their daughters to stay away from troubled young men who are looking for the wrong things in a relationship. Of course the last thing a teenage girl intends on doing is taking advise from her parents, because in her mind, parents have no idea what they’re talking about. Even the most trustworthy, responsible, and mature girl will get her heart broken by a guy. It is an unavoidable life experience that usually occurs during the teenage years, everyone reacts differently to the loss of their first love, but no one ever forgets it.

Alexia Keller found the “love of her life” when she was a sophomore in the large high school of North Penn, located in Lansdale. 

“We knew each other for many years prior to dating, but it wasn’t until he asked me out that I suddenly thought of him as more than a friend.”

Keller and her three-year boyfriend Ryan Douglas, also a sophomore, enjoyed their high school years hand-in-hand, side-by-side, and lip-to-lip. The two were the poster children of a perfect couple.

“I remember wanting to marry Ryan. We even would joke about kid’s names and wedding arrangements. I had no doubt in my mind that I would end up with him. We were in love for sure.”

When asked what some of the highlights were, while being in a serious relationship throughout high school, Alexia said, “I had the chance to be with my best friend all the time. I was able to get through the hardest years of my life with him by my side. I got to escape the drama that my girlfriends were going through with hookups and cheating boys. We kept each other out of trouble. I feel like he helped me be more comfortable with who I really was and when I was more confident I began expressing myself more to others. He helped me come out of my shell.”

Being with your boyfriend all the time seemed to have its benefits, but was their anything that you missed out on while you were constantly being a girlfriend?

“Dating in general. There were times I would get jealous of my girlfriends when they got all excited about going out on a new first date. I missed a lot of the high school party scene, but to be honest I truly enjoyed being a girlfriend. The main thing I missed out on was going away to college.

Being in love in high school definitly comes with many challenges – finding privacy, gaining parents’ approval and making life decisions together at such a young age.

“I chose not to go away, because I didn’t want to leave him. I was worried that the distance would put our relationship in jeopardy and he or I would meet other people. I didn’t want to take that chance,” Alexia said, as tears started to form in her eyes.

Do you regret your decision to stay close to home?

“Yes because after a year out of high school we broke up and he soon found another girl. Now I am at home attending community college and he is down the street with his new girlfriend. I hate the fact their relationship is so close to my life, I don’t know what I would do if I ever saw them in public.”

Alexia knows others who made life decisions based on their significant other. “In fact my two best friends ended up transferring to be close to their boyfriends.”

Having your heartbroken is tough, no matter how old you are, there is no cure or easy solution for the pain or the feeling of emptiness. What do you think is making getting over you ex so difficult?

“We were together for so long. It’s hard to get over someone I miss every day. I miss the phone calls before bed. I missed the way we would laugh and the stupid inside jokes and the teasing. I know we were young but everything we got through together, like his father’s death, the death of our two friends, my father’s illness, my grandmothers heartattack – they were all serious life situations and we handled them together. If two people can handle such adult-like tragedies then I think they are mature enough to be in love.

”I compare everybody to Ryan. I feel like no one is ever going to make me laugh the way he did. I am never going to feel as comfortable with another guy, and I am scared to let anyone else in because losing him was the hardest thing I’ve had to deal with. It’s like never waking up from a nightmare. They say time heals all wounds, but this is taking forever.”

In the beginning, they were 15 years old, and everything was so new and exciting. There was no arguing and they were very into PDA and attention from other people. At this point parents were more of a factor in their relationship because they would drive to places.

“I remember lying to my mom when I slept over his house. One time I told my mom I was going on a vacation with him and his family for a week, but really Ryan and I just spent the week at his house while his family was away on vacation” Alexia confessed.

As they got older and their relationship grew the rules seemed to change and so did Alexia and Ryan. PDA wasn’t really exciting anymore, the puppy love stage was over and real love was starting to seep through.

“We were not afraid to fight with each other and express how we truly felt because no matter how serious or dumb the fight was, we always made up. Our parents met, and lying about our where-about’s wasn’t necessary because we were trusted and they knew how serious we were about one another.

“The most difficult part was combining our groups of friends. In the beginning it was easy because we spent a lot of time together, just getting to know one another. But when we tried to hangout with each others friends all hell broke loose. And in the end that’s what tore us apart.”

Even with all pain and suffering you have been undergoing for months, do you regret being with Ryan for so long, or allowing things to get so serious at that age?

“Absolutely not. Being with Ryan taught me so much. I realize now that high school is a bizarre and drama-filled four years, with stereotypes and pettiness, and this cannot be escaped.  But I truly believe that in my fours years I was able to meet the love of my life. I miss him terribly and only hope that one day he realizes what he lost and comes back to me.”

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