High school is a time filled with many opportunities to fall in love.
However, what happens when you meet someone you really connect with?
Do those feelings persist throughout college and beyond? In today’s world, most people don’t wait until marriage to settle down.
Instead, they begin having children while still young adults.
As a result, there are countless couples who are now starting families together in high school.
In fact, according to one study, about half of all American teenagers say they are involved in a serious relationship.
However, what percentage of these relationships actually end up being long term?
And how does that number compare to adults?
To answer these questions, researchers looked at data collected by the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health.
They analyzed information from over 10,000 teens who participated in the survey between 1994 and 2017.
During this period, participants reported on their romantic relationships.
Based on this data, researchers found that 52% of teen relationships lasted longer than six months.
When compared to adults, this number drops slightly, with 43% of adult relationships lasting at least six months.
Another study found that about 3 percent of high school students report having been romantically involved with someone else during their high school years.
About half of those relationships lasted less than six months, while the rest lasted longer.
Of the long-term relationships, nearly one quarter lasted at least three years.
Raley et al. examined whether there were differences in relationship outcomes based on gender, race/ethnicity, parental education level, and parents’ marital status.
They analyzed data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, which followed participants from 1994 through 2016.
They found that among white students, girls were slightly more likely than boys to report being in a long-term relationship.
Among black students, however, boys reported a greater likelihood of being in a long-lasting relationship.
However, there are exceptions. While adults were twice as likely to break up within the first three months of dating, teens had a much lower chance of breaking up during that same timeframe.
However, teenagers were also less likely to get married than adults.
Even though they weren’t getting married, they did report engaging in sexual activity.
Will My Relationship Last ?
High school relationships are often complicated.
They involve social dynamics, hormones, peer pressure, and the constant threat of being caught doing something embarrassing.
But what happens when you graduate? How does your relationship fare against the odds?
According to a study published by the National Center for Educational Statistics, most high school relationships don’t last very long.
In fact, most high school relationships end after graduating, and those that make the transition into college relationships have a high break up rate.
The average duration of high school relationships is around one year.
The research found that the majority of people who met someone during high school had already broken up with their partners by the time they graduated.
Only 7% of couples stayed together after graduation.
And while some people say that high school romances turn into marriages, according to statistics, the opposite is true.
A survey conducted by Match.com revealed that only 2% of high school couples got married after graduation (see also “40 Fantastically Fun Ideas For Your High School Graduation Party“).
Reasons They Fail
The human brain isn’t fully developed until about age 25, according to research published in the journal Developmental Neuropsychology.
“This study provides evidence that adolescents are less able to control their emotions than adults,” says lead author Dr. Daniel Amen, founder and director of Amen Clinics.
“They’re more impulsive and emotional.”
In fact, teens’ brains aren’t even close to being fully developed.
They still rely heavily on their amygdala — the part of the brain responsible for processing fear, anger, and aggression.
As a result, teens tend to act impulsively. For example, they might impulsively decide to skip school without thinking things through.
Or they might impulsively text someone while driving.
Adults, on the other hand, use their prefrontal cortex — the part of the mind responsible for planning, decision making, and problem solving — to make decisions.
Adults tend to think more rationally and weigh options before acting.
In addition to having an undeveloped brain when young high school sweethearts often face other challenges when it comes to maintaining their relationship.
Sometimes, even if both parties really want to make things work, there are problems that come up along the way.
These issues can range from one person being too busy to spend quality time with the other, to one partner feeling like he/she doesn’t fit into his/her life anymore because of the change in schedule.
One Person Is Too Busy With Work And Other Things
If you’re at college while trying to maintain a healthy romantic relationship, chances are you won’t have much time left over to actually enjoy each other’s company.
When you’re constantly worrying about college work or wanting to spend time with friends , it’s almost impossible to put your attention towards your significant other.
If you find that you’re always distracted during dates, try taking breaks throughout the day to talk to your loved one.
Try scheduling regular date nights where you can focus solely on each other without distractions.
Often, after high school graduation, one or both parties go to college in different parts of the country.
This often leads to a long period of time where the partners don’t see each other every day.
During this time, there is a lot of uncertainty about whether they’ll see each other.
If nothing changes, the couple could end up breaking up permanently.
A third of long distance couples break up within three months of starting their relationship.
Another 10 percent say they’re still together six months later, but only half of those marriages continue beyond a year.
One Partner Gets Jealous Of Their Friends
One thing that many couples struggle with is jealousy.
Some people are naturally jealous, and others learn to be jealous over time.
Either way, if you notice that your mate is getting upset whenever you see friends together, it’s likely that he/she is jealous of your friendship and this is especially true during adolescence when confidence may be down.
If you find that your relationship is suffering because of this issue, try talking to your partner about it.
The Relationship Isn’t Growing As A Whole
One of the most important aspects of any relationship is growth.
It’s not enough to simply be in a relationship; you need to grow as individuals within the context of your relationship.
If you’re not growing or learning new skills, then you’re going to run into trouble down the road.
For example, if you’re both struggling with money, you may find yourselves arguing about who should pay for what.
If you don’t address these types of issues early on, they could lead to bigger problems later on.
There Are Problems In Communication
Communication is an essential part of any relationship.
Without good communication, you’ll find it hard to resolve conflicts and stay close.
Unfortunately, some people are terrible at communicating with their partners.
They either avoid conflict altogether or they become angry when things don’t go their way.
If you find that there are times when you argue and you don’t understand why, it’s possible that you two have different ideas of what constitutes “good” communication.
If you find that arguments happen frequently (see also “5 Peacemaking Tactics To Use On Your Teen“), try discussing your differences openly.
Ask questions to help you better understand each other.
Different Core Values
If you’re looking for something different in a relationship, whether it’s a romantic partnership, friendship, or family, there’s no denying that opposites do attract.
Studies show that people tend to seek out partners with similar values, beliefs, attitudes, and personality traits.
In fact, research suggests that we often choose our friends based on how much they match up to us.
But while it might make sense to look for someone whose values align with yours, it turns out that finding someone who shares your core values isn’t always enough to guarantee lasting success.
A recent study found that couples who had very different values still reported being happy together.
While some people might assume that having opposing views makes for a stronger union, the researchers argue that this doesn’t necessarily hold true.
Instead, they suggest that having shared values is what matters most.
The findings come from a survey conducted by the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research and published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences.
Participants included 2,845 heterosexual adults living in the United States.
They completed questionnaires about their relationships, including questions about their level of agreement on issues such as religion, politics, morality, education,
How Can I Make It Last?
High school relationships aren’t easy and maintaining them creates a challenge.
They’re filled with awkward moments, cliques, and drama.
But there are some things you can do to keep it strong.
Making time includes date nights, quality conversations, and even just hanging out.
If you both agree to make time for one another, it will help build trust and strengthen the bond.
Next, try to find common ground outside of your relationship.
Look After Yourself
Take care of yourself and surround yourself with positive influences.
These activities will help you grow into an independent person while still maintaining a solid connection with your partner.
Be Open And Honest
Honesty and openness are like two halves of the same coin.
They make up one side of the equation; the other half lies with integrity, which is about being truthful.
Honesty and openness are important qualities when building relationships because they help people feel safe enough to tell the truth.
When we’re open and honest, we give others complete access to our lives — including our thoughts, feelings, opinions and actions.
We don’t hold anything back. This makes us trustworthy and reliable and brings us closer to our partner.
Prepare For Change
Change, whether it’s physical, emotional, social, financial, etc, is something we all go through.
We also experience changes in our emotions, such as becoming more introverted or extroverted, more sensitive or less sensitive, more or less happy, sadder or happier, calmer or more excitable.
And while some people face these changes quite easily, others find themselves struggling with them.
For those who struggle with change, recognizing and accepting this early on can help us better cope with it.
In fact, research suggests that acknowledging our changing selves helps us feel more comfortable with ourselves and makes us more open to trying out new things.
If you are prepared for change you will be more likely to adapt to changes when they inevitably come in your relationship.
Advantages Of High School Relationships
The advantages of having a girlfriend or boyfriend in high school include increases in self-esteem, social status, giving support and companionship, contributing to the development of sexuality, planting the seeds of self-sufficient and independent life, helping you to better understand what type of person you want to look for in the next one.
High school relationships won’t always last but yuo can learn from them.
However, if you want to have a long-lasting relationship, you need to take steps to ensure that it lasts.
By doing so, you’ll create a foundation that will allow you to weather the inevitable storms that inevitably arise in every relationship.
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