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Young Love: The Good, the Bad and the Educational


NOVEMBER 13, 2001

When they fell in love, she was barely into her teens, and he wasn't much older. Some saw a
star-crossed couple who found understanding, joy and maturity in each other's arms. Others saw
impulsive kids whose reckless passion cut them off from family, friends and more appropriate
interests, provoked mood swings, delinquent behavior and experimentation with drugs, and ended in

Romeo and Juliet's story is centuries old, but these two very different views of adolescent romance
live on, often simultaneously, in the minds of bemused parents.

Lately, teenage romance has caught the attention of a number of researchers, who are increasingly
interested in its potentially positive as well as negative effects -- not just on adolescence, but on adult
relationships and well-being.

According to Dr. Wyndol Furman, an editor of the book ''The Development of Romantic Relationships
in Adolescence,'' understanding teenage dating means understanding that adolescence is ''a roiling
emotional caldron whose major fuel -- more than parents, peers or school and almost as much as
those things combined -- is the opposite sex.''

Dr. Furman, a professor of psychology at the University of Denver, said adolescents' lack of social skills
and emotional control can make relationships difficult. Yet, he said, romantic relationships can also be
significant sources of support that offer teenagers fun and companionship, help them forge mature
identities and offer them practice in managing emotions.

''Growing up involves risks,'' he said. ''Parents are naturally concerned about their teens' relationships,
but they shouldn't want them to just stay home.''

Setting guidelines requires an appreciation of the profound differences between 13- and 19-year-olds.
Among the so-called ''tweens'' of middle school, Dr. Furman said, the point of a crush ''is mostly to be
able to say you have a boy- or girlfriend,'' and to start to know the opposite sex. Next, he said, boys
and girls date in groups -- ''you kiss, then go to the movies'' -- and become more interested in the
close companionship sought by older teenagers.

Teenagers' growing capacity for positive romantic relationships has been traced by Dr. Reed Larson, a
professor of human and community development at the University of Illinois. After paging his teenage
subjects at random times during the day and inquiring about their activities and emotions, Dr. Larson
confirmed what parents since Adam and Eve have observed: adolescents are either very happy or
very unhappy much more often than adults, especially concerning romance.

But Dr. Larson correlated their more numerous negative responses to what he called ''a certain
randomness'' and superficiality in their attachments, which make their relationships less rewarding.
Indeed, he said, this dissatisfaction is most pronounced among among the younger, less experienced
teenagers, who ''haven't yet learned how to have fun and get along.''
He observed, ''It take for a teenager to realize that a relationship isn't just an infatuation based
on haphazard attraction, but an entity on which two people with compatible personalities work

Earlier studies of youthful romance tended to focus on its risks and those who were most
vulnerable. A survey conducted by Dr. Jay Silverman, director of violence prevention
programs at the Harvard School of Public Health, published in August in The Journal of
the American Medical Association, reported that about one in five high school girls had
been physically or sexually harmed by a dating partner -- about the same rate at which
adult women report being abused by partners.

Moreover, Dr. Silverman found that compared with girls who had not been abused, the
victims were four to six times as likely to have been pregnant, eight to nine times as likely
to have attempted suicide, three to four times as likely to have used laxatives or vomiting
to lose weight, and three to five times as likely to have used cocaine.

Dr. Silverman said that partner abuse among teenagers was ''typically ignored'' -- even in
youth programs that focused on some of the very problems, like unwed pregnancy and
addiction, that were linked to such violence.

Dating violence occurs across socioeconomic boundaries, he said, and ''like wealthier
abused women, kids from 'nice' families may have to surmount more psychological
barriers to report partner violence.'' Dr. Silverman advised, ''Parents should be more
tuned in to their teenagers' dating and should keep educating themselves and their
children about healthy relationships.''

Violence is not the only risk in teenage relationships. Last December, The Journal of
Health and Social Behavior published a study called ''You Don't Bring Me Anything but
Down,'' which reported that compared with unattached peers, involved adolescents were
somewhat more vulnerable to depression, delinquency, alcohol abuse and problems with
school and parents.

The most likely of all teenagers to become depressed are romantically involved girls ages
12 to 14, said Dr. Kara Joyner, a sociologist at Cornell University, who conducted the
study with Dr. J. Richard Udry, director of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent
Health, based at the University of North Carolina.

But it remains unclear whether being in a relationship invites depression, or whether

melancholic youngsters are more likely to pair up than carefree peers. Dr. Joyner says
''the causal arrow can go both ways.''

The confusion over whether romance creates troubled teenagers, or troubled teenagers
are disproportionately interested in romance, helps account for the widespread
ambivalence about adolescents' dating and relationships, said Dr. Miriam Ehrensaft, an
assistant professor of clinical psychology at the New York State Psychiatric Institute.

After studying the association between teenagers' romances and mental health, she
concluded that such relationships reflected teenagers' previous emotional attachments
with family and peers and helped to predict the quality of later relationships and to show
patterns that are repeated from one generation to the next.

''Before we conclude that adolescent relationships have no positive features,'' Dr.

Ehrensaft said, ''we need to sort out the kids who have pre-existing problems.''
Offering a dark illustration, Dr. Ehrensaft described the hypothetical case of a troubled
girl, whose delinquent behavior reflected a lack of social supports that also put her at
high risk for early pregnancy.

''She quickly becomes committed to a riskier older man in an unsupervised setting, which
is where the bad guys are,'' said Dr. Ehrensaft. ''Very soon, it's hard for outsiders to
penetrate that bond and hard for her to withdraw from it, even if it's abusive.'' Such
couples, she added, ''stack the odds for their children to have similar problems.''

Although romantic relationships have risks, especially for troubled teenagers, Dr.
Ehrensaft said they offered benefits for most -- under certain conditions.

''Historically, parents have monitored adolescent relationships,'' she said, ''but changes
in the social fabric now mean that kids get less of that kind of protection.'' Nonetheless,
she said, ''when healthier kids begin dating, they do more things in groups, maintain
diverse friendships and are supervised.'' Under those conditions, she said, young people
can ''be exposed to the opposite sex's ways and practice skills that will be useful later in

Where romantic relationships are concerned, it may indeed be that practice makes
perfect. Observing that by age 18, romance's negative effect fades away, Dr. Joyner said,
''Maybe we learn something from our early relationships, so that as adults, we're better
off.'' Dr. Miriam Kaufman, a pediatrician and an associate professor at the University of
Toronto Medical School and the author of the book ''Overcoming Teen Depression,''
agreed with Dr. Joyner. Most romantically involved teenagers, Dr. Kaufman said, are not
depressed. Among the possible benefits of young love, Dr. Kaufman lists improved social
skills, knowledge about the opposite sex, new interests like sports or hobbies and -- at a
time of risk taking -- partners who watch out for each other. Raising the question of
''whether the only purpose of having a relationship is to be happy,'' she said that for
teenagers, ''maybe it's educational -- part of their development.''

''Maybe the more they learn about relationships, the better their future ones will be,'' she
continued.Based on modern research, parents of Romeos and Juliets could do worse
than to embrace their own parents' standards for teenage dating: adult supervision and
some basic rules, like curfews. Researchers also urge adults to be alert to signs that a
relationship is too consuming, reduces other social contacts or incites jealousy and
feelings of ownership or coercion -- risk factors for partner abuse that, Dr. Silverman said,
do not necessarily appear early on. For Dr. Furman, red flags are raised by ''precocious
daters'' who pair off before their peers, and by ''uneven, inequitable relationships,'' in
which one partner is controlling and the other dependent. Dr. Ehrensaft said she would
be concerned about the relationships of teenagers who were already depressed or
troubled and about partners who were more than two years apart in age.
Notwithstanding the need for vigilance, she said that parents must come to terms with
the fact that teenagers will have relationships. She urged, ''Rather than saying that's good
or bad, try to help them form positive ones.''Preparation for good dating experiences
begins well before adolescence. ''Parents should give children enough time and attention
so that they're not driven outside to find support,'' Dr. Furman said. ''Adults also need to
teach kids how to scaffold healthy relationships that are supportive, as opposed to
controlling or dependent. Kids need to know that it's the quality of the relationship, not
simply having a boy- or girlfriend, that matters.''Once parents have laid the groundwork,
Dr. Kaufman, said, they should try to, well, mind their own business.''Assume that your
teenager's relationship won't be perfect,'' she said. ''Hope that he or she is learning more
from it than from your lectures on the subject. Then, be there to listen. If you keep your
cool, they'll talk to you more.'' Dr. Kaufman said she suspected that some parents' anxiety
reflected their ''discomfort with the idea of teens enjoying themselves, instead of trying to
get into Harvard.''''Relationships are an even more important part of life than where you
go to college,'' she said. ''And that first flush of love can be really exhilarating. Teens
deserve happiness, too.''Dr. Larson agreed that wise parents balanced being available to
their teenage children with the understanding that the young needed to learn on their
own. To parents seeking additional insight, he said, ''Go back and look at your own love

The Meaning Of Love Defining True Love

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the meaning of love
Can you define love? The definition of love is vague and yet, so simple. All of us fall in
love, but how many of us understand the true meaning of love? Rick Casalos wears
his heart on his sleeve and talks about love, and why he wakes up every morning.

The meaning of love cant really be explained, it has to be experienced.

The definition of love may be two sentences long, but what is love really, and how
does it work?

And how does it make you feel?

The meaning of love

Love I wonder what it really means.

[Read: 10 types of love youll experience in your lifetime]

Is it the feeling that makes me want to jump out with joy?

Or is it that touch that makes me want to skip across the clouds?

I wonder if it is love when I feel happy to see her face, or is it love when I embrace
her passionately?

Its strange but words seem to welcome poverty when we try to find the meaning of

I dont know if Im in love, I ask myself all the time if Im in love.

Defining emotions The definition of love

I really dont know the definition of love because no one has ever showed me what
love really is. They say it is felt, when I embrace my lover, when I hold her palms.
They say it is to be heard, in the rustle of the leaves, in the cool breeze, in the words
of the special person in my life. [Read: 25 relationship rules to experience true love]

They say love is to be seen in the beauty of the world, in the depth of my lovers

Or as some say, is love is to be tasted, like the sweet candy that melts in my mouth,
or the way I melt when my lips meet her lips?
I dont know what the definition of love is, but does love mean sacrifices and pain?
Or is it love when I kill myself for her love? If that is true love, then perhaps, Im not
in love at all. I have never felt like I have sacrificed anything for her, I have readily
given up anything that I could give up to make her happy. [Read: A sweet story to
understand the meaning of unconditional love]

So what then, is the meaning of love?

I have never felt pain when she fought with me, I have understood her better. And I
would never kill myself, why would I want to leave such a beautiful place, and a
beautiful person like her, just to prove that I love her? So am I in love with her, I
dont know.

What is love then?

Perhaps I still dont know what love is, because no one has ever told me what love is.
Ive only read about it in books and listened to songs that try to explain the meaning
of love.

Ive heard songs that say love is like a river, some songs that say love is like an
undying flame, and yet others that say love is like a warm breeze. How can love be so
many different things and yet be the same?

But I do know that my world stops when Im with her. I burn inside and warmth fills
within me as she clasps my hand in hers. I lose sight of the world when I gaze into
her eyes. I dont know what it is that makes me weak when she hugs me. She makes
me feel special when shes around me. But I did tell her that I loved her, but Ive
been thinking about that ever since the day I told her that, is it love really, what I feel
for her? [Read: 25 sweet romantic gestures for everyday life]

Meeting the love of my life

I met Nadia six years ago, in the strangest of places for first meetings. Soon we were
friends. We dated for a year before she accepted my love for her. The memory of
that special night lingers in my mind like it was just last night. We were sitting down
under the stars in the summer heat, and I was just gazing at her beauty in the cool

I was a small boy peeping through the glass window and admiring the most beautiful
object I could ever wish for. She sat beside me, counting the stars that enveloped us.
I sat beside her, counting the skips in my heartbeat. Her tresses played on her cheeks,
and I was wrapped in the tranquil feeling that I always felt around her.

Experiencing the meaning of love

I could never explain it, but I knew the closest word that could explain what I felt for
her was love.

But love was too small a word to explain everything I felt for her. The meaning of
love was just too simple. I just couldnt find it justifiable to explain so many
intangible feelings in a little four letter word. But I did, and on that night, the sun
shone in my heart and the bliss of the first kiss we shared felt like a never ending
fairy tale. [Read: Advice to have a perfect new relationship]

It was a feeling that I still cant describe. I wondered if that was how love felt, like a
beautiful sight that just cant be explained even in a million words, but I knew it was
special. Many years have passed since the day I professed my feelings for her, but I
can still remember it like it was last night.

Understanding the real meaning of love through anothers eyes

A few days ago, I met an old friend of mine. Hes treading his late 80s and is a jolly
man whos always helped me understand the things Ive found hard to understand.
His wife had passed away a long time back, and at some point of our conversation I
asked him how things were since his wife died. He joked that making love to her
wasnt the same anymore! He was only kidding! (I hope)

But then when I asked him what the real meaning of love was, he looked at me
seriously. But his mind seemed to be elsewhere, somewhere far away, where he
could still feel the emotion that seemed to have been extinguished from his life, and
he told me something that I could never forget.
He told me, Rick, you know youre in love when you have a reason to come back
home, a reason to justify your existence. Youll know youre in love when you cant
imagine living without this one person and youll do anything to have her by your
side. You cannot see love, you cannot feel love, but you can feel a bond when youre
around this one person, and you just cannot explain it but it makes you feel special
and taken care of. Love, my friend, is what makes you want to wake up tomorrow.

That was nothing like the definition of love, but yet, it made more sense than
anything else that defined love. [Read: The real signs of a good relationship]

I felt sad for him, but what he said made me understand what love means. I could
only imagine how miserable he felt inside his jovial and happy exterior. So was that
love? I think it was, and I wondered if I felt the same way. I wondered if I felt like
waking up every morning to a brand new day just because I had love in my life.

Your own unique definition of love

Love is a very subjective word, unlike any other word in the world. I think its
something like our fingerprints. No one can understand what another persons
definition of love is, nor can anyone ever replicate another persons love.

Perhaps love is just a word we use when we have to define a feeling that just cant
be described, a feeling that no one else can understand but you.

[Read: The real reason why youre unable to find true love]

I found myself contemplating about love, and what I felt. I heard a lot of scientific
bollocks saying that love is a neural blah and some more blah and another
thousand pages of more scientific blah! But then, I really think that love is something
that is more than just science, its a reason that makes us believe that there is
something beyond our control.

Love is a religion that you really begin to believe in. Love is something that just cant
be explained in a thousand journals, but it can bring tears of joy in your eyes when
you read a letter of a hundred words from your lover. Strange, isnt it? [Read: Tips to
write a romantic love letter]

Me and my love

Ive written a few letters over these years, but I have to accept that I havent written
many to her in the last few years. Actually, I havent written any to her in the last
couple of years is it because I love her less? I dont think so.

I know I still feel warm when I look at her, and I still like staring at her, as she sits
down and laughs watching reruns of Friends. I adore the way she sings while she
takes a lazy shower on a sunny afternoon. I still cant take my eyes off her as she
dances while listening to her favorite tunes.

But I still havent written her a note saying that I love her, in the last few years.
Maybe this is another strange thing about love. Maybe things are just taken for
granted and we just feel like we dont need to remind our better halves that we love
them, anymore. [Read: 30 super tips to keep a guy interested in you]

The memories that define my love

I still remember our first vacation together. It was to a place a few hundred miles
away from home. I was excited and so was she. We were like two little sparrows,
indulging in the delight of isolation and romantic togetherness.

I was just a boy and she was just a girl. I remember how good it felt. Six magical days,
I still remember the way we just sat on a lawn on the last afternoon, and played with
the little flowers that grew on the ground beneath us.

I remember the days when she was away, and I missed her. I remember when I sat
down by myself in a pub and emptied my pitcher of beer all by myself. I saw other
couples around me, I missed her more. I guessed that was love, what else could that
be? I longed for her to come back. I remember the way her voice made my heart
jump, and even though she was a thousand miles away, she still touched my heart.
I have shared so many memories with her, so many special times and a few times
which hurt me a lot.

But weve moved ahead, and weve been there for each other. She knows I still love
her just as much as I used to, but I wish I could let her know that all over again. Love
is felt best when we try to please our partner, isnt it? I can only promise her that the
love I have for her will always be. [Read: Things to talk about in a perfect

I can only promise her that I will love her forever and ever, as long as I can still see
her, and hear her in my heart.

Forgetting the meaning of love as the years pass by

Time can play tricks on memories, I have forgotten to close my eyes when I kiss her,
and Ive stopped kissing her on a particular corner of the street, the way I always
used to as we drove by. I wonder why. My hands were always clasped in hers,
everywhere we went. We even used to eat out in restaurants sitting next to each
other, holding hands, even if that made it harder to eat lobsters, and drink our cokes.

I wonder if she remembers all that. I want all those days to come back to me. I dont
know why Ive stopped those little gestures that mattered so much.

I have so many special memories and times that I can never forget. We have the
funniest pictures together, and a few with those romantic scented candles and ones
with that perfect sunset. I really do love her more than I could love anyone else.

I want to lose my sleep over her happiness, I want to serenade her before I make
love, and I want to sing a soft song in her ears until she falls asleep as she rests her
head over my shoulders. Im young enough to hopefully spend a few decades loving
her, and pleasing her. [Read: What is the right age to get married?]

Is this the true meaning of love?

Perhaps this is what love means, or maybe what I feel for her is more than just love,
maybe its something that I would never be able to explain.

But if love is the only word that I can use to describe the ocean of emotions that well
within my heart, then so be it. But I want her to know that this four letter word is still
too small to explain all that I feel for her, and make up for all the times Ive missed
with her. But if she would understand all that I want to say, when I say that I love her,
then I would just want to say that I would love her until my eyes cant see, my ears
cant hear, and my heart stops beating.

If I were given a chance, then I would love her for longer, as long as I can feel love.

She is the only person who makes me feel so special, and I cant imagine living
without her. I want her to know that I still remember every single moment Ive
shared with her, I want her to know that I still love her just as much as the day under
the stars, when we were younger, and first fell in love.

[Read: 12 steps to create your own happy long term relationship]

I just want her to know that, come hell or high water, I would love her forever After
all, she is the definition of love and the true meaning of love for me, through the
good and the bad. And if someone were to ask me what is love, all Id have to do is
look at her, because theres no other way to define it.
Teenagers in Love
Parents' reactions to teen romance.
Posted Jun 02, 2009
Friends from our childhood or adolescence are special, no matter how much time
has elapsed between visits. These compelling connections are the result of shared
roots during the formative years. Our childhood friends and teenage sweethearts
experienced with us all the wonderful, horrible, boring, and embarrassing moments
that helped to make us who we are today.

Yet, when children are young, parents may regard these relationships as insignificant.
If the family must move to a new community and the children's close friends must be
left behind, so what? They will make new friends, the parents assure them. But, is a
friend as interchangeable as a new toy for an old one, or is there more to friendship
than that? Why are we so elated to rediscover long lost friends in our adult years if,
as some parents believe, they were so dispensable to us as children?

Even more belittled by many parents is a teenager's (or preteen's) love for a
boyfriend or girlfriend. Adults refer to these relationships with demeaning language,
calling them "just puppy love," and these romantic bonds are not taken seriously.
Parents question the ability of teenagers to know what love is, yet they accept their
teenagers' statements, "I love you, Mom & Dad," with full appreciation and at face
value. If adults accept that teenagers can love parents truly, then shouldn't they also
accept that teen romances are "real" love?

Recreational dating is relatively new. Teenagers many years ago married their first
sweethearts right out of high school. These men and women of the World War II
Generation married at younger ages than their Baby Boomer children or their
Generation X or Millennial grandchildren. But education has become prolonged, so
marriage is later.

The age of puberty, however, has dropped. Whatever the reasons for this, reaching
puberty influences the age of first love and first sexual experience. It is rare now to
marry a first love. Today's teenagers date not for mate selection but for fun.
However, the first love experience is no less powerful than it was in the 1940's.

Adults who underestimate the strength of the bond-- or the impact of the loss -- of a
first love may have forgotten what a blow it was when they lost their own first loves.
They may even try to comfort teenagers with lighthearted lessons: a surprising
number of men and women wrote to me to bitterly complain about parents who
joked years ago, "Don't worry! Boyfriends/girlfriends are like buses... a new one
comes along every ten minutes!" This was not helpful, and it was not funny. The loss
of a first love can be so crushing to some teenagers that they become suicidal.
The pain of the breakup will subside with time, but the love may stay buried and
dormant for decades. While most men and women find satisfying partners after first
love breakups, there are adults who spend their married years aware that
"something is missing." They continue to think about their lost first loves. Perhaps if
they had married their first loves when they were younger, they tell me, they could
have formed lasting and fulfilling marriages, but they will never know. These
romances were interrupted - often by their parents' interference.

In my recent survey of 1600 people (who had never tried a reunion with a lost love),
ages 18 to 92, 56% of the participants said they would not want to go back to their
first loves, 19% were not sure -- but 25% said they would!

Even the adults who had no current interest in their first loves, including those who
had only bitter memories, revealed that these early romances influenced their
life-long attitudes about love, and even about themselves.

The longer I study lost loves and lost love reunions, the clearer it becomes to me
how important young love really is. First love, young love, is indeed real love. This
intense love does not come along every ten minutes. For some people, it may come
only once in a lifetime.

Copyright 2010 by Nancy Kalish, Ph.D.

Revised 2013
Teen Trend Report Overview:
Teen Trend Report about Teenagers and LoveVISITS: Over 4,900 teens and college
students visited the writing contest during the month's writing
prompt (April 2014) from across the US (all 50 states) and dozens of international
TEENS and SURVEY DATA: 138 students between junior high school and college
fully completed the national survey about mental illness and health issues.
Jump to the Statistics about Teens and Love
ESSAY THEMES: Out of all of the topics discussed, several major themes were
collectively revealed by teens and their feelings about love.
Jump to the Essay Theme Analysis writing contest summary details
STUDENT ESSAYS: 200+ teen bloggers submitted a qualifying essay to the "Why
Must I Be a Teenager In Love?" writing prompt.
Jump to the Links for the Essays about Teenagers in Love
ESSAY WINNER: Place winners, along with Runners Up and finalists were selected.
Jump to the Essay Finalists
RESOURCES: View the teenagers in love resources we provided for review during
the writing contest period.
Jump to the Resources

PART I: Statistics about Teenagers and Relationships

Before submitting their writing contest essay, teens were asked to
complete a survey containing some questions about their views on relationships and
love. Here are the teen statistics from the survey from the
students who fully completed the poll...
Statistics about Teens and Love61% of teens have been "in love"
Boys: 64% of teenage boys have said they have been in love
Girls: 59.6% of teenage girls have been in love
10% of teens spend more than $450 on prom. Download the full PDF report below
to see the full spending trends on how much money teens spend on prom
94% of teens believe in true love. Surprisingly, this is the exact same percentage
for both male and female teenagers.
49% of teenagers believe in "love at first sight." Males are a little bit romantic, with
50% believing in love at first sight while 48% of female teens say they believe in it.
60% of students think that the perception of teenagers in love is "negative" instead
of positive. Boys tend to think more positively about love than girls, with 47% of
males saying that the perception of teenagers in love is "negative" while 64%
females think teenage love is cast in a negative light.
46% of teens have had a friend "dump them" in favor of hanging out with a
boyfriend or girlfriend. This is more common with girls than boys. 32% of boys
have had this happen to them verses 51% of girls
18% of teens admitted that a relationship has negatively impacted relationships with
their close friend. Male friendships seem to suffer the most when a "significant
other" is introduced...
Boys: 23.3% of boys say a relationship has negatively impacted their friendships
when they are dating.
Girls: 16.3% of girls say that a relationship has negatively impacted friendships.
61% of teens say they have been in a relationship. This statistics is higher for girls
than boys. 47% of boys say they have been "in a relationship" while 65% of girls
have said this.
66% of high school and college students admit to having had their heart broken.
This happens more to girls than boys (70% of girls have had their heart broken verses
53% of boys)
Teens and RelationshipsHonesty/Trust, Friendship, and Possessing Similar
Values/Morals rank as the #1, #2, and #3 (respectfully) most important factors in
having a "lasting love relationship." Having a similar "social-economic status"
ranked last.
Boys: Male teenagers rank Honesty/Trust, Similar Values/Morals, and Similar
Interests as the top three most important factors in a long lasting relationship
(Physical Attraction came in a close #4).
Girls: Female teens rank Honesty/Trust, Friendship, and Mutual Respect as the top
three most important factors in a relationship (Similar Values/Morals ranked #4).
92% of teens want to get married at some point in their lives.
Boys: This statistics is actually higher for males than females. 97% of teenage
boys want to get married.
Girls: Compare that to 90% of teen girls who claim marriage is in their future.
24 - 26 years old is the "ideal age" teens feel for getting married. Both male and
female teens selected this as the ideal age range for marriage.
20% of teens have had a boyfriend or girlfriend their parents "disapproved of"
60% of high school students plan to break-up with their current boyfriends or
girlfriends when they leave for college. This percentage is similar for both males
and females.
70% of teenagers text their boyfriend/girlfriend MORE than talk on the phone.
Boys tend to text more than girls (73.5% of boys text more than talking on the phone
verses 69% of girls)
12% of teenagers spend more time communicating with a boyfriend/girlfriend via
Facebook than in person.
39% of teens have NOT told their parents about their current relationship.
Statistics about Teens and LoveTo read the full survey results, click the PDF icon to
view or save the free download.

SOURCE: All statistics above were collected by as part of its

monthly teen trend reports containing statistics and writing contest prompt
responses from teens on real world issues.

NOTE: If you'd like the separate reports that outline the male verses female
responses, please contact us and we can email those documents.


After taking the survey, students submitted their writing contest essays to From the 200+ qualifying teen essay submissions, several themes

Teenagers and LoveThemes and Trends from the Essays: "Why Must I Be a
Teenager in Love?"
Passively Optimistic: Nearly all teens agreed that love is amazing, magical, and worth
fighting for. These writers had either experienced the elusive love themselves, or
had friends or parents who were high school sweethearts. Even the teens who wrote
negatively about teen love/relationships thought love was the best possible feeling.
Mostly Pessimistic: Despite placing love on a pedestal, the majority of teens thought
negatively of teenaged experiences with love. The reasons for this varied: teens
arent mature enough, responsible enough; they should focus on school and college,
first, before getting into a messy relationship that will inevitably end badly; or that
teens care only about sex and not about real love.
Society & The Media: Even though love is magical, society and the media make
teenage love look flawless, when it is not. Many teens pointed the finger at romance
movies and books for making teen relationships seem like they happen without
effort. Love may be fun, but it is also hard work.
Self-Love: Interestingly, a lot of teens agreed that it is important for a person to love
themselves before they begin to think about loving another person. If you cant look
inside yourself and see how great you are, how will you love another person?
What Is Love?: Teen love is pure and innocent. Its trusting someone else to the
fullest extent. Its being with your best friend. Love is indescribable, and even though
it might hurt in the end, it is worth the pain.


Teen Bloggers on StageofLife.comImmediately below, you'll find links to the winning essay, our runners-up, semi-finalists, and all qualifying
essays from college students and teenagers about love and relationships.

Please take a few moments to read an essay or two, especially our winner,
runners-up, and finalists.

If you have the time, make a comment on the essays you enjoyed the most. We
know the student writers will love hearing your positive input (they'll get an email
notifying them if you comment on their writing contest entry).

NOTE: In addition to the sponsor package of gift cards from IHOP and Papa John's,
the top three finalists mentioned below also received a personally autographed copy
of a book from one of our participating national authors who support the writing contest. We are honored by the professional writing
community for donating books to award the teen bloggers who participate in Stage
of Life's student writing contests.
Writing contest winnerWriting Contest Winner & Finalists

First Place:
Teenagers in Love: Only time can tell by gayatrigkrishnan (There is a time for
everything, including love) student essay writers2nd Place:

Teenagers in Love: What Shakespeare Never Taught Us by KT (Young love is innocent
and new)

3rd Place:
Teenagers in Love: Shes in Europe by Josh the Fool (A long distance relationship
makes love complicated)
Writing Contest Runners UpRunners Up (in no particular order)
Teenagers in Love: Caged Birds Can Still Fly by Brinette (She fell in love with her best
girl friend)
Teenagers in Love: I wore my heart on the sleeve of his flannel shirts by sohocarter
(This teen has held a lot of hands, but only one pair was important)
Teenagers in Love: Mutually Awkward by changingtheworld97 (This teen didnt
expect to fall in love)
Teenagers in Love: Teen Love by ObviousCat (The cynic in this teen melted away and
saw love for what it is)
Teenagers in Love: I Just Dont Have Time by jcb (This teen feels awkward on dates)
Teenagers in Love: Well, Sort Of by aiherrera (Teens have a hard time knowing who
Mr. or Ms. Right is)
Teenagers in Love: You Dont Forget the First Crush by MadHats (She fell in love with
her best friend) writing contest submissions

Read teen essays from national writing contest

Read All Qualifying Teen & College Essays for the Writing Contest -
"Why Must I Be a Teenager in Love?"

The essays below were all written by Stage of Life teen writers for this monthly teen
writing contest...

Optimistic Stories from Teens about Love...

Teenagers in Love: Did Disney get it wrong? by heylyn (Love makes you better)
Teenagers in Love: When you know, you know by mscott16 (Being young and in love
is about being with the person you love)
Teenagers in Love: I Love You Because Youre Human by Cynthiak93 (Her boyfriend
helped her fall in love with herself)
Teenagers in Love: Chapstick Kisses and Holding Hands Under the Table by Millie
Jack (Her boyfriend helped her depression)
Teenagers in Love: Not a Bad Thing by superman27 (First break ups can be very hard)
Teenagers in Love: Not Quite an Expert Opinion by LiterarilyMinded (This teen hasnt
felt love yet)
Teenagers in Love: The Unpredictable by alana123 (She has been with the same boy
for 4 years)
Teenagers in Love: Its Something Real by sfblack12 (You will find love when you stop
looking for it)
Teenagers in Love: What is Love? by lexileataylor99 (She is glad to have fallen in
love)Teenagers in Love by jeneralynn (Lots of people in her town are high school
Teenagers in Love: Whats it really like? by tiffani_e (True love is wanting to be with
someone when you arent)
Teenagers in Love: Flickering Flame by Lucy Lee (This teen fondly remembers her
Teenagers in Love: He became my best friend by hannahbanana22 (This teen has
been with the same guy for 5 years)
Teenagers in Love: Is it A, B, C, or D? by bochi_tries84 (She has had a lot of
Teenagers in Love: Unrequited Lurve by MadHats (This teen wrote a love letter to his
Teenagers in Love: What Shakespeare Never Taught Us by KT (Young love is innocent
and new)
Teenagers in Love: Shes in Europe by Josh the Fool (A long distance relationship
makes for a complicated love)
Teenagers in Love: The definition of a first love by KL51607 (Love is beautiful and
Teenagers in Love: Fairytales Do Exist by StephanieV06 (Her friend has the perfect
Teenagers in Love: A Stranger and the Stars by midan1996 (Love makes you
passionate and brave)
Teenagers in Love: An Acceptance by AnnMarie (Her love was short and sweet)
Teenagers in Love: Reckless by marisawritestoomuch (This teen was excited about
being in love)
Teenagers in Love: Our eyes caressing new dreams of the future by Sarah.Sarah
(Love triumphs all)
Teenagers in Love: An Ode to Love by SailsClark (Every love is special in its own way)
Teenagers in Love: A West African teen versus his society by Kofi Akosah (Young love
had no place in this teens society)
Teenagers in Love: The Discovery by erindickman (This teen thought love was a myth,
until she fell in love)
Teenagers in Love: Love is love by carly.thompson.7731 (No one is perfect until you
fall in love)
Teenagers in Love: The reality by jadedecker (Love is for everyone)
Teenagers in Love: A Stream of Consciousness by jennyspi97 (She thinks she may
have found the one)
Teenagers in Love: Stand By Me by JacobTheValkyrie (This teen lost the girl of his
Teenagers in Love: A Memory by rezartam (She recalls the moments she fell in love)
Teenagers in Love: Is true love a feeling? Or not? by StaceyLove28 (Love is not a
feeling, but an effort)
Teenagers in Love: Musings of an Inexperienced Lover by GabrielaMernin (Love is a
sham we need)
Teenagers in Love: Pure, Simple Love in the Most Innocent Form by georgiaraber
(High school love is pure)
Teenagers in Love: I see it every day by nichole.meyer3 (She drives by a high school
and sees teens in love)
Teenagers in Love: Can That Happen? by sledge (Teen love is possible)
Teenagers in Love: The Dream Relationship by cslam (This teen fell in love with her
dream boy)
Teenagers in Love: Unexpected, Imperfect & Wondrous by indy18 (Love is
complicated, but worth it)
Teenagers in Love: The Truth by leximeyer (Teen relationships prepare us for real
Teenagers in Love: True Love? by PeetaDarylTeo (She only one boyfriend, but he was
Teenagers in Love: Probably Just One of the Dozen by Lanilynn99 (Love used to be
taken much more seriously)
Teenagers in Love: Caged Birds Can Still Fly by Brinette (She fell in love with her best
girl friend)
Teenagers in Love: Crazy, Stupid Love by velociraptorrrrx (Love is stupid, but
important)Teenagers in Love by (She has been with her
love for many years)
Teenagers in Love: Is Teenage Love Real? by cwever (Teenage love helps us blossom
and grow)
Teenagers in Love: The Power of Love by Sir Jew12 The Great (The one is out there; it
just may take some time to find)
Teenagers in Love: I wore my heart on the sleeve of his flannel shirts by sohocarter
(This teen has held a lot of hands, but only one pair was important)
Teenagers in Love: Who Said True Love Doesnt Exist? by nawalia2213 (This teen got
engaged to her best friend)
Teenagers in Love: Lovely strange by Rhondaa23 (This teen met her boyfriend at a
Teenagers in Love: The Meaning of Love by Riajan (This teen loves the thrill of a
Teenagers in Love: Sighs from the Depth by Ancient Sunlight (This teen had his heart
broken, but was not unhappy with the experience)Teenagers in Love by jonas08
(This teen looks forward to being in love)
Teenagers in Love: What is Love? by jjbaldwin (Love is getting butterflies)
Teenagers in Love: Roller Coaster by allison62997 (Dating is fun, even if its not
Teenagers in Love: Mutually Awkward by changingtheworld97 (This teen didnt
expect to fall in love)
Teenagers in Love: Teen Love by ObviousCat (The cynic in this teen melted away and
saw love for what it is)
Teenagers in Love: Its Not Always a Happy Ending by kylievarelas (This teen went
through a tough break, but that didnt shake her faith in love)
Teenagers in Love: My First Real Love by looslichelsea (She holds onto the memories
of her first love with fondness)Teenagers in Love by sdeulus (He swallowed his fear
and asked a pretty girl for her number)
Teenagers in Love: That One-Sided Love Changed Me by That Uzzlang Girl (This teen
fell in love with a boy who barely knew her)
Teenagers in Love: Love at First Sight by girlygirl3 (Love is worth holding on to)
Teenagers in Love: He doesnt even know I exist! by brianna_rameriez (If you are
patient, God will find a love for you)
Teenagers in Love: She doesnt even know how I feel by NJGagnon (Love is an
amazing feeling)
Teenagers in Love by mexican258 (Teens tend to get obsessed with relationships,
but overall love is worth it)
Teenagers in Love: Crush at First Sight by missannat08 (This teen remembers her first
Teenagers in Love: Not Only Does He Hold My Hand, But He Holds My Heart by
Jamiesparano (This teen is in love)
Teenagers in Love: Something a lot of teens go through by mtejeda (Love makes
people crazy)
Teenagers in Love: Is it real? by janelle_husky (Love is something only a few people
experience in high school)
Teenagers in Love: It Is Real by adrianaalejo (Love is innocent and pure)
Teenagers in Love: Perfectly Irrational by victor.jimenez (This teen is in love with a
memory)Teenagers in Love by llexxii__ (Love is a drug we crave)
Teenagers in Love by aklawlor (Love is worth the heartbreak and drama)
Teenagers in Love: It could be pointless by lbwiebe (Love is important to hold onto)
Teenagers in Love: A Letter to My Future Husband by angelicalagony (This teen
wonders what her future love life holds)

Pessimistic Stories from Teenagers about Love

Teenagers in Love: Been there, done that! by hcastor (Teens are too young to know
real love)
Teenagers in Love: What love is to me by Geeky Greek (Love is a beautiful but cruel
Teenagers in Love: I Want Real Love, Not The Stuff Hallmark Tries To Sell You by Alli.
O (She doesnt think shes ever seen a normal relationship before)
Teenagers in Love: LAmour by Fred Jenkins (This teen thinks falling in love is
pointless right now)
Teenagers in Love: Second Guessing by lionjin (This teen doesnt have time for
relationships anymore)
Teenagers in Love: Do I Believe in High School Love? by swens08 (Dont limit yourself
to dating one person in high school)
Teenagers in Love: The Directors SonTrue Story by Tia111 (She realized breaking
up with her boyfriend was a mistake)Teenagers in Love by KPederson (If teens try
harder in relationships, they wouldnt end up so unhappy)
Teenagers in Love: Is love real? by tlaws (Teens just want sex, not love)
Teenagers in Love: Are you kidding me?! by Janet303 (She thinks teenagers need to
calm down about love)
Teenagers in Love: Teenage love relationships by babybull18 (Just have fun in high
school, even with relationships)
Teenagers in Love: The Disgusting Truth by moriahnew (She thinks her generation
needs a reality check)
Teenagers in Love: Why Must I Be A Teenager In Love?: Dont Pull A Eugene by
gvachon (This teen wasted her first kiss on someone she realized she didnt like)
Teenagers in Love: Not Like the Movies by theatregirl123 (This teen loves 80s
romantic comedies)
Teenagers in Love: Why Must I Be A Teen In Love? by alonabarnett (She cheated on
her boyfriend)
Teenagers in Love: I Just Dont Have Time by jcb (This teen feels awkward on dates)
Teenagers in Love: The Hopes and Realities by AT (Young love is wild and
reckless)Teenagers in Love by stewy23 (This teen fell in love with a girl who didnt
reciprocate his feelings)
Teenagers in Love: An Antithesis by dwarvenprincess (This teen makes fun of the
idea of love)Teenagers in Love by 5novak (Teenagers are not emotionally ready for
Teenagers in Love: Love story by dannonshumway (Teens dont take love seriously)
Teenagers in Love: My view of the subject by Corwyn (Teens get hurt too easily)
Teenagers in Love: Waste of a heartache by mushka841 (Girls are forbidden to have
relationships with boys outside of their family in this teens school)
Teenagers in Love: Still waiting by kaavya1997 (Love could happen, but it cant be
Teenagers in Love: The fading colors of youth by mikayjavier (Her boyfriends mom
intervened in their relationship)
Teenagers in Love: Things I Will Never Get To Say To Your Face by mmklock732 (This
teen was not very romantic)
Teenagers in Love: How I Learned Boys Are Dumb by mynameislynn (Her ex
unexpectedly broke up with her)
Teenagers in Love: What is love? by kni571 (Teens are too young to really
love)Teenagers in Love by CSeely (Enjoy life now, rather than worrying about a
Teenagers in Love: Lesson Learned by KDP (Love is often confused for other feelings
when youre young)
Teenagers in Love: The Untold Truth by dyllanheald (This teen doesnt believe in
Teenagers in Love: Love is Dead by Dylan_Burnell (He doesnt understand why girls
dont care when he tries to be nice)
Teenagers in Love by RaShe03 (Love is more mature than most teens are)
Teenagers in Love: The Unnecessary Love by ellenmcloutier95 (Teens dont need
Teenagers in Love: A Peek into the Secrets of the Stars by severalatoms (This teen
fell in love with a boy who didnt feel the same)
Teenagers in Love: Fake Feelings by bobbyshirk (True love is best seen in families)
Teenagers in Love: The true meaning of love by Christian.P (Teenagers tend not to
think love through)
Teenagers in Love: Past Versus Present by RioVillalobos (The past was an easier time
to fall in love)
Teenagers in Love: What Does it Mean? by jchat11 (Teenaged love is obnoxious)
Teenagers in Love: An Inescapable Vortex of Doom by Bgunnarson (When youre not
ready for a relationship, love hurts)
Teenagers in Love: Is it real? by bebarrios (Only 2% of high school sweethearts
Teenagers in Love: Vulnerability by bbigday (There is nothing wrong with being
single)Teenagers in Love by lanekohl (Love doesnt usually last in high school)
Teenagers in Love: Is there a specific meaning for love? by kpalmer07 (Teens have a
hard time grasping the concept of love)
Teenagers in Love: Sitting on a Bench in Square Park by iChloe98 (Her boyfriend
broke up with her, leaving her feeling alone)
Teenagers in Love by cwh397 (Love has its good and bad)
Teenagers in Love: The Nightmare Prom Has Become by marycaffrey (Prom is
supposed to be magical)
Teenagers in Love: Romantic Comedies Are Lies by RazzleDazzled81 (This teen had a
bad first date)
Teenagers in Love: Moving On by jewllllls (This teen is having a hard time moving
from her first love)
Teenagers in Love: Societys Perception by desenwein (Society doesnt always
portray teens correctly)
Teenagers in Love: Its not all its cracked up to be by giannadodgion (Teens confuse
being in like with being in love)
Teenagers in Love: A Great High School Experience by The Dude (Prom without a
date is pure hell)
Teenagers in Love by mandirose716 (Teens are desperate for companionship)
Teenagers in Love: I Wouldnt Know by alialipops (Society blows teen love out of
Teenagers in Love: Or just a game by theboss7915 (Social media makes break ups
much worse)
Teenagers in Love: Isnt Your Last by jbrooks1199 (Your first relationship isnt your
Teenagers in Love: Well, Sort Of by aiherrera (Teens have a hard time knowing who
Mr. or Ms. Right is)
Teenagers in Love by rsherrin (This teen is grateful he doesnt date yet)
Teenagers in Love: No Need to Rush by acpedersen (High school is stressful enough
as it is without relationships involved)
Teenagers in Love: My Opinions by joel_boersma (Its too early to try to find
someone to marry)
Teenagers in Love by cjga (True love in high school is one in a million)
Teenagers in Love: Love in High School by makaylanavila (There are too many
distractions in high school to fall in love)
Teenagers in Love: It was never love by khushboo savita (This teen isnt sure if shes
ever felt love)
Teenagers in Love by Native_Singer (Some teens dont think of their life goals before
Teenagers in Love: Love? by Skylar (Teens arent capable of real love)
Teenagers in Love: I Txt U, U Txt Me by Stoich91 (Technology was changed the dating
Teenagers in Love: Not Quite by DanaMulligan (This teen is afraid she has a limited
number of I love yous)
Teenagers in Love: Its All in Our Imaginations by Delaney (Teens arent capable of
real love)
Teenagers in Love: Its ridiculous and unnecessary by stevenkirky (Love is a spiraling
vortex of irony)
Teenagers in Love: Is it real? by smccreath (Love sometimes consumes people for the
Teenagers in Love: But how? by Dakayla Dabney (Love is worth waiting for)
Teenagers in Love: One-Sided Story by cleighopatra (She fell for a boy who is known
for leading girls on)
Teenagers in Love: I Often Wondered Why I Fell For Him by melissabaca3357 (She
had a long and complicated relationship)
Teenagers in Love: Society Nowadays by jhylton (Teens are too focused on having
Teenagers in Love: Or confused by iaon.griesheimer (He thinks teen girls are too
controlling, and that teen boys dont respect girls)
Teenagers in Love: Love is a crazy thing by maciasn (Its not necessary to be in a
relationship in high school)
Teenagers in Love: Love is as long as my fingernails by camerondallaslover (Her date
left her in the road)
Teenagers in Love: The Truth by IDConker (Love is pointless)
Teenagers in Love: A summer story by Firewriath (This teen thought he fell in love)
Teenagers in Love: Maturity is the Real Question by futurejournalist (Are teens
mature enough to be in love?)
Teenagers in Love by annie_mae9 (Dont love someone until you really trust them)
Teenagers in Love: The Truth by breenicole (Teens arent mature enough to date)
Teenagers in Love: This is a Joke Right? by tpe223 (This teen gets a kick out of
watching bad high school relationships)
Teenagers in Love: The Real Story Behind It by NP5 (Teens need to step back and
think about whether or not they are really in love)
Teenagers in Love: Rarely Exists by breannapaige21 (Teens have to figure out
themselves before they can fall in love)

Neutral Stories from Teens about Love

Teenagers in Love: Indecisively in Love by ibiebprofen (This teens life has revolved
around the same guy since 8th grade)
Teenagers in Love: Riding to Forever by GiDipasquale (He got into a car accident with
the girl he loved from afar)
Teenagers in Love: Great Guy Vs. Troublemaker by suzanneu (She was caught
between two guys she liked)
Teenagers in Love: The Sidelines by Amzies (She wants to be noticed by her crush)
Teenagers in Love: Theres a Price by daniellewoo (Teenagers are naturally
self-centered, so being in love requires a lot of effort)
Teenagers in Love: Only time can tell by gayatrigkrishnan (There is a time for
everything, including love)
Teenagers in Love: My Proof of Love by (She lost the person she loved most)
Teenagers in Love: The Hype About Prom by vfey123 (More girls should ask guys to
prom)Teenagers in Love by Esantiago (Shes glad she didnt fall in love in high school)
Teenagers in Love: Obsession or Love? by kbor1501 (This teen was obsessed with a
boy in 8th grade)
Teenagers in Love: How do you know? by Hunt18 (This teen was in a complicated
Teenagers in Love: Hope is the Thing with Feathers by icybluehue (Teenage love isnt
bound to last, but she cant help indulging in a crush)
Teenagers in Love: I Loved Him by Shringi (This teen didnt want to admit she was in
Teenagers in Love by macdaddy35 (There is difference between love and being in
Teenagers in Love: Sexy 1From Public to Private School by jmiller (Teen love is like
finding a job)
Teenagers in Love: You Never Think Itll Happen To You by jaymie_leann (In
retrospect, this teen knows she was in love with an old boyfriend)
Teenagers in Love: Its not easy by zhansen (This teen wants to focus on school and
having fun)
Teenagers in Love: You Dont Forget the First Crush by MadHats (She fell in love with
her best friend)
Teenagers in Love: One Size Fits All by pizzasteeeve (Do whatever makes you happy)
Teenagers in Love: Outside Looking In by Gingersnap (We have the rest of our lives
for love)
Teenagers in Love: Is there such a thing? by VS1026 (Teen love might exist in college,
but not high school)
Teenagers in Love: Not as Simple as You Think by evfc22 (Love is complicated and
hard to find)
Teenagers in Love: It Started on the Ship by rabience (This teen didnt have the guts
to tell his crush he liked her)
Teenagers in Love: Under Pressure by Nalabala (Teens should consider other things
in their life before dating)
Teenagers in Love: Then VS. Now by sadiesarinske (Her parents met in high school
and fell in love)
Teenagers in Love: Or so they think by colestevens (This teen wants to focus on
Teenagers in Love: And how expectations kill it by saketsek (Teens set high
expectations for relationships and love)
Teenagers in Love: From an Unqualified Insiders Opinion by SMSchmier (Teenage
love is an epidemic)
Teenagers in Love: Not Experienced by mraygoza (This teen wants to fall in love, but
not be embarrassed or controlled)
Teenagers in Love: Unrealistic Hopes by SummerOsbourne (Dont have high
expectations about relationships in high school)
Teenagers in Love: What is Love? by rni21 (This teens not sure what love is)
Teenagers in Love: My view on young love by Trinken (Everyone experiences love
Teenagers in Love by LauraWilliams (This teen wants to focus on school, but shes
aware you dont choose to fall in love)
Teenagers in Love: My view on young love by Trinken (Everyone experiences love

Misc. Stories from Teens about Love

Teenagers in Love: An Expectation by michaelalove97 (Teens should focus their

effort on falling in love in high school)
Teenagers in Love: True love no matter what hell do by ShakyeB (This teen speaks
about her relationship with god)
Teenagers in Love: The Mirror by wevegotthesedays (Self-love is possible)
Teenagers in Love: Ive Never Forgotten the Love of Our Friendships by ahonynikki
(She feels completed by her best friend)
Teenagers in Love by meganbartlet (Love comes in many forms)
Teenagers in Love: Infatuated with the Written Word by PHILosophical (This teen
loves writing)
Teenagers in Love by tta230 (Sports were this teens high school love)
Teenagers in Love: My cat Spike by donkey (This teen loves his cat)
Teenagers in Love: Prom: the new wedding? by TheOneGirlFromOhio (Prom season
is out of control)