Can teens experience true love?

Bayleah Vogel and Zoe Collins

Although it may not be how it is often portrayed in the movies, high school it is a time for growing and making memories for most. Often among these memories are friendship, responsibility, stress, and love.

Well I say love, but what I mean is what people in high school consider to be love (a.k.a. very strong like). And yes, I may seem biased because in my entire 15 years of life so far, I’ve never had a romantic relationship (aside from Evan Miller claiming that we dated for three days in the sixth grade which definitely never happened.)

But the sole reason why I have never dated anyone is because of the fact that I believe that romantic love is not something that can actually occur between two people in high school.

Just to be clear, when I say love, I don’t mean the type of love that people have for their parents, siblings, friends, etc. I mean the type of love where two people have a genuine, romantic attraction and connection with each other that is so strong that people want to spend the rest of their lives together.

With that in mind, there are various reasons why I believe that love is not a real thing in high school.

I don’t believe high school students experience love because they have underdeveloped minds. According to the Health Encyclopedia written by the University of Rochester Medical School, “The rational part of a teen’s brain isn’t fully developed and won’t be until age 25 or so.”

This basically means that the part of the brain that is responsible for responding to situations with the best possible judgement is not fully developed for teens, thus making it difficult for teens to truly understand their feelings and their judgement.

Even if teens may be completely convinced that they are in love, it is likely that they are just confused about their feelings. They may think that what they’re feeling is love, but in reality what they are feeling is a strong sense of admiration.

Not only are teenage brains not completely developed, but their hormone levels are increased significantly. According to an article in the July 2005 Harvard Mental Health Letter, “The adolescent brain pours out adrenal stress hormones, sex hormones, and growth hormone.”

When hormones are high, teens often start experiencing changes: acne, growth spurts, increased puberty, and a strong desire for sex. That desire to partake in sexual activities can impair their minds in various ways.

These hormones can make teens act differently towards a person they are sexually attracted to, which could mean they are not acting like their true self.

In my opinion, it’s not possible to fall in love with someone who isn’t their true self around me.

When all of these pieces of information come together, it convinces me that love just can’t be a real thing in high school. Teen minds lack the maturity to actually understand what love is.

All of the cliché high school movies feature that one it couple, the ones who rule the school and seem so sickeningly in love it almost hurts. It makes you wonder, can you really be in love in high school?

Of course you can be in love in high school; there isn’t an age limit on love. 

Love is a thing that we all experience: you love your family, you love your friends, and sometimes someone comes into your life and you find yourself being in love with them as well.

Teenagers get a bad reputation: adults expect teens to be mature and act like adults, but then other adults still treat teens as if they were children. People have this idea that teenagers aren’t capable of having strong emotions toward one another, and teen emotions are often dismissed as “just a crush” or even just sexual desires.

Parents typically find a way to disregard teenagers’ feelings and relationships, and act as if their emotions aren’t valid. The blame usually goes to teenage hormones and the way the brain is still “a work in progress.”

It’s true that the brain doesn’t fully develop until teens aren’t still teens, but are in their mid 20’s, but that doesn’t mean teens can’t feel and understand love.

The concept of love vs lust is something that is argued a lot. Many people find themselves trying to decipher if they’re really in love or if they just feel a strong physical attraction towards their significant other.

But love and lust go together hand in hand; they’re both needed in a relationship. Sexual attraction is part of a romantic relationship and it’s hard to keep the relationship alive if that attraction is missing.

An example of teenage love is the concept of high school sweethearts. Marrying a high school sweetheart is not unheard of, and the idea of transitioning from children into adults with another person is something many want to experience.

But it doesn’t have to be for life to be love.

Teenagers have the potential for growth as they learn about themselves and other people, gain experience in how to manage these feelings and develop the skills of intimacy.

Falling in love takes some getting used to, no matter what age group you’re in. All of the different emotions, mood swings, needs and desires are things that romantic relationships have to adapt to.

Love is something that takes a different amount of time for people, and there isn’t really a set timeline to love. For some, it happens naturally and for others it may take more work.

During relationships, people can find themselves changing. Sometimes the change happens together and can bring people closer, and sometimes the change can push people apart.

Just because people are in a relationship doesn’t mean they have to be in love forever. Love can change you in ways that will go further than your relationship.

Being a teenager in love is possible; just because teens are in high school doesn’t mean they cannot handle relationships.