Interested in thoughts on young serious relationships, having been there.(12 Posts)
Inspired by comments on another thread but not wanting to derail that one with unimportant details.
A relationship between 2x 14 yos has been termed "unhealthy" by a number of posters. At 14 yo I was in a "steady" relationship with a boy my age. We were very much in love, and the feelings were no less real than the relationships that followed later. He wasn't my first boyfriend, but the first love. We got a lot of similar comments from family and friends which I didn't understand at the time.
In another time or place 14 yos would be considered more than old enough to marry etc. It is just our social constructs that say they can't. How is an identical relationship at 18 "healthy" but not 4 years earlier?
It's an interesting question. My DS2 has had a girlfriend for 8 months. They're 13-14. My instincts cry "Too young, too young!" and I veer between worrying about what they might get up to, too young, and being a bit dismissive. But when I think back, I was very strongly attached to a boy when I was very young - from 5-10 - and although it was (obviously) entirely innocent, my emotions were real and it was important to me...
Imo it's about people confusing statistics with actual individual cases.
Statistically, of course, it is more likely that very young people will be immature and struggle to have a good, long-lasting relationship.
But that doesn't mean you can look at 15yo A and B, 25yo C and D, and 45yo E and F, and predict which of those actual couples are going to have the best relationship.
I have known middle-aged men and women behave in an incredibly immature fashion, whilst younger people acted with great maturity and dignity.
My niece first fell in love with her boyfriend when she was (I think) 15 and he was a year younger. They are now very happily married and have been together for over a decade.
My best friend at school started going out with her boyfriend when they were both 15; they are now in their fifties and one of the happiest marriages I know.
Of course most of the other relationships that their friends were in at the same time didn't last, and couldn't last- but that doesn't make a difference to them as individuals.
Of course very young people can experience v real love and form strong attachments.
It's the expression of these relationships can take that worry some (me included), particularly if it is a full-on sexual relationship.
Hand-holding and pecks on the cheek and spending a lot of time together I don't think is that unusual from early puberty, but I'd worry if the relationship was to the exclusion of ALL other friendships or interests.
I also think there is a massive difference between exclusive relationships at 14 and 18. Or even 16.
And yes, of course there is a social construct thing going on.
Bear in mind that when marriages between 14-15 year old were common life expectance was much shorter and people were 'adults' much younger.
I don't think it's unhealthy at all, but I think that it can be limiting. Most people grow and change a lot between the ages of, say, 14 and 18, and even 18 and 22 or so. Most people I know who got together very young end up staying together because it's all they've known of adulthood, the thought of being single or with somebody else is quite scary, and although of course not all relationships are abusive some are - and I think there is a larger proportion, although generally this is more common where there is an age gap, with the abusive partner being older than the victim, like a form of grooming.
I think it's a good thing that marriage isn't legal until 18 (without parents' permission) - I would not want my child to get married at 14 (or, TBH, 15 or 16) to somebody they were in love with at 14. Just because you change as a person at that age and in all likelihood you will end up growing apart. It doesn't mean the love is any less valid, it's just something to take into consideration.
Well, I think the important thing to do is not to dismiss it, becaise to do that is belittling the feelings of the 14yo.
Better to accept that they feel strong emotional ties with someone and help navigate them through the minefeild of a relationship.
My parents met and started dating at 14, my dad left the area at 16 but the relationship continued and they got married at 21 and are still happily married and best friends aged 66
That being said if it was my 14 in a serious relationship I would worry how socially limiting a serious relationship was either with a boyfriend or a best friend can be
I was 15 when I had my first serious boyfriend, although I waited until I was (just!) 16 to sleep with him (we'd been together 6 months by then). He was a year older than me. He was definitely my first love, and I still look back on him fondly. We split up when I was 18 and went away to uni.
We were sensible with contraception but a condom split once and I had to take the MAP. I told my mum and she supported me through it.
So I agree with you OP, and I hope I will remember this when my DD is 14 or 15.
It's too young to have a baby though!
When I was 15 I had a 20 year old boyfriend. I got engaged and moved in with him at 16. We were together until I was 19.
I look back now and think, good god if that was my daughter. Having spoken to my mum since I did ask her why on earth she let me, her response was that she was never going too be able to stop me (she was right) and she had to let me find my own way and hope that she had brought me up to be sensible enough to do that.
Then when it all went wrong (which she knew it would) she was there with open arms and no told you so or recriminations. She said she knew if she kept me close it would turn out ok.
I can distinctly remember knowing everything about life as a teen!!!
young teen relationships are very intense ime its all the hormones yes I am sure they love each other and all that but I just think kids are too young to be in serious relationships but it is very real to them so I think adults should respect that,
Dh and I got together as teens and were a teen marriage, and I would support my children if they did the same. I dont think its limiting in the slightest for me personally.
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