Teen Relationships and You

From the desk of Robert Bernhardt

What is a relationship? I’m talking about romantic relationships of course, but the fundamental definition is still not agreed upon by most of those within their definition of a relationship. Further than that, how can a relationship work in the midst of rapidly changing lives in high school, or even beyond that?

I am eighteen years of age, and graduated from High School. I have enjoyed a relationship for three years, and continuing into College. I can’t tell you exactly what will work for your individual tastes and desires out of a romantic bond, but I can tell you what has allowed me to hold onto a rich, fulfilling, and wonderful relationship. 

The key to a relationship is this: talking. Simple, correct? You would be surprised. See, when you are thrown into the transformative, yet strangely merciless, realm of the secondary school, it quickly becomes instinctual in order to close off your emotions and thoughts to the enormous pressure and simply sympathetic classmates. The question becomes, how does one open up properly when you decide to enter a relationship? The main means of this is through sitting your partner, and having a deep discussion upon what the relationship means to each one of you, as well as needs and wants you each have (Notice: Here is where you’ll find most of the ‘red flags’ that would convince you not to build the relationship. An avoidance of talks like these is a definitive ‘red flag’!).

If you don’t understand your partner, there is no substance to a relationship with them, no? After all, the best kind of romantic bonds are those shared with someone you actually understand and respect as a friend, as well as a lover. To achieve this understanding, just actually hang out with them, but not as you think. The key to a good bond is to compromise, and to go out of your way for your partner, to do things they like instead of your own occasionally. This may seem grossly unappealing to most, but this compromise is vitally important to make it work. No two people are the same, and will have different interests. It’s natural, a part of life, but you must acknowledge your and your partner’s interests and enhance them for each other.

One of the largest burdens that most people neglect to realize about these romantic partnerships, is the presence of conflict. Conflict is a necessary evil, something that will always arise and blow up in your face, no matter what steps you undertake in order to avoid it. Whether is miscommunication, lying, annoyance, growing pains, or other, the conflict is going to arise. For that juncture, I have a strategy that always muscles through the conflict, and allows you to simmer off, no matter how bad: take a second to breath, and look at the big picture. Is the argument more important than your relationship with this person? Is the anger worth feeding more so than the love? If the conflict is more important to you, the relationship becomes far less substantial, and ineffective at that. But if you really love them, and you want the bond to work past the issue, then be their friend, lover, and partner. Remind them that you care about them, and that you want to move past. Compromise, cool off, and repair your negativity with fun things you like to do with each other.

The final piece of advice I have is a bit goofy, but has allowed me to realize my priorities and to enjoy life alongside my partner for years, and nurture a love for them that cannot be quelled. I’ve hung my partner’s artwork above my dresser and nightstand. Whenever I wake up, it becomes the first thing I see, and reminds me of their smile. It prompts me to think, as if a mantra of sorts, about how lucky I am and how much I care about that person. I think to myself, “No matter what I do today, I want to make this relationship work.” The advice? Remind yourself, daily, that there’s nowhere in the world you’d rather be than by your partner’s side.

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