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Life and Religion

Teen romances struggle to make the grade as years go by
What are the odds of high school sweethearts staying together?
 
Published Thursday, June 13, 2013
by Amanda Raymond

Hollis Dameron went to college believing her romantic relationship was going to last. She had been dating her boyfriend for two years, including one year of long-distance courting when he went to college a year earlier.

“We…planned on finishing college and getting married,” said Dameron, a senior at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Things did not work out that way.

According to professorshouse.com, only about 2 percent of high school sweethearts get married. Though there are many reasons why these couples don’t work out, Charlotte relationship expert and author Elaine Stevens said the break-ups are based on growth, change and distance.

First off, most high school relationships differ from those in college in terms of maturity. Stevens said that although many find their first loves in high school, priorities change once they get into their early 20s. Stevens said that as the college career progresses, picking a guy who will be a good father becomes an important factor for women.

“In high school, we like the cute guy, or we like him because he’s smart. Or we like him because he’s the captain of the football team,” she said. “But when you get to college, I think after freshman year you’re just a little more serious about where you want to go, what you want to do. You’re starting to think more about your future.”

Dameron, a High Point resident, said her relationship did not work out because they both changed in college. The pair broke up during her freshman year at UNC.

“When you start dating in high school at the ages of 14 and 16, by the time you are 20 and 22 you realize that you are different than you were in high school,” said Dameron, 20. “I realized that mainly due to our incompatibilities we wouldn’t work out in a marriage or family setting.”

Relationships have the potential to end in college, but that doesn’t mean there should be widespread break-ups on graduation day. With all of today’s technology, couples can keep love alive despite the distance.

“If you’re in a good relationship, don’t end it just because you’re going away,” Stevens said. “Continue to figure out ways to keep those love fires burning.”

For many, college means wider dating pools. Having new people around and opening up to more experiences means more possibilities for mates.

“Sometimes, if we’re not ready and mature enough on the inside to deal with a serious relationship with all of the distractions around us, it’s easy to stop one thing in order to start something else, or to think you want something else,” Stevens said.

Distance can also take a toll on lovebirds, whether they are on the same campus or different colleges.

However, a long distance relationship does have its perks. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and being reunited in person after a long time away can lead to a very romantic time together. Dameron, who was 4 1/2 hours away from her boyfriend, said they just could not make it work.

“Being so far apart and neither of us having a car made it difficult to see each other,” she said. “I think a bigger difficulty was the difference in our schedules. If I was free, he was busy and vice versa.”

Going to the same college as your sweetheart may not be any better. Jealousy has a tendency to creep in when you see your mate look elsewhere.

“If you’re with them, you can see something that you might not like, or you might start to grow apart from the person,” Stevens said. “Or you might see something you like and you can’t do anything with it because that person is right there.”

At the end of the day, relationships depend on the two people involved.

“They have to be really, really strong, committed, and they have to have some stuff inside of them that they’ve been preparing for life that will cause them to stay committed to one person,” Stevens said.

Dameron and her ex changed when they got to college, and their relationship was just not meant to be.

“We were no longer the same people who began dating in high school,” she said. “I was no longer in love with this changed person.”

Comments

Amazing writing!

I completely agree with Stevens, it does depend on the two people. If they really want to make it work then the relationship will thrive but if one person is not dedicated enough to the relationship, it will fail.
Posted on June 13, 2013
 

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