The pressures behind high school dating
Standing around and seeing everyone with heart-shaped balloons, teddy bears, and little love notes while giggles fill the air brings to ponder about all of the secret admirers and happy couples. Feeling a tap on your shoulder, you turn around and see someone giving you a gift. All of a sudden all your friends are around you, going off about how adorable it is and how they ship you two, but is that really what you want? Sure, they seem like a good person but what’s under the surface? What would other people say?
To many high schoolers, dating is a big thing that many people encourage through shipping, continuously asking for updates, teasing, and sharing information about the two people being shipped with others. All of these seem like innocent acts of a teenager but what they may not realize is the pressure and influence they’re inflicting on a person’s feelings towards another.
Becoming a part of a relationship takes time when there are different aspects of a person to consider. A few months into her relationship, Maithreyi Mydur (10) recalls what it was like when they first got together.
“I didn’t know a lot of background information [about him], but I knew that he had a lot of friends and is a smart person. Later on I learned that there was some drama that made us doubt each other a little bit. What people said made it sound like he’s a bad person so I felt like I had to protect myself. I asked him what happened and he explained it all so now we’re good.”
Those rumors hadn’t only affected their thoughts about each other but about themselves. Her boyfriend, Madhu Vijaya Kumar (10) comments, “It makes me feel like a jerk. When you hear about the things that people are talking about, it makes you feel like you’re not the person that you want to be. You want to be the best version of yourself but some things people say make you feel like you’re not who you think you are. I try not to think about these things, but it’s not easy.”
The couple had recently gone on a minor break for personal reasons and are back together. But that break had left some temporary gaps. Mydur explains, “I think it disappointed him because I didn’t really explain why and he assumed it was because I didn’t want to date him after learning about all of the drama he had gone through. When we first started dating I was worried about what people would say but I later found out that he was someone I could trust.”
Kumar elaborates, “If you’re in a relationship, you have to have a trust bond. If you do, you’re fine. If you don’t, it doesn’t work out the way you want it to. People will believe what they want to believe but if what you believe is going to mess up your relationship with the other person then there’s no point in being together.”
Peer pressure is prominent in many parts of a relationship. It’s a common factor that many may resort to when looking for answers. What people say can greatly influence how two people feel about each other and make them form their own questions. Luckily for Kumar and Mydur, they’re able to find safety within each other.
“I’m able to express my emotions [with him] which isn’t something I do with a lot of people. I could share my love with him and he’ll give it back,” illustrates Mydur.
The pressure doesn’t only come from the people around a person but the other person in the relationship. From a previous experience that was almost a relationship, Sophomore Sophia Lo displays, “I felt nervous and [did] lots of overthinking. It took up a lot of space in my head and definitely ruined my mood at times. Sometimes I would spend more time worrying about that than more important stuff like school, myself, and my friends.”
The people around someone and their significant other aren’t always people that are there to be pushy, but to support them. Not looking for any relationships but still having some crushes, Lo explains, “My friends get very excited about crushes, but we don’t really expect too much from it. Maybe something will happen but nothing too big. They’re never like ‘When will you get into a relationship?’ They’re not like that and don’t make me feel pressured to get into one.”
Kumar furthers, “I cut off a lot of people to make sure that I was doing okay and that my relationship wasn’t getting messed up because I was around people who weren’t really my friends. It made me realize that people are only friends with you to an extent, but you learn how to cope. Find things that you love to do and people that you like to talk to and will get close with.”
Every relationship has its complications, many of them sprouting from others and their influence on how two people might view and feel about each other. What people say can take a toll on a person and spread to other parts of one’s life. It’s not an easy thing to cope with but with the right people, it can get easier and end out differently than expected.