How young is too young to tell a member of the opposite sex that you love them?
Yeah, I’m starting off with a question for this post.
Is it possible for young people, teens in particular, to understand all that love encompasses–that it is so much more than an emotion?
When I was growing up and the time came when I began to really dig boys, I remember my mom telling me that I was not to tell a boy that I loved him because those words were very serious and were to be used when I was older and could understand what love meant.
So those words became sacred–unusable until I was old enough to understand. But when would that be?
I was in 8th grade at the time and had just begun my first “serious” relationship– and by that I mean we were “going out” which involved talking on the phone and making googly-eyes at school and not actually “going” anywhere because of course, I wasn’t allowed to date until I was 16 and at 14, he didn’t exactly have wheels.
I was under the impression that it was a bad thing for me to say those three “little” words because I was young–there was no way that I could understand what love meant.
And so, when my “boyfriend” called me up one day and confessed that he loved me, my head and heart exploded. I was excited, like any middle school girl would be, but I didn’t say it back. I was afraid to. More than anything, I was afraid that I’d get in trouble if anyone knew I’d said those words to him–that they’d think I was nuts because I was young–love was incomprehensible to me.
So when he said, “I love you,” I said, “thanks.”
And we broke up.
In high school I was a little more mature–I could understand the difference between love and intense like.
I could clearly see the reason behind my parents wanting me to use those words sparingly in my teenage relationships.
But do most teens? Do they know the difference between love and like?
When I was teaching high school I heard the word “love” tossed about constantly between student couples. A young girl would say it to one boy one week, and another the next, and visa versa. And most times when I overheard it, it was all I could do not to roll my eyes right out of my head.
Saying “I love you” is the cool thing to do; the expected thing in most teen relationships, even if you’ve only been “going out” or “dating” for a very short time.
It’s the thing to do in TV relationships between teens, and in books, too. (Insert zillions of examples here_____). Teens fall in love quickly. And in most cases, fall out pretty quickly, too.
The divorce rate for teens who marry is extremely high.
I do believe it’s possible to love at a young age. Looking back on it now, I do believe with all of my heart that I was “in love” with that boy from middle school. I pined for him for a while–into high school, thinking that I’d blown my chance with him because I was too chicken to tell him how I felt. I dated other guys but they weren’t him.
My first love.
(Bear with me. I’m reading back over that and having a total ‘gag me’ moment.)
Okay, I was young. I was naive about the world. I did not understand the realities of lifetime commitment. I eventually got over said dude and moved on to find my Mr. Right. Praise the Lord.
Many teens believe they are in love. Many teens are just “in lust.” And some are only “in like” and throw the word love around like it’s no big deal.
But it is.
Those are three BIG words.
So I propose that a new word be created to describe what a young person feels in a relationship that’s more than “in like” but less than a lifetime commitment of “in love.”
Loke. I loke you. I am in loke with you. Will that work?
Who’s gonna help me get loke to catch on?
Share with me: Do you think teens can truly grasp what love means in a relationship? How young is too young to tell someone you love them?