March 3, 2014

Why We Shouldn't Date Until We're 18 (or older)


Ok, I know the title of this post makes it sound like I regretted all the relationships I had before my 18th birthday but no this isn't the case really. I have no regrets in life; I have full gratitude for those who have come into my life, the ones that stayed and even those that left. Every individual I let into my life has touched me (my heart not my body, get your mind out of the gutter) in one way or another and made me this person today. And you know what, I like me - even with all my flaws and baggage and bruises.

That being said, I still think that younger teens (because I'm still a teen right?) should refrain from dating before they turn into an 18 year-old "adult" as pronounced as the legal document the government presents to you. Yes, I understand how age is just a number, and that age does not define maturity blah di blah but hear me out here. I just had to say my say on this topic. Why? Because these days, thirteen year-olds are singing their hearts out to Breakeven by The Script. Because preteens are talking about how their breakup has ruined them, ruined any prospect of loving again, and start cutting to take away that emotional pain. Nigga, what?

I understand that kids these days are admittedly more mature than kids of generation Y. As our society evolves, the exposure to the real world is growing more and more rapidly. It's the media and how they portray being in a relationship as something that's compulsary and if you don't have a boy/girlfriend you're lame and "forever alone." You are NOT forever alone, you're just single at the moment. There's nothing wrong with that, hell, there's so many things right with that! Singledom is something to celebrate and enjoy, not something we should be embarassed about and to mourn about. I'm only turning 19 this year, I've still got so much to learn, so much to experience, and am nowhere near settling down.

Chances are, being teenagers of such a tender age, we still have to struggle with a lot of adolescent feelings such as low self-esteem, confusion about what's right and what's not, and most of us probably have those days where we just hate ourselves and wished we were somebody else. It happens, doesn't it? Because guys, self-love takes a lot of courage and time to accomplish. We all have our insecurities, be it physical or emotional insecurity. Growing up is learning to deal with these unstable emotions that we have about ourselves and our changing world. Growing up doesn't mean getting your first kiss or driving your first car. It's deciding the identity we want to have amongst our peers, where you want to go in the path of life, and how we are gonna get there.

Without loving yourself first, how do you expect your heart to have enough strength to muster love for another? Or for someone else to love you, the person you don't even like yourself. When you love yourself, you know your positives and negatives. You learn to accept and deal with your negatives, and then you bring out the positive characteristics that embody you. People will fall for you, you sexy person you. But true love won't happen if you're always nitpicking at yourself, or even worse, nitpicking at other girls because you're just that insecure. Bringing other people down to a level that you think is lower than yours does not help, it chases people away - nobody likes someone that talks sh*t :)

Relationships take up a great amount of time and effort. When two people decide to be together, there are certain boundaries to be made. You aren't allowed to hang out one-on-one with people of the opposite sex. You aren't allowed to attend parties even if you really, really want to. You have to choose between your friends and your partner on the weekends. Your single friends are free to roam and socialize with new people everyday, building their network and making memories, and what are you doing? Staying home and crying about how your boyfriend chatted up another girl in another school? There's plenty of time to do that later.

Ever heard adults say this phase, "I was young and stupid"? That's because we are young and stupid right now, just like they were. Young people make stupid decisions, it's true. We think we're always right and our parents "just don't understand." They do understand, more than you think. They were indeed, quote unquote, young and stupid once before. They made their foolish mistakes when they were younger and parents would want nothing else but their own children that they love to refrain from making those same mistakes. Most parents don't want their kids to date at too young an age because we can't decipher the rights from the wrongs yet (read: MTV's 16 and Pregnant). Being in love at a young age could be jeopardizing because love intensifies stupidity. Haha. I can vouch for that.

Besides our unstable (or for my indo friends, labil) feelings, we also have unstable plans for the future. Where will I go to school? What major will I take? What am I passionate in? These years of adolescence are the years of most change, in my opinion. These are the make-or-break moments that we won't be able to redo, ever. Some of my friends are changing their dreams just so they can go to school in the city that their lover is staying in. Your boyfriend or girlfriend's opinion of your future could also leave you jaded and even more confused than you would have already been without them. Why put your own ambitions on the line when you should really be going for your dreams, full force, full speed ahead? It's difficult to keep a relationship alive with someone far, far away. Especially when you're still young, you should be out and about, exploring the foreign culture (granted you moved away for school), the people, and just... not be tied up.

I have many other reasons as to why I think people shouldn't date before 18. But that's all for now. I hope nobody takes offense to this because I'm definitely not telling you to do anything. If you're already dating, great, I'm wholeheartedly happy for you and hope all goes well for you. But if you're not and you're in the stages where you're considering whether you should find someone special or not, then all I'm saying is just to think about it thoroughly. I wish I could've done more with my pre-teenhood. To be honest, I'm a damaged girl in some ways because of this exact reason, I grew up too quickly. I should have clicked the pause button and realized that growing up is something I should enjoy at a slow pace :)


With love, T

16 comments:

  1. Although I somewhat agree, from my personal experience waiting until you're 18 to date isn't really the best thing. I started dating at 18 and let me tell you, being a young 'innocent' girl means getting taken advantage of by experienced men who see me as nothing more than a playtoy they can manipulate. Because I have never learned how to be a girlfriend, I became a bad one, or at least a mediocre one. Waiting until you're 18 may work for some people, but for me it just means that I have become gullible and stupid. Instead of growing up learning about boys, the boy world was thrust upon me and I had no idea what to do with it. I wish I dated when I was younger because it's like dipping your toes into the pool before taking the plunge when you're older. But now I've taken the plunge without knowing how deep or how cold. Learning should be a process that takes time. Dating at 18 means the world have already learned about love and relationships while I have not. Trust me, it gets me in trouble.

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    1. Some things take practice. Some really don't. Dating falls under the latter. You don't need practice, nor do you need experience, to date a person who'll truly love you (in other words, you could just avoid those "experienced" bastards who'll manipulate you like a toy; they really don't deserve you).

      Keeping your innocence is alright. You're fresh out of the fridge, and there are men out there who value this asset very much. The way mature men see it is: she's patient, resolute and uninfluenced by her peers, she's innocent but clever, as to save herself for me.

      You aren't a stupid or nube girlfriend, you're just with the wrong man who can't appreciate your past.

      "Dipping your toes into the pool before taking the plunge" - do this by learning about guys from a distance, not earning yourself experience and trying things out with them. Why do we try out people like they're objects or practice runs, right?

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    2. Hello to both commenters! Thank you for your insight xx

      I suppose in this topic and really every other scenario there is out there, the quote "the grass is greener on the other side" rings very true.

      For those of us who've begun dating at a young age, we are envious of the innocence that our friends that didn't start dating have. However, I am only speaking from my experience and I have chosen to write this article to voice out my opinion gathered from my experiences. I used to think like you, Anonymous #1, I wanted to date around because I wanted to "practice" for the real thing. I later realized how silly and foolish my path of thinking was because although I did gain valuable lessons from those relationship and grew more mature through them, I also in turn damaged my heart and soul to the point where it caused problems to the relationships I had when I was in my late teens. In accordance to Anon #2, yes, I was unlucky enough to date boys that were manipulative and cheated my feelings.

      Why date just to practice? These are matters of the heart we're talking about. And the heart is not something we play around with.

      Many of my friends haven't been in any serious relationships yet, but they also learnt a lot about dating and boys through my experiences and my heartbreaks.

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  2. beautiful article! i think the most important thing is to enjoy the moment, here and now, no matter what's your age or your relationship status; because that is truly how one lives life to the fullest. x

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    1. Thanks for your comment! Yes I agree, which is exactly why I don't regret my past relationships because I know I lived them to the best of their potential xx

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  3. Love knows no age can be interpretted in a good way here. Nice article you've got here, my friend. It's light to read yet meaningful. I as a teenager enjoyed reading this very much and hope to read more articles from you in the near future :)

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    1. Thanks for the compliment! I definitely have more of where this is coming from, hope you'll enjoy my future articles :)

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  4. I agree with most of what you wrote in here but I just have to add a few comments. I think all that 'practice' nonsense is a loss especially for girls. In society there's still a great amount of taboo around female sexual desire, and as a result women are much more vulnerable to reputational damage than men. And like you said, our hearts are not to toy around with. So many young people waste too much time on detrimental relationships when they could have used their youth to do something useful.


    Btw, I think you'd make a great writer ;)


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  6. "Without loving yourself first, how do you expect your heart to have enough strength to muster love for another?" I do agree with this, It might be written simply like this but I'm pretty sure that u put a deep meaning on it.

    Hi Titan Tyra... u're quite good in expressing ur thoughts. So, keep writing. Practices make perfect.
    Have a good day. :)

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  7. Wouldn't a better solution be engaging in non committal dating? It's rather difficult to repress romantic feelings especially considering that we evolved to reproduce at what...14 years old? Hormones don't lie. A better solution would be to engage in dating WITH THE AWARENESS that the person you're dating probably isn't your "soulmate". I think part of the heartbreak that comes with teen dating is the unjustified belief that there is one person in the world that's perfect for you. Inexperienced teenagers will think the first person they fall in love with is that person, where it may just simply be hormones. If teenagers dated with that awareness, wouldn't we see a lot less heartbreak and a lot more learning? Interested in hearing your thoughts Titan.

    D,

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    1. Hi, D!

      Apologies for the late reply. I truly did go through my early onset relationships "with the awareness" that they probably weren't going to end up as my husband. However, just as you said, hormones & feelings do not lie. We cannot help ourselves but fall in love with the person we're dating, esp. when they are being sweet, loving, and when they shower us with affection that friends are unable to provide us with. We fall deep into these young relationships, giving our all and leaving little for our future relationships (more serious ones).

      Emotions get meddled with, trust issues arise, these problems are too messy for kids below the age of 18 to know how to deal with. Relationships take maturity, something adolescents simply do not possess.

      There is plenty of time to learn and practice after we've got all of those teenage rebellion & instability out of the way. Romance can wait - true, quality romance, that is :)

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