High School Relationships: Are They Worth It?

Walking around Coginchaug, in the hordes of students, you can spot students holding hands, cuddling, and talking. High school is normally when relationships start, with most people beginning dating and becoming intimate with partners at this age. A survey done by The Devil’s Advocate shows that out of 90 students, 51 respondents (56.7%) currently want a formal dating relationship with a peer. Relationships in high school can be positive or negative; however, the costs and ruined connections with friends make high school relationships not worth it.
A major positive of having a relationship in high school is the ability to connect with other people. During relationships, connections with others develop, creating bonds that people wouldn’t expect to occur. According to the survey, 58.7% of respondents said they are currently in a relationship with a partner from another grade, and 59.1% of respondents said they are currently in a relationship with a partner at a different school. Connections can occur even from long distances, with 5.9% (five students) saying that they’ve had a long-distance relationship (from a state that’s not Connecticut). People may only want a relationship to make connections with others.

Whether the relationships are within Coginchaug or one of these long-distance connections, homosexual relationships also happen during high school. Multiple couples at Coginchaug in the past, or currently, have been same-sex, and the school community has been mostly supportive. The survey showed that 97.8% of respondents would support their friend if they came out as LGBTQ+ [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer], and 95.6% of students would support their friend while in a homosexual relationship. This is interesting, due to the communities of Durham and Middlefield voting more conservatively in local and federal elections. However, the results show that students would support LGBTQ+ people, which could show a change in the political shift in Durham and Middlefield, although moderate conservatives and very religious liberals have been known to scrutinize the LGBTQ+ community.
The members of HERO, Coginchaug’s Gender-Sexuality alliance, had their own opinions on this.

A group of four HERO students from grades 9, 11, and 12 said, “Attitudes towards same gender relationships honestly vary a lot by group in Coginchaug. On average and in our experiences, cisgender girls are the most accepting of LGBTQ+ people, and LGB [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual] girls are often the most accepted while cisgender boys are (again, in our experiences and on average) less accepting and more likely to be less accepted if they were to come out. People’s reactions to same gender relationships vary by what group the people are in as well; if the people in the relationship are already popular, many groups don’t see it as an issue at all, while more unpopular kids have a harder time being accepted and subsequently become more unpopular. Generally, the school is more accepting towards LGB people than transgender people.”

The survey result around homophobia was also contradicted by HERO members. They said, “The common experiences include hearing homophobic and transphobic slurs yelled in the hallway, cafeteria, and bus (both targeted and not targeted) and transphobic jokes made against non-binary people (most often of the ‘There are only two genders,’ or ‘I identify as an attack helicopter’ variety) in any area, especially when gender is mentioned during class or conversation.”
Aside from possible scrutiny from peers, other negatives of having a high school relationship are more prominent. One of those is the cost. However, the survey respondents agreed. Out of the respondents, 36.8% said that they don’t spend money on their partner; however, the highest amount people spend on partners is $25-50 with 31.6%. High school is when people get their first jobs and their driver’s licenses; the money they earn can be spent on getting and maintaining cars, buying food, and saving for the impending major investment of college, which shows how spending money on a relationship may not be the best use of financial resources for a student to spend at this time.
Time is another negative about having a relationship. Students normally spend 0-1 classes (67.7%) and x-block (45.2%) with their partner during the school day. Spending time with a partner could take away from hanging out with friends, doing activities that only they enjoy, and time with family. Most respondents stated that they spend 1-2 hours with their partner on social media or in after school activities. This shows that even though they are with their partner, in these cases, people can still be enjoying times with their friends.

The biggest con for me is breakups. People could break-up from a relationship for multiple reasons. The highest number of respondents from the survey (62%) said that the main reason they broke up was because they (or their partner) did not want to be in a relationship. Break-ups can severely ruin your relationships with your ex-partner. A change in lifestyle could occur for some people; however, 54.2% of students said that their lifestyle didn’t change. Yet, people may have to reshape their entire lives. Friendships may be ruined, activities may need to be altered, and lives could be changed. Going through my only break-up, we were both naturally ready to break up, due to being in a long-distance relationship, and we decided we’d still be friends.
An anonymous sophomore explained, “After my first break-up, I was more focused on homework and assignments, and I didn’t really engage in social activities. I wasn’t depressed; however, I was sad for a time, but then I got more active again.”

Having a relationship in high school is both good and bad; however, there are more negatives than there are positives. The cost and time are valuable resources which can possibly disappear, and breakups can force someone to reshape their entire life. I personally am still on the fence about having a relationship in school. I’ve had interests in various people; however, I don’t want to risk connections I’ve made with them. I also want to build up strong relationships with my peers before I venture into the depths of the dating abyss.