I know next to nothing about relationships, having never been in one. I help out at a Brownie pack where I go by the name of Ladybird because all leaders "must" have a woodland creature name. I'm not sure a ladybird qualifies as a woodland creature but anyway, I digress. One of the girls, aged seven, said to me "Ladybird, do you have a boyfriend?" and I said "no, Amelia, I do not". She looked a little bit surprised. "But how old are you?!" she asked. "Seventeen" I told her. And then said said "what?! You're seventeen and you don't have a boyfriend? You should do by this age". And then she ran off to play British Bulldog with the other Brownies. I was left standing there like, oh my god, what has this seven year old just said? I was kind of shocked.
Shocked mainly by the fact that someone who's only been at school for two years already has this preconception that by seventeen, you should be in a relationship. Where do young children get this idea from? I suppose it's mainly television programmes which create the impression that all teenagers have a boyfriend and it's abnormal not to. It was her use of the word "should" that surprised me. Why "should" I have to be in a relationship? I think it's a little worrying that such young girls already have this idea in their heads. Are they going to be under pressure to get a boyfriend, just because it's what's expected from them?
I've never really felt pressurised into being in a relationship. I have seven, what I would call, close friends. Only one is in a serious relationship and has been with his girlfriend for nine months, and another is with a guy, but it's only really casual. Is this representative for every teenager in Britain, that only one in seven is in a serious relationship? Because when I think about it, hardly anyone I know has something serious going on. This brings me to another point. What's the use of being in a relationship if it's only casual? To quote from my favourite book Adorkable by Sarra Manning, "whether it's football or A-level Physics or dating, what's the point of doing anything if you're going to do it in a half-arsed way?" If you're going to be totally committed to someone, then great. If not, why are you wasting your time?
One of my closest friends is currently "seeing" a guy. He's a total commitment-phobe and hates the idea of being labelled as someone's boyfriend. He's slept with a lot of girls and likes to play around and - here's the kicker - wants to keep it that way. This friend of mine is fairly traditional in her values with regards to relationships. She wants to be official and totally exclusive but he's having none of it. They're actually out right now as I type this, and she's asking him if she can call him her boyfriend even if he won't say she's his girlfriend. It's all a bit ridiculous but I think she wants the label to make herself feel better about it. But having the label doesn't really change the dynamic of your relationship. It doesn't make it any more serious if it's not what both of you want. I kind of want to tell her to just leave it, stop wasting her time.
A different friend of mine said "all relationships now start and end because of uni". Never has a truer word been spoken. Perhaps this can't be applied to every school, but it can definitely be applied to ours. Our sixth form is just an extension of the lower school and I've known 97% of the people there for six years now, therefore it's highly unlikely I'll suddenly be madly attracted to anyone. Any relationships that begin now are likely started with the thought "oh, we have uni next year, better get together while we still can". People then think it will last forever but inevitably, a few months into being at different universities, they'll be like "well, being a hundred miles apart isn't working" and end it. I'm not trying to slate or devalue anyone's relationship but I just don't see anything starting at this age working in the long run.
Two friends of mine have now been together for over three years. They were thirteen when they got together and are now seventeen. A lot of people say they don't know how they're not bored of each other and I'm kind of inclined to agree. Of course this isn't to say there should be a cap on how long you can stay with someone at a certain age, but maybe it's not healthy to spend that much time around someone while you're still so young. Again, I'm not criticising anything, these are just my thoughts. I'd like to reiterate that I'm a total relationship virgin and these are just discussions I've had and observations I'd made. Please feel free to add your own thoughts in the comments, particularly if you disagree with something in here! I'd love to hear other people's views.
Song of the day:
Lovers - The Good Natured
(This has been on repeat for nearly the whole day and it's very fitting for this topic, so enjoy!)