To much dating as a teen
Certainly, the context in which we consider this emotion matters: I love to read; I love Chinese food; I love my mother. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary lists various definitions: “a feeling of strong or constant affection for a person”; “attraction that includes sexual desire”; and “the strong affection felt by people who have a romantic relationship.” But do any of these descriptions really answer our question?
To be clear, I am interested in how we develop and pursue the takes-my-breath-away, euphoric, romantic love that is so sought after. As children, we experience love in the form of unconditional care and affection from our parents.
My two daughters and I were watching a movie the other night called Wedding Crashers (we’re all suckers for rom-coms), and we heard Owen Wilson say, “True love is the soul’s recognition of its counterpoint in another” . That is indeed love, but does that concept somehow shift as we get older?
When we become teens, is one form replaced by another, or is it the same construct on some blissfully complicated continuum?
In fact, love is such an important construct that researchers have studied it for years, investigating the different types, taxonomies, and styles, as well as how to keep it once you’ve finally found that elusive and magical potion.
So, the next time you cringe at the prospect of your teen dating and possibly even becoming romantically involved or falling head-over-heels in love with another teen, remember that it is yet another way for him to grow and develop into the well-rounded, caring person you want him to be, particularly in the context of long-term, loving relationships.
Romantic love is basically intimacy with the added bonus of sexual attraction and passionate commitment—the beautiful sexual icing on the delicious intimacy cake, if you will.