Teenage Love: Is It Real?


Editor’s Note: The following story was written by a student in our Urban Youth International Journalism Program in partnership with Paul Robeson High School in the Englewood neighborhood. The UYIJP is generously funded by the McCormick Foundation.

What is love? Love is merely an abstract ideal of the heart. Love reflects many different emotions such as pain, pleasure, lust, happiness, hate, confusion, confidence and excitement. Quite frankly, I believe it’s a life of false feelings, lies and mind games but no one wants to be alone so we continue to get into relationships. We are all trying to find that “one” with the hopes of being in love, having the house and the life we’ve always dreamed of.

I asked a few students at Paul Robeson High School if they have ever been in love. Julius Oscar, an 18-year-old senior, said he has never been in love. “I believe in acceptance of each other and looks don’t mean everything. Everyone falls in love at least once in life; just be who you are and love yourself. You can’t love someone else if you don’t love yourself first.” Julius is in a relationship but he classifies it as complicated.

Javontay Morgan, also 18 years old, has been in love twice. “Love doesn’t come around every day. Take the chance but don’t fall in love too quick. You can get your heart broken because it takes a lot to be in love. It’s easier to say it than to mean it. Everyone wants to explore their options while they are young and couples just don’t last as long as they used to.”

I can relate to Javontay on wanting to explore. I was dating this guy who is the sweetest guy I know, but I was considering leaving him for a two-timing guy I was once in love with and had dated before. My ex was looking to move faster than I was ready for, so he got with another girl that was ready. I believe I am in love with the guy I am dating now but talking to others got me wondering: “Do teenagers fall in love for real or is it just lust for the moment?” Things get complicated because as teenagers, sometimes we aren’t good with communication. We believe everything is going to go wrong in relationships and just brace ourselves for goodbye.

I spoke with Kymonte Burkes, a 17-year-old Robeson student. Kymonte said, “If you don’t fight, there is no true relationship. It’s harder to be in a relationship these days due to trust issues and being hurt previously. Relationships last longer with contact and no outsiders.” This is Kymonte’s first time in love.

However, Ashley Shaw, 17 years old, feels she is in love and has been in love twice. “Love should be exciting like a dream, but also realistic. These days it’s not about love; it’s about sex and money instead of the affairs of the heart. Some teenagers think they are in love but don’t really know what love is really like. They are more in lust than love,” expressed Ashley.

People use the phrase “Can’t live with them, can’t live without them.” Well, I say you can’t learn to love them until you’ve hated them. So I can say I am in love because I honestly love him more than I hate him. In some weird way, this makes sense to most teenagers who are in a relationship with someone they consider themselves to love.

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