Sliding Left on Relationship Goals

There are two different types of people on Valentine’s Day: people in relationships and people who aren’t. But what happens when we blur those lines? As we reach the age when we are constantly asked about our future life plans, the commitment can be stressful. On top of these demanding decisions waiting to be made, asking anyone to commit to another person and the expectations that come along with it can be difficult. This may be the reason teenagers choose more casual relationships.

Casual hook-ups, to our generation, are an easy way to engage in a form of dating without being tied down to an actual relationship. Social media apps such as Tinder allow young people to hook up with a simple slide right on your phone. However, teens are not really into it  yet. Nevertheless, according to a study made by the Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit that promotes reproductive health, 16% of females and 28% of males report first having sex with someone they had just met or who was just a friend. Why is this so?

According to a DMAE junior, “If both people seek the pleasures that comes with sex and safety while being free from the realities of a committed relationship, they tend to stick to casual sex. Teens often feel that the stress that comes from a relationship is too much to handle and would rather stick to the more relaxed idea of having sex.”

The truth is that most high school students find it hard to balance grades and extracurriculars while staying in a committed relationship. Yet some do find ease in having a relationship with someone who is in the same situation.

“For me, school always comes first. It’s definitely difficult having to maintain multiple obligations. But when I’m getting to know someone, I feel motivated to do well in my classes because I have them as a supporter,” explained a senior.

Still others feel that relationships are simply something they cannot prepare themselves for. Today’s model for relationships may be limited to the pictures captioned “#RelationshipGoals!” that tend to plague Twitter and Instagram. They leave people with unrealistic, movie-like ideals that blur the truth of what a healthy relationship should be like. Most of these pictures come from adults, fashion models or celebrities representing ideas that are unattainable for the average high school student.

In a week, Valentine’s Day will seem irrelevant. But stepping back from all the hype, cards, flowers, and chocolate, we can find the real reason that we look for someone in the first place. We do not need relationship goals and we do not need casual sex. All we really need on Valentine’s Day or on any day is acceptance.