How to maintain healthy relationships as a high school student


 Teen relationships can be known for their drama. They can be the source of fights, lead to friendship breakups, and cause many more unpleasant situations.

   While some people thrive on this drama, many people just want a calm, drama–free relationship with someone they care about. If you are single and want more perspective on how to have a healthy relationship or are in one and need advice, here are some tips. 

   First off, if you are single, avoid seeking out a relationship if you aren’t over an ex–partner. Dating someone else won’t help you get over it and it won’t make you feel good in the long run. Even if the idea sounds appealing, you will continue to think about your ex in the new relationship which is disrespectful and hurtful to the person that you rebound with. Remember that even if a lot of time has passed since your previous relationship, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you are over it and ready to move on. You are the only person that can determine that. 

   It is also crucial to work on yourself before entering a relationship. Many people jump into relationships when they are struggling with depression, anxiety, trust issues, anger issues, dishonesty, and other mental health problems without a way to manage them. It is okay to struggle but if you enter a relationship in this state, it is bound to end tragically whether that be because you realize that you were never ready in the first place or your partner realized that things had become too unhealthy. 

   “Before relationships it is important to put your needs first when you know that you aren’t doing well,” said Autumn Lewis, senior. “You need to take care of yourself before you take care of someone else.”

   On the other hand, avoid dating or “talking” with someone who has un-managed mental health problems or who is notorious for being involved in drama. While it is completely normal to struggle, it is not healthy to enter a relationship if someone isn’t managing their problems. Even if you care about that person deeply, you are not responsible for solving their problems, and they are the only one that can begin managing their mental health. 

   As for when you are official, you must communicate to maintain the relationship. Every single person has a different idea of what a relationship should look like, what cheating is, and what their needs are. Both parties need to be transparent about their opinions on these topics along with their feelings from the start. Conflict and hurt feelings are bound to happen in a relationship, but if you don’t express your upset and let it fester, things will grow toxic. 

   “If you’re having problems you need to communicate,” said Ella Hallstrom, senior. “If something is bothering you but not the other person, you need to communicate to make sure nothing happens between you two.”

   A key part of communication is active listening. When they’re talking to you, especially about something serious, don’t look at your phone or at a book, look at them and pay attention to what they’re saying. Even if they have a different opinion than you, try to understand it from their perspective. If you guys end up completely disagreeing, try to meet in the middle and find a compromise. 

   Avoid leading people on as well. It is perfectly fine to want a fling or a short term experience but you need to be honest to the other person. And to avoid a messy “situationship,” don’t flirt with people that you aren’t interested in. Even if the attention feels nice, it can end up hurting the other person.         

   When you enter a relationship, it is also extremely important to respect the other person’s boundaries. Different people need different amounts and types of affection. Some people like to text everyday whereas others like to text a few times a week but spend lots of time together in person. Make sure to find a balance with your partner and respect them if they aren’t ready for something. 

   Additionally, consider that even if you do like a lot of affection, it is important to give each other space. It can be difficult when you first get into a relationship and are really excited about it, but not texting all the time and seeing each other on special occasions keeps things exciting and fresh. 

   There will likely be a point in your relationship where things start to feel a little boring, but that is completely normal. It doesn’t mean that you fell out of love with the person and need to end it, it just means that the “honeymoon phase” or the novelty of the relationship has worn off. It also doesn’t mean things will stay “boring;” you will learn to just enjoy each other’s company and you can still try new things together. 

   You will, however, know if you fell out of love if you’re rarely thinking of them and are consistently annoyed by their presence. If this happens and you know they really care about you, don’t feel guilty. It can happen to anyone. The best way to handle it is to end the relationship directly and respectfully. They may be sad about it for a while, but they will appreciate you being honest and respectful in the long run. 

   High school relationships are challenging but can be healthy and long-term if you avoid red flags, work on yourself, and put in effort.