Young love is a flame; beautiful, often very hot and fierce, but still only light and flickering. The love of the older and disciplined heart is as coals, deep-burning, unquenchable. – Henry Ward Beecher
Puppy love (infatuation) is the first kind of romantic love we feel as teenagers. It is part of an immature relationship without the long term commitments that comes with mature relationships. The feelings that are commonly felt are very intense feelings of desire, passion and excitement. The focus of puppy love is on feelings (usually your own)– which can change quickly without explanation.
Characteristics of teen puppy love are:
- You think about that person 24/7
- You can’t get enough of seeing this person.
- You get a rush and exciting feeling when you see this person.
- You may blush, sweat or get heart palpitations upon seeing the person.
- You ignore anything bad people say about the person, especially your family.
- You feel sexually very attracted to the person.
- You are constantly checking your social media for messages from the person.
- You only focus on the good qualities of the person.
- You are unsure of this person’s feelings for you.
- You go out of your way to look your best for this person.
- You might lose your appetite for a while.
- You have been together for less than a year.
- You give too much information about yourself too soon.
Puppy love happens when young people are newly dating. They know very little about each other, and it is mostly innocent. Couples often engage in a sexual relationship too soon, because of the intense feelings – without being mature enough to make long term commitments, being in the relationship long enough (more than a year) and first getting to know the person well enough.
What is a crush, and what is love?
When you have a crush, you are romantically fascinated or obsessed with another person, but he or she still seems to be a seat removed from you. A “crush” doesn’t have to be on a peer or someone of similar age. A young person can have a crush on an older (even a much older) celebrity or any other person. Also, a crush can often be one-sided, implying that the affection isn’t returned by the other person (referred to as “unrequited love”). Using “crush” instead of some similar term implies that the feeling isn’t severe and is likely temporary. Of course, many young people will disagree with this, but that’s the nature of youthful crushes. No one should be ashamed of a passion, but they might be deeply embarrassed if talked about in front of them.
When you’re in love, it’s something that can happen without your intention or consent, and it’s not something you can walk away from. Your identity merges with someone else’s. You’d take a bullet for him or her. Being in love with someone means you want to spend the rest of your life with this person and you can’t see yourself with anyone else but that person. When you love someone, it just means you don’t want to see anything happen to them, and that you always want to know that person/family or friend happy.
He dumped me!
Sometimes we are so in love that we don’t see it is all one-sided. The break-up comes swiftly and with total surprise. What went wrong?
Read the following article by Jennifer LEE: ‘‘ I thought he loved me, but it was all in my head.”
Puppy love & Sexual activity
A research survey was done recently among high school learners in South Africa to determine whether the is any connection between learners who smoke cigarettes or dagga and the early onset of sexual activity compared to those who did not smoke.
The results showed:
Of female high school learners who initiated sex, 14.7 % were non-smokers, and 53,2 % were smokers.
Female high school learners who initiated sex, 17,2 % were non-smokers, and 65,2 % were smokers.
Maybe there is truth in the saying that ”if she smokes, she pokes”. It was noted that the more illegal the activity (for example, smoking cigarettes or dagga), the numbers that were sexually active increased significantly.
Prof Neo Morojele, South African Research Council, Chief specialist: Drug research unit; 2016
Puppy love & pregnancy:
In South Africa, about 80 000 teen girls give birth to babies every year. Almost as many abortions are done per year. Statistics of teen pregnancy in South Africa: (school learners)
• 2011 – 68 000
• 2012 – 81 000
• 2013 – 99 000
Our teens engage in sexual activities from a young age without taking the necessary precautions to guard against HIV and pregnancy. Many teens in South Africa fall pregnant because they engage in sex too quickly during this puppy love phase. Many fear the break-up of the relationship if they refuse sexual intimacy. In most cases, it is too early for sexual intimacy. The couple is too young and immature; the relationship is based on feelings, not thoughtful decisions. The association then falls apart, with the boy moving on because he was never ready for the long term commitment of starting a family. The girl is left to have an abortion or to raise the baby on her own.
I am not ready for sex, but he is pressuring me. There is a lot of pressure on males from their counterparts to have their first sexual encounter. It might help you to remember for them sex is just sex. It is different for females, as most of them see romance, a life together and loves as part of sex. So how do you decide?
Read the article by Carolyn Steber: ”11 Signs Someone Is Manipulative To Watch For In Any Relationship.”
True love is not a feeling because feelings change. Feelings come and go. True love is a conscious, thoughtful decision and commitment. It means that you decide to love someone and you stick by it. Love grows over time.
Real love takes time to develop and grow and doesn’t happen overnight, nor does it grow over two weeks or two months.
“Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.”
Characteristics of true love (each one as important as the next one!!!)
- You care more about your partner’s happiness than your own.
- Your partner is also your best friend – your soul mate.
- You are not jealous or envious at all in your relationship.
- You are both able to forgive one another.
- You make time for one another to spend together.
- You are free to pursue your dreams and goals in this relationship.
- You encourage and support one another in everything you both do.
- You are 100% faithful to one another.
- You always treat each other with respect.
- You strive to better your relationship and spend time thinking about it.
- You each have hobbies and interests of your own, as well as stuff you enjoy doing as a couple.
- You can resolve and talk through differences constructively.
“We come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly.” ~Sam Keen
”News flash: Forcing teens into dating exile by controlling all interactions they have with their significant others or ”Rapunzel-ing” them away in a tower, secluding them from all other life forms, is counterproductive!” says Ann Naragan.
Teens do struggle to move from teen relationships into mature relationships. It is foreign territory and most of their ”relationship education” they get from friends. If you as a parent keep conversation channels open, never overreact to the stories they tell you – and talk about sex and healthy relationships often and openly, it will give them the confidence to discuss the good and bad of their relationships with you.
You want to be the go-to parent, not the one a teen rebels against.
Before you ban your teen from staying single till they turn 40, consider having a conversation with your teen about your expectations and rules regarding dating if your teen talks to you LISTEN. Most parents find it very hard to listen – they want to jump in quickly and fix things, driving your teen away. Practice listening quietly first. Your teen must feel accepted unconditionally before they will share deep feelings. Make sure you create that safe space.
You may chat with a facilitator on the LIVE CHAT if you have more questions on the topic. The chat is text-based and you may remain anonymous.
You can also test your knowledge of relationships by doing the My Knowledge about Relationships Quiz.