Shifting and drifting through life

Less than 100 years ago, romance centred around the size of a woman’s dowry. Not long after this, dances in Billy Brennan’s barn and the local parish halls were the top matchmaking spots. Nowadays, nearly everyone can claim to have started a relationship via social media; remember MSN chat?

Though asking someone out through a keyboard can save you some of the live hurt when you’re shot down, it does bring the legitimacy of some teenage relationships into question. Some even question whether you have the capacity to take a relationship seriously while in your teenage years.

However, many young people believe that there is a lot to be learned from relationships during your formative years. Lisa Marie Sheehy from University College Cork says, “I think relationships are good when we are young as it helps to mature some people and helps to calm them down, it also teaches them responsibility”.

However, the prevailing opinion is that it is better to remain unattached while you’re young. Chloe McGrath of Mary Immaculate College remarks, “I do think that when you’re young being in a serious relationship isn’t healthy. You grow up with that person, you mature with them and you have a lot of first experiences with them. So when it breaks down it’s so much harder for you to get over it”. While a relationship can be a great thing, you may miss out on many opportunities with friends by tying yourself to one person.

Indeed many teenagers now opt for the so-called ‘shift and drift’ strategy. They move from one brief and relatively consequence-free encounter to the next. But Sarah Power of Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) believes that, “you can only shift and drift for so long.

I think 17/18 is the cut-off point for that personally”. There really is no ‘right’ way to approach teenage relationships. As Dean Purcell of WIT says, “there is a fine line that people need to work around; it’s not healthy to tie yourself down or just shift and drift”.

If you’re set on living life to the full on your own, go for it. But expect a few nights with just Ben and Jerry for company. But if you feel that a cosy relationship is for you, then enjoy. Remember that Adele made millions from her heartbreak.

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