Dating during high school is a stressful time, but now with the added stressor of COVID, the dating scene is messy.
“As teenagers begin to develop a sense of personal identity, they often seek likeness and compatibility from those around them. Oftentimes the first love, also known as puppy love, occurs during these mid to late teen years, and if the high schooler selects the wrong counterpart, they may doubt both their ability to connect and relate to others as well as their ability to understand themselves. It’s often thought by elders that love is best delayed,” clinical psychologist Jamie La Mantia said.
Junior Jacey Van Leuven said, “I personally don’t think there’s anything wrong with dating during COVID or dating as a teenager. I especially think because people have so little time on their hands with a pandemic, they’re able to get to know each other better and form better relationships, and I think it’s a good experience to date as a teen; the relationship probably won’t work out, but it’s a great way to experiment, learn lessons and figure out what you’re interested in.”
Relationships before COVID were difficult, nerves over meeting new people and developing bonds are normal feelings that many people feel well into adulthood, but now with quarantine and the added complications of social distancing and mask wearing, relationships for some seem unattainable.
Conventions, concerts, restaurants and schools have been closed or reopened under guidelines and physical restrictions that limit the areas where one typically meets new people. Because of this some have turned to online dating websites and apps to find romance. Online dating, though, brings with it its own set of problems.
High schoolers typically range from ages 14 to 18. This age bracket is too young for many if not all websites marketed for the purpose of forming relationships/ friendships, and joining at such a young, impressionable age can make one more vulnerable to predators.
Another possible problem with online dating in the age of COVID is that it is easier for people to lie about the precautions that they are taking to keep themselves safe from COVID. Unfamiliarity with the other person online can lead to being in the dark about whether or not they’re following regulated guidelines during the pandemic. People can say they are wearing masks, practicing proper social distancing and limiting their time in public spaces, but because the exchange is online, there isn’t a good way to verify the truth of their statements.
Senior Annalise McCann said, “I can see continuing a relationship that existed pre-COVID through the rest of the pandemic, but I think it would be really hard to be able to make a romantic connection with anyone now. I think the only way for that to really happen would be over social media, but in my opinion, you won’t be able to make a deep connection until you’re together face to face.”
This is Zeke La Mantia’s second year on with Echo publications. He has earned multiple awards for his photographic contributions.
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