The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of Teen Dating


Art by Kasey Cross

Emily Mai, Staff Writer

It’s not uncommon to see teens start dating in high school. During these four years we develop and grow alongside each other; sometimes that means growing apart from each other and sometimes that means we can grow even closer. In terms of dating in high school there’s a full range of diversity and abundance; there’s couples just starting out, couples planning to get married, straight couples, same-sex couples and each and every one of them is a match worth celebrating.

There are some pairings that people look up to and admire the steady strength of. These are the ones to nominate for class royalty. But in the end they too started from humble beginnings just as senior couple Makena Gesino and her boyfriend Bralen Trice did.

“I think that [our relationship has] progressed a lot with trust; we’ve gotten a lot closer because we’ve been through so much together through the three years and we’re like best friends. I’ve found that the more you go through together the more you realize you can do it, instead of just ending the relationship whenever something happens,” Gesino said.

The two earned both the titles of Homecoming King and Queen and Prom Prince and Princess during their time together.

“It’s just a title it didn’t really change anything for me; I still love her. To me love is being able to withstand someone for so long and not get bored, just every time you see them and knowing that they’re all you need, that your life is complete with them,” Trice said.

There are some couples that show that a digression from the norm is okay and set an example for everyone else that love is love. These are the couples that aren’t in traditional heterosexual relationships or even date interracially. Senior couple, Lauren Kisicki and her girlfriend Kasey Cross fit into both categories.

“I really hope that if there are any small freshmen gay kids out there and they see us they know that it’s fine and it’s normal. My freshman and sophomore year I joined Youth for Tolerance club and that’s how I knew this campus [would accept me] it just felt like I could finally breathe especially around those people. I hope there are freshmen out there that can look up to us now and do the same,” Cross said.

The two have been dating for just over three months. As they approach the end of their senior years they also date knowing that after high school they’ll end up in different states on different coasts.

“It’s always been my plan that I was going to leave after this year and go to the east coast. This year we started getting really close and we realized that there was some really strong feelings, having that expiration date for when we leave has helped us, and made it feel more real. It made both of us hold back less because we’re making the most of the time we have left,” Kisicki said.

It’s not often that you hear of the success stories of high school sweethearts getting married years down the road. Yet despite the odds there is one such couple that is already engaged while in their senior year of high school, Thackery O’Leary and her fiancé Joseph Weygant.

“When this started a lot of things were going on in our lives with him planning on going into the military and him not having family behind him, it became really vital to have someone in legal standing that could take care of him. It became a necessity at first but slowly it turned to me wanting to spend the rest of my life with him, I want to do my taxes with him, I trust him to take care of me if anything should happen,” O’Leary said.

They are both seventeen and have been engaged for several months. With their young age there have been many obstacles and resistance from the people around them, even still they are going on one year strong.

“I really don’t care what people think. I know what I’m doing, she knows what she’s doing even though we’re not fully adults we’re smart enough to make decisions for ourselves, for us. We really want to get married because we trust each other completely and we want to begin life together and finish life together,” Weygant said.

The concept of love is abstract and it can manifest in different ways for different people. Each person experiences it in their own unique way and they each express it differently. Love can be expressed in what you want to do with that person or even for that person.

“Love is the admiration of someone to the point that you want to see them succeed, you want to see them do the best they can whether or not you’re with them.You can have love for a friend, for your parents, and you can definitely have love for someone that you want to spend the rest of your life with. You just want to be close with them to see them succeed every step of the way,” said Thackery O’Leary, senior.

For others love can be very specific to a specific person. That emotion can be what you think and feel when you think of something or someone that you love.

“Love is when you realize that you want to be with that person and you just want the best for them you notice all these different things about them that you love and that you hadn’t noticed before. Even when they drive you crazy you know that you love them and that’s just the predominant emotion that you feel when you look at them,” said Lauren Kisicki.

Not every couple will last forever and not every couple will end up together and happy in the end. The important thing to remember is that we are each our own person and we each deserve love and respect both from our own selves and from the people around us.

“If you really like someone and know what you want in a relationship and you’re clear with them about it, you know who you are, you know what you’re struggling with, what your flaws are, and you’re okay with that I think that’s the best thing you can do. Relationships are up to so much circumstance and chance,” said Kasey Cross, senior.