16 and Soulmates?

Is the ‘love of your life’ really found in high school?

The shortest month of the year is here and with it the only reason anyone cares about it: Valentines Day. Stale chocolate, cheap stuffed animals and out-of-season flowers are everywhere you turn, but most common of all are the sappy social media posts that clutter your newsfeed. Some posts are sweet, a quick “I love you, you’re my best friend.” Others are so splattered with cliches it feels like you’re reading a Hallmark movie script. But the ones that really irk me, turn my cynical and single brain crazy, are the teenage couples who call each other their soulmates. At the mature, appropriate age of 16, these teenage couples have already decided that they want to put a ring on it.

It’s true, there’s no set age as to when someone should find their “forever” partner, but I think they should at least be able to drive themselves to a date and not have to hitch a ride with their parents. Whether we like it or not, who we are and what we like isn’t set in stone at 16. We’re going to change and I doubt by the time those couples are 20 they’re going to love the same people they liked at 16. I mean if those “soulmates” on social media scrolled back to their posts when they were in 8th grade, they would be horrified. They’re probably humiliated by the fact that they used too many hashtags and maybe used that “X-Pro filter” a little too much. They need to recognize that their feelings towards hashtags and filters now, in 4 years might be the same ones they feel to their partner they just claimed they would love forever.

I guess I wouldn’t have as much of a problem with it if they didn’t post it on social media. I just don’t understand why they’re so desperate for everyone to know. Maybe they’re trying to make everyone jealous, but I think it’s more likely it’s only way they feel comfortable saying those things to each other. I have yet to walk by two people and hear one of them say, “You are my soulmate. You are my other half.” Then again, most couples I walk by aren’t doing much talking. I think if you’re really each others “other halves” then you should be able to communicate that face to face rather than over a keyboard. In addition, if they’re trying to make everyone jealous over social media it’s clear they aren’t getting the validation from their partner they need for their self-esteem. It probably isn’t the relationship they will be happy in. The more “I will love you forever”s and “love of my life”s I see on someone’s page, the more I’m betting I’ll see them buying some break-up ice cream.

I just think teenagers are desperate to find the person they can depend on forever. We want to cling on right after the first handshake and never let go. We do the same things with friends. It is very common to see friends who met three days ago, posting on their accounts how they’re going to be each other’s maids of honor. We need to slow down. The best kind of friendships and relationships are not the ones that are instantaneous and immediate, but the ones whose strengths are tested by many barriers. They’re the ones that don’t need monthly anniversary posts on social media to tell each other how much they mean to each other.

I’m not saying teenagers shouldn’t be in love and be happy about it, but I don’t think high school is the time to pick out China patterns for your wedding anniversary.