12 julio, 2024

Falling in love in adolescence: concept, causes, consequences

We explain what is falling in love in adolescents, its causes, the processes that occur and its consequences

He teenage crush differs somewhat from the feelings experienced during adult life. Although the emotions felt are similar, the phase of life in which they occur, the external circumstances and the ways of seeing the world modify the experience to the point of requiring its independent study.

The National Association for the Study of Adolescent Health, in the United States, found that more than 80% of young people aged 14 and over had been involved in romantic relationships. A small number of them had even done so with same-sex couples (approximately 3% of those surveyed).

Despite the fact that most of these relationships had not been very long-lasting, the fact that it is something so common indicates that it is a phenomenon whose study is important. In this article we will see what are the latest data collected on the subject of falling in love in adolescence.

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Causes of falling in love in adolescence

Once a person enters puberty, both their body and mind begin to undergo a huge series of changes. Most of them are related to the person’s entry into the reproductive phase of her life, so at this stage the sexual and romantic aspect is of great importance.

On the other hand, the social world in which adolescents are involved is also very different from the one they experienced during childhood.

For this reason, social and biological factors combine during puberty to configure how these people experience falling in love.

biological factors

The first thing we have to understand is what role falling in love plays in people’s lives. On a biological level, this process is essential for the formation of stable couples long enough for the conception and raising of a child to occur.

Even though this goal no longer makes sense in the modern world, our brain doesn’t know it, and therefore makes us experience the same emotions that our early ancestors felt. This causes falling in love to occur in an extremely similar way in all people.

Because the main objective of this set of emotions is to promote the birth of a child, the person in love feels certain impulses:

Desire to be with the loved one constantly.
Increased desire and sexual activity.
Despair at losing a partner due to a breakup.

During adolescence, all these impulses are much stronger than in adult life, because younger people have not yet learned to control them. This is one of the reasons why falling in love as a teenager can be such an intense experience.

Social factors

In addition to biological causes, falling in love also has to do with a series of social pressures that push adolescents to feel this emotion in a particularly strong way.

Due to influences such as romantic movies, popular music or love novels, the youngest have a series of preconceived ideas about what relationships and love should be like. These expectations fade with age, but in adolescence they are tremendously powerful.

Next we will see some of the most common beliefs about falling in love in adolescence:

Confusion of love with infatuation

According to the latest studies, true love can only emerge in the course of a relationship of more than six months, during which the two people interact constantly.

However, the youngest believe that true love occurs even before starting a relationship, when in fact what is happening is that they have entered a phase known as infatuation or «limerence».

Vision of love as a solution to problems

Many times, adolescents believe that a relationship can help them solve all kinds of problems. From social isolation to depression, love appears as a kind of magical elixir that will make you instantly happy.

Overestimation of feelings

Because love in adolescence is nothing like the emotions experienced up to now, it can be experienced much more intensely than in adult life.

For this reason, during puberty, relationships become more important, in addition to giving much more weight to elements such as breakups, infidelities or jealousy.

processes

The emergence of a crush in adolescence follows a series of steps common to most relationships. Next we will see the most important ones.

sexual and sentimental attraction

Due to the hormonal and social changes they experience, adolescents begin to feel attracted to members of the opposite sex (or in the case of homosexuals, their own).

This attraction, at first, is based almost entirely on sexual attraction, although sometimes emotions such as attachment or affection may also be involved.

Idealization

Because the feelings experienced are so intense, during adolescence one tends to see the loved one as perfect, as if they were the only one suitable to form a relationship with. This idealized vision of the other in general incapacitates the person to get to know him truly.

Unsafety

In adolescence, the couple has great power over their own feelings due to the lack of emotional control. For this reason, relationships in general carry a more or less high degree of insecurity.

This insecurity can translate into attempts to control the other, jealousy, low self-esteem or simply distrust of the partner.

Consequences of teenage crush

Due to the intensity with which falling in love is experienced in adolescence, most young people who experience it carry out a series of actions and feel specific emotions that can harm them to a greater or lesser extent.

Among the most dangerous consequences are violence within the couple, unwanted pregnancies, depression after a breakup or social isolation.

Researchers continue to investigate the best ways to avoid these negative consequences of falling in love as a teenager.

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