Young Love Can Be A Confusing Emotion

Updated April 12, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

It Can Be Hard To Face Life's Challenges Without Support

Young love carries a lot of emotion with it. It can be an incredibly wonderful and intense emotion. Some even say that young love is a waste of time as it can be extremely confusing. Love is difficult for many mature adults to manage, making it that much harder for teenagers. However, just because it's confusing doesn't mean that young love isn't real. Sometimes it is, and sometimes it's not. Here are some things to remember about young love.

Young Love Rarely Lasts

Teenage couples often have people tell them that young love rarely lasts. These people aren't trying to be mean; they are trying to save teenagers from heartache. Chances are these people had their hearts broken by young love in the past and are trying to spare the feelings of the teenager they are talking to. But every teenager has the same response to this—"it's going to be different for us."

There are some young couples and high school sweethearts that make it. They stand the test of time. Their exciting young relationship grows and develops into true love. However, for every high school couple that remains together, there are many more that don't. And, of the couples that do get married after high school, over 50% of them get divorced before they have been married for ten years.

This makes it confusing for young people. They want their relationship to last, yet they see the statistics that seem to say there's only a slight chance of that happening. This fear alone is enough to cause some to break up with each other as they prepare to transition to adulthood.

Infatuation Is Confused With Love

Teen dating and relationships are confusing for young people because they are experiencing feelings of romantic love and attraction for the first time. They are just starting to figure it all out. Since these are feelings that many mature adults struggle with, you can only imagine how much more of a struggle it can be for teenagers. The first feelings that preteens and teens usually experience are feelings of infatuation or a crush. The feelings are more intense than the young person is used to, and are easily mistaken for love.

Young love tends to be based on nothing but feelings. The couple has not yet faced and overcome a challenge or difficulty together. They are passionate about each other. They think about each other constantly and want to spend all their time together. Chances are they blush at the mention of the other, get sweaty palms, experience a racing heart, and desire for the other. Many times, they don't even know each other well. These feelings are a natural reaction and not something the teen is choosing.

When the relationship faces the first challenge, like a disagreement between the couple, it can be blown out of proportion. Those that are experiencing young love mistakenly believe that love comes without trials. However, the exact opposite is true. True love develops when a couple decides to overcome the challenges that face them and stay together despite them.

Teenagers Are Still In The Process Of Discovering Who They Are

Young love is even more challenging because you are still in the process of finding out who you are. When you fall in love and are in a serious relationship before you know yourself, it can cause many problems down the road. To please the other person, you do things they enjoy doing. You may even believe that you like these things for a while. But in the future, there could come a day when you realize you have been wasting your time doing things that you don't enjoy to please someone else.

This makes young love confusing because the more you learn about yourself, the more you may find that you don't enjoy spending time with the other person like you once thought you did. And it works the other way as well. You may think you found the perfect person that you are compatible with, but then they start realizing they like different things. It's easy to feel betrayed when this happens. However, it's most likely not that the other person was trying to trick you but that they didn't know themselves well enough.

It's also important to know who you are before getting into a relationship, so you can learn to love yourself for who you are. If you skip this step, you can quickly end up in the place where you become a people pleaser. You will feel that you need love and approval from another person to know that you are OK. But if you know who you are, and learn to love that person, all of those problems can be avoided.

Teenagers Often Don't Know What They Are Looking For

Experience and maturity are important in life. When you look for someone to be in a relationship with, you need to know what you are looking for. Young love often blind teenagers to the real situation. This can make love seem even more confusing. You may think that you found the perfect person, but as you continue to mature and learn what's important to you, you may realize that your boyfriend or girlfriend isn't the type of person you want to be with.

As teens grow, many hops from one relationship to the next to find what they are looking for. This makes life, not just love, confusing. This is one reason it can be helpful to start as friends while you learn who you are and what you are looking for in a partner. Then, eventually, you can see if the relationship should develop into something more.

A Lot Is Going On In Life

Teenagers are busier than ever these days. They are expected to stay on top of their schoolwork, which often includes hours of homework and studying outside of school. On top of that, many play sports or have part-time jobs. When you add these things in with family and friends, it's difficult to add a romantic relationship on top of that. If the two individuals don't agree on what the right amount of time is to spend with each other, then one or both will end up frustrated and confused.

Teens that find themselves in the throes of young love need to be open with each other about expectations. This can help to eliminate confusion in the relationship.

It Might Be One-Sided

There is nothing quite as upsetting as being a teenager in love with someone who doesn't feel the same way. Young love is an intense emotion that can be overwhelming. If the feelings aren't returned, many kids struggle with how to move forward. Some remain obsessed with the other for years until school ends and they are no longer bumping into each other regularly. If you are a teen who is experiencing this situation you need to understand that it is a normal thing that happens, even for adults. It doesn't mean that there is something wrong with you. It simply means that you two are not right for each other.

Peer Pressure Plays A Role In It

Peer pressure is something that teenagers deal with at a much higher level than any other age group. It can make young love and relationships very complicated. Teens can feel pressured to be in a relationship even if they aren't interested because all of their friends are in relationships. They can also be pressured to take the relationship to the next level even if they are not ready to. There is an intense desire to fit in with their peers, and it makes it easy to cross boundaries that they wouldn't have crossed otherwise.

Tips On Young Love

Just because it's considered "young love," does not mean it isn't real. If you are a teenager, there are a few things you can do to eliminate some of the confusion in dating.

It Can Be Hard To Face Life's Challenges Without Support

  • Don't date your friend's ex. You may have strong feelings for that person, but you need to determine how important your friend is to you. Many high school friendships end because of young love that doesn't last. Your friend might even say it's OK, but you better know for sure before you date their ex.
  • Spend some time getting to know yourself. You want to be in a relationship with someone that likes you for you. That means you have to know who you are, what you like, and what you don't like. Once you know who you are, don't compromise that for any other person, no matter how much you love them. Someone who loves you for the right reasons won't ask you to make compromises.
  • Don't isolate yourself. Don't sacrifice your relationships with family and friends for the person you are dating. You may want to spend a lot of time with them but make sure that saves time for others as well.
  • Get on the same page. Talk to the other person to make sure you are both on the same page and feel the same way. Then communicate your expectations. If you are playing a sport and need time to practice and spend time with your team, be upfront about this.
  • Don't lose focus. School is going to go by quickly, and you need to have a plan for what comes next. Don't lose focus because you are so consumed with your relationship. Whether you plan on going to school or starting a career, make sure you’re prioritizing your future.

Navigating Love With BetterHelp

There is an increasingly large amount of research pointing to online therapy as a powerful tool for understanding confusing feelings, including those related to young love. In a broad-based study published in World Psychiatry, researchers evaluated the potential effectiveness of online therapy, and in particular online cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). They found that online therapy is just as effective as face-to-face therapy.

If you are experiencing complicated emotions related to young love, online counseling can help. BetterHelp has thousands of licensed mental health professionals, from all over the US (and beyond). With more options, you’ll have a better chance of matching with a therapist who fits your preferences and knows how to help you with your specific concerns. And because BetterHelp thoroughly vets its counselors (only 15% of applicants are accepted), you’ll know you’re working with a qualified, licensed therapist. The mental health professionals at BetterHelp know how to provide you with guidance as you figure out love and relationships. Read below for counselor reviews, from those who have experienced similar issues.

Counselor Reviews

“Mark has been extremely attentive to everything that I disclose. He’s not only supported me but insight and encouragement to let me know I’m on a good path to self-improvement and discovery. Furthermore, Mark has provided me valuable insight into my romantic relationship, specifically with learning more about the relationship dynamics and how to build a stronger, healthier relationship.”

“Jackie is amazing! She’s very quick at reading people, and she takes me seriously and trusts my self-assessments. She hits the perfect balance of not judging or telling me what to do but also telling me hard truths when I need to hear them. It’s clear that she has a diversity of experience, and she has helped me understand other people in my life who also struggle with mental illnesses that are different than mine. I feel like I have grown individually and in my relationship while working with Jackie, and I’m so grateful! She’s also fun and relatable and someone I would want to hang out with outside therapy.”


Don't be in a hurry to find love. Spend your time learning who you are and what you like. Enjoy time with your family and friends and try new things. Life is an adventure. If love finds you, then make sure you deal with it the right way; but don't worry about trying to make it happen.

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