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The Relationship Hop

Updated: Aug 14, 2020

I am involved with young people all the time, from middle-school-age children to young adults. I am grateful that they allow me into their life and world. So, I want to express some of the conversations and observations I have had with them in a nonjudgmental way. I say nonjudgmental because I have been young and carefree as well. However, as we get older, we begin to think through some things before we act on them or maybe not everyone. In any case, this particular subject has resurfaced in my mind and heart that I wanted to discuss it.

Relationship Hop

It is incredible how intimate relationships blossom in today’s generations, or maybe I was just so naive growing up. However, my middle schoolers jump from one relationship to another until I think it is just funny. One week they are “going with” this one and the next week they are “going with” someone else. When I ask them about their relationship, I find that I am behind on the “tea,” and they say, “we broke up.” All I can say is okay, what happened? Some have very mature responses like, he does not share, I am always buying him something (snacks), but he doesn’t buy me anything. So, then I say, in other words, he is always begging. Yes, Ms. Stephanie! Well, that’s good you are aware of what you like and dislike in your relationships as well as what you will not tolerate. Then you have the little girls that pick the wrong relationships to the point of being belittled by the little boy. It seems to be the ones that are cute and well-proportioned but insecure because she has not mentally caught up with her developmental stages. However, her insecurity doesn’t mean she takes pride in her appearance or hygiene. So, having a boyfriend is fantastic and it makes her feel like the rest of her peers, jumping around in relationships. The difference is the boys mistreat these particular girls because of her insecurities and wanting to fit in.

By the way, I never would use the phrase “going with,” because I think about “go with you where?” I preferred the term “dating” because it meant something more to me. My opinion may not be the same for others, but “going with” someone reminds me of going somewhere to have sex. Dating someone means going out enjoying each other’s company in a public domain. When I was in middle school, I dated one boy the three years in attendance. He never pressured me for sex or made a sexual suggestion, which made dating him for so long pleasurable. However, when I thought we were getting to that point of intimacy, I broke up with him. I did not know if he would continue to date me without sex, and it was prom time, which I thought was the best time to end the relationship. He went to the prom with his neighbor friend, and I stayed home. Even still, I did not know of any classmates that hopped around in relationships the way this generation of middle schoolers does without any significant meaning. Call me old fashioned, but this age group should be more focused on enjoying their childhood. I have seen plenty that does focus on their youth, but it does not take long for them to be influenced by their peers.

Sexuality Experimenting or Trending?

The most surprising thing for me about my little babies relationship hop is that gender doesn’t matter. One day they are gay, and the next, they are straight. Yes, my little babies are conducting sex education with me; I am the student. One young girl identified as lesbian seems to like having these conversations with me. She would sit and point out some of the others’ sexuality. She would say, he is bi-sexual, she is a lesbian, and she is pan-sexual. Now, wait a minute, what in the world is pan-sexual? And she explained it to me. There are so many new terms that I cannot keep up and have to ask the meaning of them. Then she asked me, “how come people always say no homo but have homosexual tendencies?” I told her; I might not be the best person to ask that question.” Furthermore, It has been challenging for me to respond to her needs of console during difficult times in her same-sex relationship. I do not want to feel like I am insensitive to her needs. Then I would be like those that shun people that chose an alternative lifestyle and the thought of how many children committed suicide because they were not accepted. Please understand she knows, and everyone else knows my stance, but what I cannot do is treat her like she is not significant. The choices any of us make in our lives is ultimately between that person and God. I am just a vessel used by God to shine light in dark places and situations.

As a follower of Christ, I am taught to “Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 4:7-11, NIV).

Now back to the message in my heart regarding the relationship hop method used by my little babies. This method of intimacy is desensitizing our children from the true meaning of love and relationship. It is a temporary high to believe that it is helping them to discover who they are. It is also a false sense of acceptance. As they get older, sex and relationships will not have real meaning to them or what it means to be in love truly. The girls going into adulthood will not know how a man should treat them, and the boys will not learn how to treat a woman as a man. For little boys, relationship hop will become routine, and breakups will not bother them at all. Little girls will become numb in relationships, and any sex or sexual acts is just a part of life; it is an expectation and their duty to put out. Who are these children’s role models? I believe it is their interpretation of social media because they spend an incredible amount of time searching on YouTube for answers. It is not always learned behavior from their home life because I have spent countless times telling my little babies to talk to their parents about some of the things they share with me. Parents like to believe that their children tell them everything, but they do not, so please do not be fooled by the “everything is fine” coming from them. If the children do not bring up specific topics of conversation, have it with them anyway.

What About Sexual Diseases?

Next, I am stunned by the conversations I had with my big babies (young adults). In these conversations about sex, I found that young people are conscious about getting pregnant and less concerned about sexually transmitted diseases. The majority of the young ladies are proud of using some type of birth control, more implants than pills. Okay, so you do not want to get pregnant! What about STDs? Do you have that covered? The young men responded with another question to me. What if you are in a committed (monogamous) relationship? I responded with another question; do you know where he/she been before you met? Young people must receive more education about STDs because they are not concerned. Their commitment is as long as the relationship lasts, and that could be days or months before they are on to the next sexual partner. Therefore, precautions should be taken until the relationship has lasted longer than a few months or marriage.

My view of some young people’s intimate relationships seems more like a buddy’s relationship except with benefits. They spend an incredible amount of time hanging out with each other than taking a breather or giving each additional time to be missed. Their relationships are too similar to marriage. They skip the thrill of the courtship part of the relationship and building up to a potential marriage arrangement. The one thing I notice more than not, is the female give up her friends and start just hanging out with the male partner and his friends. Maybe that is why their relationship end so soon because someone begins to feel smothered. Although in many relationships, partners tend to cheat or have sex outside the relationship, which still may put the relationship partner at-risk. Therefore, sex and the risk of STDs is worth discussing and thinking about beforehand because there might be unanticipated outcomes.

According to the annual Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance Report, there is a continued rise of STDs in the United States since 2018. The top three diseases are syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia, not to mention herpes that plague over half of America. Partly due to decreased use of condoms among young people and gay and bisexual men as well as budget cuts to STD programs at the state and local level. These diseases are not new; rather, not enough information is disseminated to young people to take precautions. Keep in mind young women that these diseases can cause serious health problems or even death for infants born from an infected mother. It can also cause significant health issues for women that range from infertility to chronic pelvic pain and cervical cancer. Although women tend to suffer more significant health consequences from STDs, there are just as many young men infected as young women. Still, there is a substantial risk to people of any age that are sexually active.

Is Romance Still Possible?

From what I am observing with my little and big babies, I cannot help but wonder if there is still romance in dating. Are carefree sexual relationships acceptable or normal? Of course, when you are young, you engage in what’s pleasurable to you without careful thought. I cannot say I wasn’t young and made the best decisions in my relationships but as I watch this generation, I see things differently now. Young adults are accountable for their actions, and I can only provide information that some may be receiving for the first time. I know it took me way too long in my life to “flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (2 Timothy 2:2). I want a genuine relationship filled with romance and love, listening to the whispers of my mate telling me, “how beautiful you are, my darling!... Your eyes behind your veil are doves. …Your lips are like a scarlet ribbon; your mouth is lovely. …You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you” (Song of Solomon 4:1-7, NIV). Not only in his words but in his actions as well.

The thing is, we are never too young or old to want meaningful relationships where our love is reciprocated. What the older group of people need to do better at is teach our more youthful group of people about meaningful relationships. It starts with how we conduct ourselves, real conversations with them, and healthy relationships. Help your children to feel comfortable talking with you and not feel intimidated by you. In the meantime, if you are of age and looking for true romance, read the whole book of Song of Solomon.

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