Romantic Stories and Essential Advice From the Couples of IHS

Rebekah Rahman, Staff Writer

As someone who has seen their fair share of teenage-driven media, it is quite easy to fall under the delusion that most high schoolers are in romantic relationships that are strife with conflict, miscommunication, and unnecessary drama. According to Stage of Life, 61 percent of high school teenagers in 2014 reported that they had been “in a relationship.” Still, simple statistics can not fully encompass the exciting highs and emotional lows of a young-adult relationship amidst the unavoidable struggles of high school. As I have no personal expertise on this matter, I sought out four couples for their stories, advice, and words of caution.

Many opponents of high school romance may argue against the idea that one can find a suitable partner in their science class, but sophomore Kylie Husemoen and Henry Hess met the same way in eighth grade and have been dating for nearly two years. After their initial friendship, Husemoen came to have feelings for Hess because “he was always there” for her. This is a trend that is consistent throughout their relationship, as the main way that Hess shows he cares is in his willingness to “always stand up” and be there when she needs him. For them, the ideal date would be to eat at Japan Ginger and talk to one another rather than sit in silence at the movies.

Similarly, seniors Laney Orphanos and Joseph Warner got to know each other through a fateful pairing in their debate group during sophomore year. Almost two years to the day, Orphanos relates that navigating the honeymoon stage of a relationship can make balance in other aspects of life extremely difficult. “In the beginning, everything was super exciting and new… and it definitely took some time to implement a healthy balance of family and friends. But, we’re both open enough to tell each other when we need space and we’re understanding of that.” Communication certainly plays a large role in the longevity of their relationship with Warner often finding care and “reaffirment in [her] words.” It also contributes to the shaping of a perfect date for them as they would avoid the movies and opt for a “casual dinner at MOD pizza and stargazing.”

Despite not attending the same school, junior Grace Irwin and senior Rowell Castro found each other five months ago through their shared love for robotics. For Castro, he knew from the moment he saw her: “I liked her right away when I met her… I fell in love with her face when I saw her for the first time. She is also a nerd and I love her for that.” In true modern-day fashion, they began flirting over constant text-messaging, and for Irwin, admitting her feelings “was a low-stress situation.” Even though this couple describes their dream date as “cuddling while watching a movie,” everything is not always picture perfect. Castro admits to “getting jealous easily,” but he prizes Irwin’s ability to “give [him] closure” and how they “both talk through those struggles and misunderstandings.”

In about a month, junior Kalena Comeau and sophomore Skyler Morris will have been dating for two years, but they have known each other since 2017. Although finding time during the week for each other is not easy, Comeau says, “When it’s the weekend we’re always together.” It is certainly not surprising that the pair loves to be together, as they support each other’s growth and abilities. Comeau expands on this: “Skyler likes my on going desire to always better myself… I also appreciate how he’s very capable of thinking intelligently about real situations.” For them, their support of one another allows for greater communication, and Comeau finds comfort in Morris’s conversation alone, “whether it be casual, meaningful or just super out of the ordinary.”

These four long-term couples make a healthy high school relationship seem like a walk in the park. Since the extent of my relationship experience is found between the pages of “Twilight,” I turned to them for advice. Afterwards, I quickly learned that there is no magic or innate ability that makes a blossoming relationship fruitful. In terms of the dating scene here at the high school, Orphanos advises to “always be open to finding people in random environments, and finding someone you wouldn’t expect.” Husemoen agrees with this sentiment and notes that “looks aren’t everything” and personality has to be the deciding factor. For the introverted amongst you, Warner advises “to not hold yourself back and be confident in who you are… don’t be afraid of rejection.” We’ve all heard it before, but if you are single and ready to mingle, you will need to brush up on your communication skills first. After spending hours finding and speaking with couples, all have said that their ability to be open and communicate honestly with each other has made their relationships possible in the first place.

In order to preserve individuality in a relationship, a couple has to create boundaries that are separate from the other person. Of course, communicating these nuances about yourself is not very romantic or simple. For Orphanos and Warner, they “had to initially communicate those boundaries between each other” because it is dangerous to assume that your partner will just know what you need. Following this idea, I asked all of the couples what warnings they would give to those who are in or are currently looking for a serious relationship. Comeau summed it up perfectly: “I think the term warning induces too much negativity, when really relationships are a beautiful thing to pursue. But I will say, it’s not easy; they take maintenance, cooperation and patience. It’s important to be aware of what kind of relationship you’re in, and recognize it as either healthy or unhealthy.”