By Jennifer Gottesfeld, 17, Beverly Hills HS
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My boyfriend, Sean, and I met in the middle of our sophomore years in high school. At first it seemed like a fling—meet at a party, check each other out. But after a few dates we found out how much we liked each other and the more we saw each other the more we wanted to see each other. It ended up being love.

But after about seven or eight months we began to face a lot of ridicule from friends and parents, who didn’t believe we’d make our relationship work for so long. They said we should check out "all the fish in the sea."

I disagreed. What’s the point in throwing away a good relationship with a person you really like, just because you’re young and should be "experiencing" the world. Through a boyfriend or girlfriend you can learn so much more than you can from a bunch of meaningless hook-ups.

Relationships can be hard

It’s kind of hard to believe sometimes, but our two-year anniversary is in February. To reach that milestone I’ve had to learn to balance school, extra-curricular activities, friends, personal time and a serious relationship.

The most important thing in a relationship is to realize that you’re not going to be happy all the time. But you should be happy most of the time.
The first month is usually all hugs and kisses. You can’t pull your eyes off each other and all you want to do is hold hands and spend every minute saying "No, you hang up first." When I first met Sean, the only thing that I could say was, "I’m so happy, I’m so happy."

But after the initial "WOW" is over, you need to juggle being with this person and managing the rest of your life. The key is letting your partner know what your goals and commitments are. Rather than being a barrier, he or she should be someone to support you, and you should return the favor.

If you do sports every day until 7 p.m. and then need to do homework for your five Advanced Placement classes, you have to figure out how to balance your time. You don’t want to start living your life around your boyfriend’s or girlfriend’s schedule. Let your partner know that he/she may get to talk to you only 10 minutes a night during the week. If they complain, tough. Even though you may love this person, you aren’t married and don’t owe him or her anything.

There are times when my crazy schedule stresses me out and doesn’t leave any time to see Sean. I work at a talent management company 15 hours a week. I am an editor for my school newspaper and a commentator for my school’s broadcast news station. I work on a presidential campaign. I also work at Teen Line. Plus, I’m taking two AP classes and a class at UCLA. So you can see how that leaves little time to devote to a relationship.

However, instead of giving me a hard time about not seeing him, Sean is supportive. And just to sneak in a quick "hello" and "I love you," he’ll drop by my work and bring me lunch.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder

One of my close friends was in a relationship where the two of them were immersed in each other. Everyone was jealous of how cute and happy they were together, until four months later when they got so sick of each other, they stopped talking.

From my experience, I believe that when you and your partner go to different schools it makes the relationship stronger (not that you should go looking for people who don’t go to your school). But since you need to make more of an effort to create time for him or her in your schedule, you become aware, rather quickly, if you are willing to give the extra effort.

My boyfriend and I go to different schools. Because we don’t see each other during school, we’ve tried to make the extra trip to each others’ houses at least three times a week. It’s proved to be a nice break from the hustle and bustle of teenage life. This commute was more difficult before I had a car. I had to weasel my mom or dad into lending me the car, or driving me over for a quick hello—it always helps to have supportive parents who like the guy or girl.

When you don’t feel like making that extra effort to see the person, or when the effort has become more of a burden than an enjoyment, those are usually signs that the love affair is coming to a close. The problems really arise when you hit the rough spots, the fights, the stress and the wondering whether you want to be single again.

There are times that I’ve had to cancel dates with Sean. I end up feeling so guilty. I know that sometimes he feels neglected because I’m constantly on the run. Inevitably tension grows because of the lack of time spent together. But I know that the relationship is worth fighting for because the time we spend together makes up a thousand times for the time we’re apart.

The relationship is stable mainly if you know how to resolve the problems, rather than giving up. There will be times when you feel you’re giving more than you’re receiving, or times when you’re just tired of worrying about someone else.

The solution is to know what’s important to you. If you cannot see yourself without your boyfriend or girlfriend and feel more whole when you are together—even if they can be a pain sometimes—it would be unwise to give up, because all good things are worth fighting for.