Separation anxiety: High school edition

The reality of dating as a teenager


Love. Weird thing isn’t it? Weird, but beautiful. Weird how it consumes you from the inside out. How it makes you feel like you are in a garden of a million roses with the scent entrancing every inch of your body. How it makes you want to romanticize everything from making breakfast to putting on socks to go out.

It’s beautiful because when you find someone to love, you find yourself. It’s beautiful how one half of you lies in someone else. How you are so mesmerized by the small lines that appear when they smile, or how they pick on their lips when they’re so incredibly focused on something. It’s beautiful to be encapsulated by every little thing they do. It’s beautiful to be in love. More often than not, love like this turns into attachment, for better or for worse.

When you find someone who you feel for in this way, and who loves you back more if not the same, it becomes the best feeling in the world. You are almost addicted to being cared for, being asked, “How was your day today?”. These exchanges become a pattern that evolves into routine, and just like brushing your teeth or eating lunch, you would feel lost in its absence. Catching up with your significant other, talking about the most random things until 3 a.m. as if nothing else in the world matters. It’s as if the only two people in this world are you and them.

High school relationships become a reason to want to go to school. Not saying friends and incredible teachers are not a reason enough to go, but young love gives you a high that nothing else compares to. The feeling of being so attached to a human is like a rose with thorns: alluring but painful.

The correlation between being in a relationship while being independent is a necessary one to point out. Being dependent on your partner for everything is not exactly healthy, even if it may feel like the easy thing to do. The security you feel with your partner knowing they have things handled can direct you toward relying on them for every little thing which can strip you of your own independence.

In the cases that they are not able to be with you at the moment, out volunteering or simply with their friends for the night, this robust attachment can oftentimes turn into separation anxiety, which can disrupt daily life greatly. It can act as a speed bump slowing you down, preventing you from completing your tasks and achieving your goals.

But first, what is separation anxiety? In simple terms, it is the feeling of restlessness or being distressed when being away from home or a loved one. It’s difficult but normal to ignore the void of not being with your significant other at a given moment, but when it starts to affect the way you sleep, perform daily tasks or your grades is when it starts to become a problem. Separation anxiety might vary for people who have it, and it might affect them in different ways, too.

One of the most consequential ways this can possibly affect someone is during their highschool years. These years are the four most important ones in a student’s educational career, which may be jeopardized by things such as separation anxiety. The way one performs during these years can single handedly pave a path for their future. Dealing with separation anxiety during these years can become a harsh reality to bear on top of never ending homework assignments and tests. Therefore, it is important to know how to cope with these feelings and prioritize school a little more.

Going to an academically competitive school such as Bridgeland, the stress on a student can reach high levels, which for some might only be managed when winding down with their partner and talking about their day. But when they are not there to comfort you, it is important to feel secure enough to be able to comfort yourself.

If you are someone who is taking multiple Advanced Placement (AP) classes, Dual Credit classes (DC) or just have a rigorous schedule, being in a relationship on top of having separation anxiety can be a huge burden. As I mentioned before, it can interrupt your daily tasks, distract you from your priorities and harm you at the end of the day.

It is understandable to be attached to your significant other where you feel like yourself only when you are with them, when you feel at peace and can focus knowing they’re waiting for you at the end of the day. But, the constant overthinking knowing they’re out, the constant worrying and the sleepless nights because they are not with you at the moment become extremely harmful to one’s physical and mental well-being.

Attachment is a common thing and gets better overtime. I have provided some tips and tricks to ease separation anxiety and help you focus on school, but what is important is remembering that at the end of the day you only have yourself and you are the only one who will always be there for you no matter what.

Write out your goals for the day on a planner. By writing out your goals you are more likely to accomplish them, thus increasing your focus on the tasks you have set.

Quality time. Of course, time apart is healthy, but spending some quality time with your significant other everyday such as a 30 minute phone call, FaceTime or meeting up with them can really help prevent those levels of anxiety.

Build connections with people other than your partner. Platonic connections could very well be the reason you get through the day. Spending time and building relationships with friends and family can help you wind down and reduce those levels of stress to distract you from the anxiety you are feeling, as well as remind you that there are other people there for you.

Talk to your partner. If you feel comfortable enough, you could talk to your partner about the separation anxiety you are feeling and discuss ways to reduce the symptoms.

Focus on your needs. Listen to your body. If you feel like a nice walk by the lake, a movie or anything else will help you prevent these overwhelming feelings, then do it. Do what makes you happy and what makes you comfortable.

It is natural and common to be attached to your significant other, but excess attachment can prove to be more harmful. While it is important to maintain yourself and your relationships, it is also important to focus on school because high school years are very important. Just remember, love is like a field of roses with thorns. While facing the thorns will strengthen your relationship, it is good to set some boundaries and enjoy alone time for a little.