Young ‘Love’ & Stereotypes

IMG_3955When Peter and I started dating 5 and a half years ago, I was 15 and he was 14. I was about an inch taller, a year ahead in school and although a lot of people were supportive, there were still occasions where people would say, ‘oh it’ll never work.’

Years later, we still don’t fit the mold. I’m still slightly taller, I’ll always be a year and a half older and I’ll finish university a year before he does. We’re not your stereotypical ‘couple’  in a lot of ways, and I think this is potentially one of the reasons that this relationship has worked out so well.

When we started dating, I didn’t really know where to start. I mean, we’d confessed the fact that we liked each other (on MSN, no less…) and he later ‘officially’ asked me to be his girlfriend. At 15, I had no idea what it meant to be a girlfriend. As I read back on the immature excitement I expressed in my diary the evening he ‘asked me out’ (I’ll spare you examples) I wonder whether I was really old enough to be called someone’s ‘girlfriend’ at all. I was caught up in the world of Christian teen romance novels, where the guy was perfect, the arguments gentle and the purity of innocent romance overwhelming. Although this stuff was great in ensuring that I didn’t settle for someone who was less than awesome, the stark contrast of general society’s view of ‘how to date’ was scarily different to any ideas I had about what our relationship should look like.

What ended up happening was what probably happens with most couples. We taught ourselves how to date each other, we took it slow, and we threw the mold out the window. There’s a lot of stereotypes out there in terms of how relationships should function, and these are just a few of the one’s I’ve encountered:

The guy has to be older…

One thing I’ve noticed is that the older you get, the less you notice age differences. A year and a half really isn’t a big gap, so I haven’t noticed it too much, but when we were in school it seemed like ‘year groups’ determined who we associated with. Once we both finished school, our friendship groups merged and changed, and most of the time I’m not even aware that I’m older because we’re in the same stage of life.

The guy should be taller…

Perhaps not a stereotype, but its usually the case that the guy is taller than the girl. I love the way Peter is, and if he was any taller then he simply wouldn’t be him, but I understand that some people might feel differently. I say this because I get that it’s important to feel ‘small’ or ‘dainty’ as a girl, but that doesn’t always have to do with height. That might have to do with strength or physique, or even the emotional role that a guy plays in a relationship.

The guy should always pay…

I have to admit that I don’t really understand this one. You might have heard of the 5 love languages by Gary Chapman (look them up if you haven’t). It might make you feel loved if a guy pays for something – and if that happens occasionally, enjoy it. He probably enjoys doing it for you too – but if you’re young, don’t expect your guy to pay for everything. If he’s sweet he’ll probably offer, but make sure that he doesn’t feel obligated to pay for every meal, movie or date. He most likely can’t afford it any more than you can!

Now you’re a couple you should act like a couple…

Firstly, I think that PDA’s should be limited. They make people feel uncomfortable, and if those people are your friends, you want to love them as best as you can, right? On a more personal level, don’t feel like you have to conform to the things you hear about in songs, or see on TV shows or in movies. I love a book in the bible called ‘Romans’ (it’s actually a letter written by a guy named Paul) and in chapter 12 verse 2 it says, ‘Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.’ In no circumstances do we have to listen to what the world or media tells us about who we are or how we run our lives. For me as a Christian, this means striving towards a relationship that is pure and God-focused, and we try to reflect this in the way that we act as a couple both in public and on our own.

There are loads of unhealthy stereotypes out there – and you should know that you don’t even have to date, and focusing on finding a guy probably won’t end well. If you’re young, focus on building solid friendships and if you’re a Christian, focus on building your relationship with God first. If you end up with a guy and the relationship is a little outside the box, embrace your differences! It’s a lot of fun.

— Lauren x


27 Comments Add yours

  1. lishaloowhoo says:

    I love this post! I can relate in a few things. 🙂

  2. TimeDancer says:

    I am completely in love with this post. My husband Nathan and I have been together for 3 years since I was 17 and he was 16, and we’ve been married a year and 5 months. We weren’t part of the normal stereotype either, because I’m 10 months older than he is. Which in retrospect isn’t a lot, but for some people that’s like an ocean. I know couples that are 8 plus years apart, and they have beautiful marriages. I’m glad there’s other people out there who are like us. 🙂

    1. Lauren says:

      Thank you for your lovely comment! It’s funny, when I first told my mum that I had feelings for Peter I said, ‘Mum, how do you feel about liking younger guys?’ and she replied, ‘well you know that I’m older than your dad, right?’ Again, it’s a slight age gap, but when you’re at the same stage of life as someone, it doesn’t matter! It’s great to see that no matter what differences we have – be they age or personality, it can work beautifully 🙂

  3. kendelseigler says:

    This is awesome. I’ve been with my boyfriend for almost 4 years and we started dating 16(me)/18(him) in high school. No one ever thought we would last this long because it was just “puppy love” and because we are so different. Here we are about to graduate college, living in our first apartment together. My motto is “never date anyone you’d be afraid to bring home to your parents.” It obviously worked for me 😉

    1. Lauren says:

      I love your motto! Parents are a true test of character – I feel like they never think anyone could be good enough for their kids, so if a guy passes the parent test he’s pretty much made it! I think being different totally works in couples’ favour, you never get bored of trying to figure each other out! All the best in your relationship & college studies 🙂

  4. E. S. Remmus says:

    More people should feel comfortable breaking the mold. Some of the happiest relationships I know of are between people who don’t fit societal views on the “perfect” relationship

  5. Kelsey. says:

    So true! There are always so many stereotypes and ideas on what the “perfect” couple should be. Even though I’m only 16 it’s always nice to read about other peoples stories. All the best for you two ❤

  6. beckinablog says:

    I’m a month older than my boyfriend 😛 Haha, no age has nothing to do with it (to a certain extent) it’s more to do with maturity. A guy could be your age but still act like a 14 year old, and a younger guy might have the maturity of someone years older.
    We’ve been together 3 years, we met the first day we moved into our university halls, and I know a lot of people thought it would just be one of those uni relationships, and that we’d break up after we left. It’s been months now and we’re still going strong, and planning to move in together after christmas once we’ve saved up some money. Long distance isn’t easy but it just proves that we both want the same things from life, and I think thats one of the most important things.

  7. Merryn says:

    Such a great post! You have got such a knack for tying your thoughts together and this post is full of wisdom- makes me want to pass it on to every single person I know :).

    1. Lauren says:

      Thank you for your kind words & encouragement! x

  8. I married a guy who was my polar opposite, and you’re right–it’s never boring! I’m a romance writer, and I often wish I could include some of those differences in my writing, but I have to conform to the model. In real life, not every man is tall, buff and brooding–and thank God for that! Brooding is much more attractive in a book than in real life… 😉 LOL

    1. Lauren says:

      Wow, that sounds really interesting! Maybe writing about nonconforming would be an interesting twist!

      Oh, and I agree with you 😉 x

  9. erindot says:

    I loved this post! I’ve been with my boyfriend since I was 16 and could not be happier 🙂

    1. Lauren says:

      That’s so lovely! Thank you for your sweet comment 🙂 All the best in your relationship as well. Dating young can be so tough but it’s also soo much fun! x

  10. speaknowcianne says:

    Hi Lauren! Was inspired by your love story! Another proof that God is a unique author. I can’t imagine for as young as you are, you met your boyfriend when you are still studying and needs a lot to be done first- I mean, priorities- to graduate, own a job, etc. But… Just amazing! 🙂 God bless you and your relationship! 🙂

    1. Lauren says:

      Hi! Thank you! Yes, Peter is a big blessing in my life, but it’s difficult being in a relationship for so long with all those things (graduation, job etc.) to prioritise as well.

      Your blog is beautiful by the way! Thank you so much for your lovely comment. God bless you as well! xx

  11. keithakenel says:

    Thanks for following my blog! My wife is older than I am, tomorrow she turns 54 while I don’t until April, and she had finished her two year degree when we met in 1980. As you said, big differences when we are young, not so much as we age! She is tall for a woman but I am a bit taller than she. We dated for six years before getting married as I slowly worked my way through university paying as I went.
    Best of luck in your next few life chapters!

  12. tknot57 says:

    Hi Lauren,
    First thanks for visiting my blog. More importantly, you have done a wonderful job of making an important point regarding “conforming” to this worlds ideas of what we should look like. No matter if we are single or in a relationship we should conform to what Christ would have us be. After all He who began a good work in us WILL be faithful to complete it! Thanks again, good job well done. Al

  13. pixie says:

    What a sweet, romantic and courageous story. Your writing is crisp and honest. Like.

  14. A lot of wisdom in this post.

    By the way, thanks for following my blog.

  15. roweeee says:

    Hi Lauren.
    Thank you for visiting my blog. I had a chuckle at this one. My husband and I are the same height. I am 5 ft 10 so height was a real issue for me. Not just the height but the shorter guys I met were also very lean and I just felt like a giant. I really had to work through this as I dated so really tall men and was used to that but I am happy with my husband. I never dated anyone younger and used to date older men. My husband is 3 years older than me and that’s been good. What I have really found is important to a relationship is commitment and perseverance. There are so many hurdles in life, particularly once you have kids. You really have to stick with it no matter what!! That also goes against what is considered “normal” these days. xx Rowena

  16. andieoo7 says:

    this is such a good post. i love your refreshing attitude and refusal to commit to social stereotype/expectations. glad you have found the one for you! 🙂

  17. SARA says:

    Wonderful post and the message you gave it will be a great advice to me as I am 15.

  18. Sorry I missed your email. My mail is terribly backed up while I’m getting better and also taking time to write the magazine article. It’s almost done and I have to get to the publisher this week.
    Thank you for following me. After reading yours I decided to follow.

  19. lizabynoe246 says:

    Reblogged this on amoderndayspinster and commented:
    I love this blog by Simply Sweet. I know I am long out of my twenties, but when I talk to my lady friends, its amazing how many of them are concerned about breaking the ‘rules’ especially when it comes to younger men. Lauren makes a good point, if you are at the same stage of life, then the age gap doesn’t really matter….what do you think?

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