Pt. 2 – Like, Love and Lack Thereof

From first dates to last dates to no dates, anonymous high schoolers share stories from all stages of dating and romance.
Pt. 2 - Like, Love and Lack Thereof

As hot girl summer ends and cuffing season begins, many are starting to wish for love in a long term relationship. In part two of Like, Love, and Lack Thereof, I am going to be exploring love in high school by interviewing four of the longest standing JHS couples. All will stay anonymous as I ask them some deep questions about their love and even ask for some tips for those of us wanting more than the casual ‘talking’ stage.

What is LOVE?

In part one, I explored the less serious part of dating when a couple is in the ‘like’ stage, but the line between liking someone and loving someone is not clear to many who have never experienced love before., 

“[It’s] being there for someone not through just their highs but also their lows. It’s being there through their sun, through their smiles, through their happiness, but also through the tough times.”

Many of the couples described a relationship as being a team and constantly thinking about your person, not only when you see them or when it is convenient for you. It is easy to love the sun, but everyone has their days of rain, and being there at those times may be even more important than at their happiest. 

“You have a spot in your heart for that person. and they’re your whole world,” one boyfriend said.

For many people, including myself, it is hard to notice those definite feelings and feel comfortable accepting them. It is scary to fully open up to someone and let out who you truly are, because it hurts so much more if someone does not accept that genuine and maybe goofy side of you. I wrote about icks in part one, and fortunately I think those little icky habits that make us not like someone are nonexistent once love is present. I spoke about this topic with one interviewee when she said to me, 

“You don’t get those icks, and if you do it’s cute and funny to you instead of yucky.

I really love this because I think icks are so annoying, and although I do experience them, I wish I did not. It is nice to hear that if someone is actually for you, you will not be bothered by small and unimportant things like tripping over a shoelace. 

On that reassuring note, let us move on to when these couples think they started to truly love each other. One of the funny examples I heard was when a girl said that when her and her boyfriend would go out, he would only play country music on the radio. She continued, 

“After a while I was like, ‘wait, maybe I kinda like country music.’” 

She also said that she stopped feeling like she needed to look perfect around her boyfriend anymore, 

“There was a point where I stopped wearing makeup when I went to his house or at school and that’s when I knew I was in deep.”

She gave me specific examples of the moments she realized she loved him, which was more what I was expecting, as it seems like it would be a really big moment in a relationship, but surprisingly most of the couples had a hard time telling me a specific moment that they realized they were in love. Most just said that after a while of getting to know each other, they eventually realized that they loved one another. In one interview we started talking about the stages of love and the topic of ‘puppy love’, which is the less serious, more playful type of love that people often subject teen relationships to. Even one of my long term relationships said that she felt puppy love for a while, 

“When I first said I love you it was puppy love and I didn’t realize it at the time.” 

I hope this is as reassuring to you as it is to me, because it shows that as a relationship goes on, you can figure it out as you go. There is no reason to stress over not knowing exactly what you are feeling, especially because the feelings are so new. Over time, the couples gained that feeling of love, it was not just in one moment. The feeling of love seems to be identified by the couples as the moment in their relationship when saying, “I like you” just was not enough anymore, and they realized they had that space in their hearts for each other.


Next, I have collected some tips from these successful couples for anyone who is interested in starting and maintaining a long term relationship. Every couple said at least once that they value communication the most in their relationship. 

“The key is to stay patient with each other and give each other time to communicate and really think about what’s going on in our relationship.”

So what does communication actually look like?  

In high school, we are busy and it is easy to let little things control how we handle situations. Sometimes quitting at the relationship is the easiest solution, but these couples define a healthy relationship as being able to listen, forgive, and move forward. It would seem difficult at the beginning, but if you really want that long term love, you may need to put in the effort. 


In addition to some tips and tricks, I noted some things that the couples do for each other to keep their spark alive. There are a lot of romantic things you can do for someone to express your love for them. Big gestures work, but many couples said that they enjoy the small and thoughtful things most.  

“He surprises me with ‘just because’ flowers, and then other times he surprises me with little notes on my car.” She continues, “Guys, it does not have to be expensive.”

One boyfriend answered saying,

“Little things just to show them that you know them. And tell them not just that you love them but why you love them.”

Personally, I have never been a gift person, and I think a lot of other people struggle with gestures like that. Something to keep in mind is that most people can just buy themselves what they want, it is not about money, it is about showing that you pay attention and think of them. One couple said,

“I feel like a big misconception is you have to spend tons of money to keep your girl happy, but in reality it’s just little things like write her notes, buy her flowers. It costs you $11 to buy her flowers and she’ll think about that for two weeks.” 

To any boy reading this, trust me when I say that she wants flowers, even if she says she does not, but even though she will always love the flowers, oftentimes the gesture does not need to be an object,

“Wherever I’m going through some tough times she always leaves me a long text message for in the morning I can read and it starts my day on a good foot.” 

Moral of the story, money or no money, if you wanted to, you would. So put in that effort and it will make the biggest difference. 

As someone that is in the large group of students at JHS who have not had their first love, I hope you have learned as much as I have. Now of course you have to find that special person which I cannot as easily help you with, but once you do, remember some important things. Put others before yourself, do not run at the first sign of conflict, and communicate with your partner. You may have to put in more effort than you usually do for the occasional fling, but the outcome could be amazing. 

Look out for the last part of Like, Love, and Lack Thereof in the next issue of The Black and White where I will explore the “Lack Thereof” side of relationships at JHS, being students who have not had much love life experience at all in highschool.

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