1/29/2012

And They Called It Puppy Love



How much is that doggie in the window?
The cute little puppy with the smile on his face.

Falling in love can be a great deal like bringing a puppy home, so full of fun and falling over you with joy in the beginning. It is only when you get to the hard stuff that reality sinks in, when you have to train the puppy to do things, like not beg for food, not whine at night and not pee in the house. Only then can a new doggie owner see that owning a puppy is hard work.

Have you fallen prey to this? Don’t be fooled by the manipulation of “the look!” Men, and women alike, can pull this on you. As my husband says, “All puppies are cute but none stay puppies for long.” Once reality hits, you will have an animal that does not listen when you say “no”, begs for food when you eat and pees on your newly cleaned floor. Thus begins the classical conditioning of your loved one and you will never quite view it in the same way you did initially. Yes, you will continue to love your pup but the relationship will forever change. You will keep the little fellow around. Nobody divorces their doggie. But, the same cannot be said of your spouse, or should I say soon to be ex spouse.

Young folks that get married find their marriages seldom last. Graduating from high school grants them the privilege to vote for a President that can serve a 4 year term in office (maybe 8 years if they are lucky?) with their one vote being counted among millions. Many feel this qualifies them to know what true loves is, the kind that will last a lifetime, till death. Millions of young people in this country walk down the aisle and say “I do” to God, family and friends for a lifetime to someone they feel is their soul mate.

Adrenaline rush is confused with love. Lust is not enough to make relationships last. It alone does not help the dishwasher get emptied, the trash gets taken out or the bills get paid. This is part of the reality of everyday life being married, or not. Make up sex may be enjoyable and passionate but not if that is the only kind of love- making going on in the marriage. Fights and disagreements without compromises and resolutions will eventually tear a relationship apart. When two young adults are joined and not fully mature but think they are, even with a commitment, the relationship can be a huge uphill battle to stay together. They often do grow apart, not necessarily because anyone or anything is to blame.

Another lifelong decision is a career choice for young people graduating from high school. Consistently, across all sources, the percentage of students changing majors in college these days is 80%! This is a decision that does not involve living, breathing and sharing personal space with a mate and yet the same young person spends more time deliberating about this decision and changing their mind about this choice, often times, than marriage. Is it any wonder that the divorce rates are so high among young people? Coincidentally, students are changing majors at alarmingly high rates. As many as 50% will change 2 to 3 times during their college years adding on an average of two years of school to their four year program for their degree. This may be a good sign as it shows the forethought of thoroughness of thought, not rushing into a decision headstrong. Why then is marriage not approached the same way? It is almost as if a divorce is a Get out Of Jail card that allows them to erase the marriage. It seems it would be simpler to not get married in the first place.

As long as there are young people, there will indeed be young marriages. That is human nature, that cannot be changed. Understanding what happens when this occurs though is important from a sociological standpoint for all of us in society. We all pay, indirectly, or directly for failed marriages. This does affect children and communities. When looking at divorce rates in this country it is important to know the distribution of divorce rates in our country and note that the highest rates are with this demographic, young adults. Those adults married under the age of 28 are double the national average!

In knowing this, perhaps it will make it easier on you, should you find yourself faced in a similar situation, personally or as a parent. Not every one of these marriages ends in divorce, needless to say, but the odds are not in their favor. There is so much growing and changing occurring, it may take both partners in different directions.

The lesson that can be learned here is that growing up is a process. It is not something that can be forced on youth, it must come by naturally. You can only forewarn your children of the pitfalls but they must make their own decisions and decide when they are ready, ready to say “I do” and ready to say “I need to leave” if that day comes. Loving someone means recognizing unions don’t always go as planned. Puppy love can’t last forever; puppies can’t stay puppies for long.
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