Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Rethinking Love II

Teenage relationships that are passionate, move fast, and lead to heartache and ruin. Just as Odysseus washed ashore on the island of Calypso, wounded and in pain, many adolescents run to the arms of the opposite sex for solace, a shelter in the midst of life’s storms. In essence, they end up seeking answers to their heart’s deep questions in another person. This is a recipe for disaster.

Counselors, teachers, and parents could tell countless tales of young girls who sought their answers from a teenage boy. They give of themselves physically, believing that if they give everything they have, the answers and healing they seek will be found. Usually, they find the opposite instead—more pain and more confusion. The boy will often feel smothered from the weight of the girl’s needs and will run from the situation. The girl will then be devastated by the loss of what she perceived as the quest object of her life and will despair. When you make someone else your life’s goal, you feel destroyed and hopeless if they leave.

The way adolescent boys end up running to girls as their source of healing and life’s answers can look a little different. A teenage boy may become subservient to a girl, catering to her every whim, just as Odysseus was made prisoner to Calypso. The girl may become more demanding and bossy and begin to look down upon her boyfriend for his neediness and lack of courage to stand up to her. This is typically because what drew her to the boy in the first place was his strong, untamed nature. Deep down, she isn’t looking for someone who needs her, she is hoping for someone who wants her. This may appear to be a subtle difference, but it is very significant. She will push and push, actually hoping to prod the boy into standing up to her demands. This may sound odd, but it occurs frequently.

A darker way in which some teenage boys take their quest to their girlfriends is through violence. Searching for healing and answers, a boy will sometimes feel strong anger toward the girl for not providing what his heart is seeking. In situations like these, abuse is common. In a move that seems to defy common sense, the girl, struggling with her own wounds and insecurities, will commonly stay with the abuser. Like Odysseus, these young people end up becoming captives of the very thing they found so alluring in the beginning. As Calypso served only to delay Odysseus’s journey home, so too do unhealthy relationships delay an adolescent’s quest to find the healing and heart-level answers for which they search.

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