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Do teen relationships last?      
  dating advice · dr. drew ·teenagers

Q:My girlfriend and I are 23 years old. We have been going out for seven years and everything is great. My problem is that I hear from a lot of people that our relationship will not last because we were teenagers when we started dating. Also, I am her first (although I have had other partners), and I am worried that she might want to experience someone else at some point in the future. Are my fears warranted?

Dr. Drew: First things first: just because you started dating when you were young doesn't necessarily mean the relationship is doomed. People tend to worry about these kinds of relationships because from our teen years through our early 20s, we go through a tremendous amount of change, and not just hormonally. We change as people, and we develop a better sense of who we are and what we want in a relationship.

I worry that if you are in a relationship throughout this phase of development, you are more focused on being a couple than on being an individual, and you don't experience the independence you need in order to grow. When that happens, a couple can become so dependent on each other and enmeshed in each other's lives that staying together is simply a matter of habit and comfort. In other words, it's easier to stay a couple than it is to break up. Those types of relationships rarely last, and if they do, they're not very healthy.

That's not to say that your relationship won't last, or that you shouldn't try to make it work. These are just things to keep in mind as you continue to work on this relationship. Be sure you give each other room to breathe and grow. Make sure this relationship is lasting because of your feelings for your girlfriend, and not out of some fear of being alone.

I understand your fears about your girlfriend wanting to experience other partners, but I don't think you have anything to be worried about. Women seem to be less concerned with variety than men.

Testosterone has been theorized to influence a man's "desire for variety" that it's all tied up in that natural instinct to ensure the survival of the species through procreation. I say "natural," but I'm not saying that men shouldn't try to contain that drive. We're not exactly an endangered species. In general, men seem more concerned with quantity, but women seem more concerned with quality. I'm sure your girlfriend is more interested in establishing an intimate, trusting relationship with you rather than sleeping with a bunch of different guys for the "experience."

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