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Forever and always – How to build, maintain a strong relationship

Senior Grant DePlama and his girlfriend senior Teagan Lydon during last year's Homecoming week. DePalma and Lyndon have been going out for over three years since last New Year's Eve.
Senior Grant DePlama and his girlfriend senior Teagan Lydon during last year's Homecoming week. DePalma and Lyndon have been going out for over three years since last New Year's Eve.

By Meghan Doyle
Staff Writer
This New Year’s Eve found seniors Teagan Lydon and Grant DePalma enjoying salmon and beef tenderloin at Fuego in Arlington Heights.  Not only was the couple ringing in 2011, but they were also celebrating their three-year anniversary during the countdown.
Although Lydon and DePalma have been able to keep their relationship strong, the majority of high school relationships fall apart after six months, according to Sociology teacher Jason Cohen.
Cohen stresses the importance of the “creation of the foundation of the relationship” and says that becoming good friends first and learning about the other person in-depth before dating is the key to keeping a relationship together.
Lydon and DePalma started out their relationship this way in seventh grade and attribute their success to the fact that they were friends before they became a couple.
Because of this, Lydon and DePalma’s relationship exemplifies the characteristics needed to maintain a healthy relationship.
Cohen also explains that there are two different kinds of love that exist — romantic love and mature love.  He says that most high school relationships fall apart because they are built on the superficial feelings of romantic love rather than the deep, true feelings of mature love that are experienced in most adult relationships.
“Most high school relationships are based on romantic love where you look at someone and you find an attraction in some way,” Cohen said, “and then you hear them say some things, and you think you’re falling in love, but you’re just really romantically attracted to them.”
In 2007, Seniors Teagan Lydon and Grant DePlama were good friends, and the two began going out a year later. Being friends first helped create a strong foundation for DePlama and Lydon's relationship.
In 2007, Seniors Teagan Lydon and Grant DePlama were good friends, and the two began going out a year later. Being friends first helped create a strong foundation for DePlama and Lydon's relationship.

Psychology teacher Daria Schaffeld says when a person first starts to feel for someone, chemicals called Oxytocin and Dopamine create “warm, fuzzy feelings” throughout their body and a passionate love for the other person.
As the couple spends more time together, however, those chemicals begin to fade away, leaving in their place either a desire to end the relationship or an even stronger love, dubbed by psychologists as companionate love.
Mature love, or companionate love, is the type of love that prompts parents to proudly kiss in front of their kids or teenagers to carry one another’s books but doesn’t require posting cuddly pictures on Facebook for the entire world to see like romantic love does.  Mature love is not built on fake feelings and superficial conversations either.  According to Cohen, partners in a mature love relationship have a deep, mutual understanding of one another and are honest with each other in everything.
Lydon and DePalma do their best to eliminate those superficial feelings from their relationship and strive to appreciate everything about the other person.
“[We are] able to embrace each other’s faults,” DePalma said.  “It’s a joy to be with each other every day.”
“We never get sick of each other or get mad for stupid reasons,” Lydon said.
Unfortunately, not all relationships are able to remain as firm as Lydon and DePalma’s because of the lack of “the creation of the foundation.”
“Just because you’ve had strong relationships in the past doesn’t mean they will be strong in the future,” Cohen said.
Nevertheless, Cohen said the best advice he can give to teenagers on relationships in general is to “make sure you understand what you’re involving yourself in and [know] the ups and downs that can happen with relationships.”

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