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How 'true' is preteen love?

  1. Apr 7, 2007 #1
    Kids between 10-12 start to 'notice' the opposite sex and some may even show feelings of strong love for one. But the thing is they don't show this feeling to anyone of the opposite sex, even if others are attractive or physically appealing as well. At that age people are not fully aware of society so any love is purely from the heart without much consideration to any other matters that adults consider like wealth etc. This rasies the question whether preteen love is very 'accurate'?

    I do understand that kids around that age first start to have hormone imbalance so things can be a bit crazy but the thing that struck me the most is that the expression of love is not to anyone so is 'falsifiable' in some ways. Is that an indication of something special? Not to mention that this will likely to be a person's very first experience of that overpowering emotion of love for the opposite sex.

    Notice I haven't used to word crush here because I am only speaking about a preteen love that didn't die out in the preteen years and definitely not short lived, although very strong.
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2007
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 7, 2007 #2


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    I would say that a 10-12 year old is very aware of society and what is considered attractive by society. It's also not true that they haven't started to develop sexual feelings and show these feelings. Of course some children mature more quickly than others. Some children this age don't know how to deal with these feelings, expecially if they come from a background where discussions of such feelings aren't welcome. Would I say that pre-teen "love" is accurate? NO. They have only impulses to act on and no experience. They don't even know yet what they want from life.

    At this age it is not "love", beyond perhaps, do they love their dog or cat or their grandmother. They are starting to feel sexual attraction. Sexual attraction is not love.
  4. Apr 7, 2007 #3


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    You might be asking the wrong question. Love and infatuation are not the same thing.

    That feeling of love is really just a bunch of brain chemicals working their magic, and that feeling is chemically no different than eating a bunch of chocolate and smoking a cigarette. Yeah, really.
    As for loving relationships, how do people choose their partners? If you've had a lover for more than 3 months you would know it has nothing to do with that "love" feeling and more to do with compatibility. It's like choosing a long term friend, and you need to be very picky because this one is supposed to last until one of you dies, accidental or otherwise.

    Preteens are very capable of feeling infatuation. They have the same chemicals in their brains as you have in yours. What a young person lacks is the ability to pick and choose what's in their own best interest. When you were 10 you probably thought it would be awesome to eat chocolate for every meal of the day. Now that you're a bit older, you realize that's not exactly a good idea. Love is really no different. A 10 year-old's idea of a good lover is not quite as refined as it should be, which means a relationship starting at the age of 10 will probably not last forever. If you and your partner are both 30, know exactly what you want in a relationship/marriage, both have had bad relationships and good relationships in the past, and are willing to stick together, there's actually a good chance it will work out.
    Successful relationships starting at a very young age are probably more of a fluke than anything else.
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2007
  5. Apr 7, 2007 #4
    But if a 10 year old showed interest for another 10 year old, is it really sexual attraction since both have just started to develop sexually, if any at all. Assuming the average 10 year olds.

    Although I admit that they don't show what adults would call love.
  6. Apr 7, 2007 #5
    Well I am about twice the age of a 10 year old so quite a lot older. But the puzzling thing is the fact that only one person was chosen out of many. Why? Why only one person if a 10 year old is very capable of feeling infatuation. Why one and only one? Or there could have been more about have died out very fast.

    I am not suggesting starting a 'relationship' is good for 10 year olds although it might be interesting. Being friends would be a good thing but most might be too shy. At that age, if an attraction is not short term, what causes this attraction? Is this attraction not similar to how adults are attracted in the first place?
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2007
  7. Apr 7, 2007 #6


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    At that age, I had two classmates after me. Later, in HS, one looked hotter than a $10 pistol, and the other was tall, slim and attractive, though some guys thought she was bookish and cold, and we all remained friends. They would laugh and tell me about how in elementary school they'd egg each other on to tackle me when we were on the playground, knowing that I would have the "darn girls!" response. They thought that part was fun, too! Childhood fantasy is just that. Kids of that age are unaware of the responsibilities and commitment entailed in a relationship that rises above the level of infatuation. You can probably find examples of successful relationships in which couples "chose" each other at an early age, but I doubt that those are common. BTW, the really hot girl has been married at least a couple of times now, and the willowy "bookish" lady is a successful lawyer. When you're 10 you don't know where your life is going. As a corollary, when you're 55 you still don't know where your life is going, but you've got a better idea of where it might not be going. :biggrin:
  8. Apr 7, 2007 #7


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    Humans tend to become infatuated with one person at a time, regardless of age. You can probably name a few people you've had a crush on, even though they were not really anything special. The crush will last much longer if you never even dated that person, because there's no chance of destroying what you've already built up in your mind.

    You asked why.
    Infatuation is caused by relating what's familiar to someone who is not so familiar, and having sexual attraction throw in. This would be something like the cute girl who also likes star trek (you love star trek), that boy who also enjoys cooking (you love cooking), or that girl who is part of your circle of male friends (you love those friends). In each of these scenarios, infatuation is aimed at somebody who is attractive and enjoys doing something that is a major part of your life.
    Age plays no part in any of these feelings; they will always exist. What makes early teen infatuation different is the inability to pick apart and judge people. Young people know that they have a good feeling when somebody is around, so they should be with that somebody. When you start to grow up and get older, you gain experience with what works and what doesn't. A young girl might not have a problem dating a man who claims he's an "artist" and the establishment just doesn't understand him; this guy is mysterious. A woman in her 20s or 30s will immediately know this guy is a loser, and it's not a mystery that he'll be the same loser in another 10 years.

    As for the attraction itself, I have no idea. We'll know what causes attraction when scientists conclusively figure out why people are gay or straight.
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2007
  9. Apr 7, 2007 #8
    i've been infatuated with maybe 5 girls starting in kindergarten most of the time i fall out of touch because the connection isn't there, later on i see them and they usually change for the worse. what originally attracted me to them was replaced with something ugly. (funny thing is later they see me in a different light, something she should of taken a chance on :blushing: ) i think it's a mix of the mindset at the time while your biological clock is ticking.
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2007
  10. Apr 7, 2007 #9


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    I wouldn't say so everytime.

    Also, love is a really, undefinable thing. I almost prefer to just call all the types of feeling love. You can make distinctions between romantic, infatuations, silly things, and true love, but the feelings are not described by other words very well at all.
  11. Apr 7, 2007 #10
    You speak as if you know a lot about the subject. Do you? If so how? I can see some validity to your claims.
  12. Apr 7, 2007 #11


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    I just read too much :smile:
  13. Apr 8, 2007 #12
    You read nonfiction books on this subject or fiction?
  14. Apr 8, 2007 #13


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    Real articles, often thing that end up in newspapers and internet news links. Not as credible as something like a peer reviewed journal but it's a good start.
  15. Apr 8, 2007 #14


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    Love is certainly defineable. The problem is that too many definitions are applied or the term is euphemistically used to refer to feelings that are not really love. As others have said, infatuation or desire or attraction for another is not love.

    As for feelings of 'love' in pre-teens, Evo, ShawnD and Turbo-1 have accurately describe it as infatuation. Children as still self-centered and undeveloped as persons, and they lack the experience to establish a mature relationship.

    Attraction is certainly a neurochemical response, which involves the hypothalamus and parts of the cerebellum.
  16. Apr 8, 2007 #15
    But the thing is if you have two 10 year olds both 'naturally' infutating each other without any prearrangements or anything, isn't that something special? Or could be something special? And will have a higher probability of success being together and loving each other when they become adults?

    Most of the case, the traffic is oneway only? So it will most likely not mean much.
  17. Apr 14, 2007 #16
    Does infatuation still occur to young, middle age or old adults?
  18. Apr 14, 2007 #17
    Love is always true if it is love.
  19. Apr 14, 2007 #18
    Frankly,I'm not completely sure what I want from life,and I'm nearly 30.Hmm...:uhh:
  20. Apr 14, 2007 #19
    :!!) something like that :tongue2:
  21. Apr 14, 2007 #20


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    No. Mostly, it's just practice for later. I think they only pair off because that's what they see the grown-ups doing and they mimic that. They know they're supposed to have A girlfriend or boyfriend, and they know that by watching the adults around them. Mostly, it's just a friendship, but because their brains are going through puberty, even if the rest of their body hasn't caught up yet (the neural changes start well before the physical changes do), they make more of it than what it is. And, some of it is also probably play-acting. Young, non-human animals also exhibit sexual behaviors in their play, well before they are mature enough to be fertile. The prevailing interpretation is that it helps them develop the skills they will need as adults so that when they are fertile, they will successfully reproduce.

    Also, because kids don't know yet what deep love between adults is really about or feels like, they call any feeling of friendship or infatuation "love." They "love" their best friends (who may or may not be even a best friend by the next year), and they "love" their stuffed animals, and their pets, and their family. At that age, the term "love" is used very generally for all sorts of affiliations. There's no harm in that, but it has nothing to do with having the sort of compatibility that one must have to develop a mature, adult relationship. There are plenty of adults who don't know what that is either.
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