This essay was written as part of a class assignment in Mr. Heck's 8th grade ELA classes. The author edited the essay especially for the MVM blog.
Pros, Cons, and Opinions of 8th Grade Dating by Phaedra
The dictionary definition of dating is, ‘ going out with (someone in whom one is
romantically or sexually interested).’ But MVM students’ opinions on what dating is defined as in middle school agree and disagree with the dictionary definition of dating.
Opinions for when one should start to date differ for what 8th graders think is an appropriate age. The majority of students interviewed believe students should start to date, if they’re going to date, between 12 and 13. A student in MVM, said “12 or above is a good age because at that age your parents will let you go to the movies or something, so you can actually spend time with the person you’re dating instead of just seeing each other at school, which I wouldn’t really consider dating even though people say it is.”
Some students believe people should start dating later than 12 or 13. Another student in 8th grade, has said “I’d say really after you get your driver’s license because it’s not actually dating if you can’t go on a date.”
Not all students think that one should date later than 12, such as a male student, who claims “Whenever the kid feels right and whenever they want to because you can’t put a clock on love.”
8th graders have varied thoughts on dating in middle school and earlier. A male student in 8th grade, said that in middle school you start to know yourself, can start to understand your feelings so you can date then, but it can also be confusing to date.
But opinions differ. A female at MVM, said you date when you’re with “Someone that you would say you’re in a relationship with, and you would spend time with them”.
Breakups come in different forms in middle school. A few teenage daters interviewed have broken up via text, such as an 8th grader in MVM, who said “She texted me at the end of the weekend that she wanted to break up with me,” when asked about one of his former girlfriends.
But some broke up in person. A male at MVM, claimed his former girlfriend broke up with him right after he asked her to the dance, face to face.
How some people start dating isn’t well known at Monument Valley. Lots of couples got together in a series of different events such as a couple “So they came out to me as gay, I didn’t even know my sexuality, and I was like ’Cool, whatever’, and I had been saying ‘I love you’ a lot to them because they had been going through a lot of struggles, you know, like a friend ‘I love you, stay strong’, and so one time, I was texting them at night and I said ‘I love you’, and I was like ‘Hold up, hold up, hold up! This love isn’t a friend love!’. So then I texted another friend and said ‘I want to ask (*) out’, I didn’t even know my sexuality at this point, and so my other friend said ‘do it!’. So we ended up face-timing, and I said that I liked them, and they said that they liked me,” as claimed by one of the people in that relationship.
Certain couples just got together because they wanted to. “I talked to her at the 8th grade play, went home and thought damn I like her, and I asked her out eventually, as claimed by an 8th grade student, when asked about how he got together with his current girlfriend.
Students in MVM date for months, years, days and sometimes even hours. A student who is currently dating another student, says she’s been dating her partner for “Ten and half months, a year on April 2nd”.
Several students have dated for a few weeks. “I dated her for a week and then she broke up with me” as told by an 8th grade student.
‘What do you do on dates when you ‘date’?’ was one of the questions asked to 8th grade
students at Monument Valley Middle School. The majority of students asked this question say they have gone to movies with people they dated. A person, remaining anonymous, said when they dated it “was nothing new, really, besides being friends, but we danced together, and went to movies.”
Others vary their dates. “Typically we’d go over to each other’s houses sometimes, we’d go on walks… we went on dates to pizza and other places like that usually,” was claimed by an 8th grader in MVM, when asked about his dates with one of his former girlfriends.
Another young person said “I didn’t really hang out with him that much, we went to movies a few times, we didn’t really do much, we talked and texted and facetimed.” when she was asked about one of the people she previously dated.
What people feel about each other changes to the person. Various students who believe
that they’re capable of love claim to love their partner such as a certain male in a relationship, who stated “I’d say I love her, I’m not saying it generally as something stupid, I actually really care about her and what she does,” about how he feels about his girlfriend.
A few students who believe that they’re not in such emotion as love, like a different student, who claimed “It’s hard to say that you love someone, because we’re still so young and I just believe that I don’t know what love is, but I consider him my best friend,” when she was asked to describe her feelings for her current boyfriend.
A small amount of students don’t even think a few of the ‘relationships’ they’ve had were actually considered dating such as a handful of students interviewed. “I sort of went out with a girl at the time of Semi last year, but I kind of didn’t, and kind of did, it was confusing.” was stated by one of those people.