For many young people, high school love is full of relationship firsts. You can probably think of a few yourself—first relationship, first kiss, first heartbreak or even the first time. However, we're betting you would have never guessed this first would ever be added to the list.
Researchers at the University of Maine performed a psychological study which brought to light a new first for kids in love, and it has nothing to do with magical moments. They found that early relationships can often reveal the first signs of depression. A Child’s First Love
So asking, "Do you really care about me?" is a big red flag of relationships of lesser quality and internalizing problematic issues in the future, especially when it's a female who's looking for that reassurance.
UMaine Doctoral Research Fellow Jessica Fales observed 110 young pairs aged 17-26 who had been in committed relationships, on average, for around 12 months, and got some interesting results. While both men and women seek this sort of approval from their partners about the same amount, women had far greater negative results (i.e. depression).
Also, the study indicates that this phenomenon—constantly wanting partners to show how much they really care—will directly impact these symptoms of depression. It's more than just a contributing factor of an unhealthy or dysfunctional relationship, the correlation is pretty exact.
"Greater excessive reassurance seeking, co-rumination, and poor romantic relationship quality each uniquely predicted depressive symptoms for young women," the report stated. Eek. Heartbreak-Related Depression: Does It Exist?
So when does a simple wish for outward affection turn into an overzealous need for comfort? Fales is looking to make those blurred boundaries clearer.
"In younger children, it's normal for them to seek reassurance," she said. "We don’t know where the unhealthy line is, but a starting point is when excessive reassurance seeking starts to annoy other people, to the point that they begin to withdraw from the relationship." 7 Ways To Show Love Without Words
It's a tough set of facts to swallow, since it's highly doubtful such youthful couples will be equipped to alter their ways without some help, but Fales thinks young women could change the course of their future if they learn healthier behaviors early on.