Your comment, "I have to be in a relationship until I can be happy". This is something that I used to relate to very strongly. As did my sisters. My parents divorced when I was very young and I grew up with just my mom for most of my life. Watching her go straight from one relationship to the next with very little downtime taught me early on that a person needs to be in a relationship to be happy. This is not true! Before I met my boyfriend I spent about three years single, with minimal dating. I learned to truly value my own time and it gave me the time to figure out what I really wanted in a relationship and in a man. I learned that I can be happy without having someone to share my life with. Also, I was really able to take some time to work on boosting my self image and self esteem. It's not perfect, and this is still something that I struggle with, especially with the anxiety, but it's so much better than it used to be. I think that really helped me to find the relationship that I'm in now.
Sorry I've kept on reading your thread since it appears in my new replies section. But This. This exact experience is what I have been through, except the mum bit, but I had a best friend who was adopted and had attachment issues because of it and she took to going from one break up into a loved up new relationship almost straight away with no more than say a month or two between and she maintained this for several years and of course everytime she entered a new relationship she inevitably brought all her baggage from the previous one with her plus her baggage from her childhood and every relationship ended up going seriously wrong with trust issues, a lot of crying and often game playing which ended up bordering on violence (on her part - plate throwing, strangling, laying in the road trying to get run over etc) plus a lot of drugs and alcohol. I'm not saying everyone would be like this but it taught me a very valuable lesson about being strong to stand alone since most of her emotional problems were based on feeling threatened that she would eventually loose her boyfriend to someone prettier or better than her and feelings of not being good enough and that she would be alone.
I myself had a pretty bad relationship when I was 16 and I started dating a 22 year old - now I am sure this works out for some people but in my experience he was totally different to my 16 year old self, being with him forced me to jump to 22 years old in a way and we started playing house, this meant that I became trapped into a relationship which was too serious, and to be honest I wasnt emotionally mature enough for most of the things which were thrown my way. He was rebounding when I met him, so he was actually loveless in a way, and it was only when we broke up after two years of dating that he told me he loved me. I was obsessed with the fact he hadnt said it despite us living together so started to act out and flirt with other boys for self validation and this obviously led to trouble. To add to this, at 16, and many other 16 year olds I talk to I recognise this is, I was pretty entranced by 'movie love'. I had in my head that everything would be just perfect if the guy loved me, we wouldnt argue, we would kiss in the rain, he would be able to always tell what I wanted and needed and he would go to the end of the earth to protect me from harm, he would be my rescuer, he would tell me im gorgeous everyday, we would be married and live happily ever after.
I didn't obviously get any of these in my first relationship and it wasnt until the end of my second serious relationship which started when I was 19 and ended when I was 23 that I finally let go of this notion, although I did kiss in the rain, and he did tell me I was gorgeous everyday and we did have a lot of 'movie love' moments - you just cant live in a rosy world like that all the time, my expectations of relationships put a lot of pressure on both of us and ultimately we argued a lot - ok he was also horrible as a person 90 percent of the time - but if you expect your boyfriend to be besotted with you, you are kind of inviting jealousy into the relationship bothways, and if you think your boyfriend should be so entranced with you they should only have eyes for you then you kinda get weird about things which are totally unreasonable like - the guy looking at porn and stuff.
After my last relationship ended - I was so sure when we fell madly in love that it would be real movie love - I was so burnt out by how horrible we had been to each other and about how my expectations were so badly off that I simply couldn't have gotten involved with anyone if I had tried, I've been single for 3 years now and although I have anxiety, I have loved it, because I have had the time to grow, to realise that I dont need anyone telling me I am beautiful to be strong and confident, to truly learn from my mistakes and learn that 'movie love' belongs on movies, and I now yearn for stability over passion and fire with someone who I can call my best friend and someone who truly cares about me and I them, I figured out what I want and how to get it. I also developed my self esteem and most importantly I have learned how to spend time by myself just doing things that make me happy.
My long and drawn out point is, if you get involved with a 16 year old, I would worry that she would still have this massive journey of finding herself to go along and oftentimes that journey can be bumpy and ugly to be involved in especially if you are on one too. Of course some people to me seem to skip it all, god knows how, but either way I reckon a good rule of thumb is to consider whether you are ready to be their first serious relationship and go along with all the 'learning curves' but also to try to date someone who is in a similar place to you both maturity level wise and life situation wise - ie not dating someone in college when you are a middle aged divorcee unless you particularly enjoy attending college parties.
I also completely agree with this
'Still, (and this is a lot harder said than done) regardless I would strongly recommend that you not let relationships become all-consuming. As a person who suffers from anxiety, I can tell you that I have done this more than once. If there is a break-up, it is much worse because you have let your mind wrap around this one person... they become your main priority and everything else becomes unimportant. This is bad news bears! When you break up, suddenly it feels like there is nothing worth living for. And because you have let your school and work slide, you may feel hopeless and like you should just give up.
One thing, after college, you will have to work. And you will work to support yourself for the majority of your life. Better to take the time now while you're young to go to school, get a degree or a certificate, something that will help get you in the door for better employment. No matter what you decide, I really recommend that you make school your first priority for the time being (besides your health). Otherwise you may find that, years from now, you are looking back with regret.'
I have first hand experience of my previous relationship that ended three years ago that we were both completely revolving around each other, I would definitely call it a codependent relationship, and this is one of the reason I could not do anything except spend the following three years finding myself, when it ended it broke me, completely, he was my world and my world was then shattered, I had no friends, no work no nothing and it forced me into starting from nothing. It was hard but an experience I am glad I got to do because it provoked me to be introspective and learn about myself but I cant help but think there must be a less ugly and painful way of doing it all. It was not a pleasant experience and I spent the best part of a year not eating and crying all the time, utterly horrible.
I also have experience with the studies aspect of it, I was a grade A student in high school, and when I left I was all set to go to college and this is when I got involved with the 22 year old, at that point after spending my whole life being obsessed with grades, I decided I preferred having sex with a 22 year old and working and earning money and drinking and doing other 'adult' things. This means I gave less attention to my studies got middle road grades, then dropped out after only achieving half a qualification. I worked for a bit but hated it and could only get low wage soul sucking jobs. I then got into pot - went to college to do something that wasnt going to lead anywhere because of low pay brackets at the end - smoked pot throughout college, did the bare minimum work to stay afloat, got the lowest pass grade possible and didnt follow it into a career. Its taken me 5 years to get back to college which i start in september to ironically become a counsellor - I am obviously expecting to do ALOT of work on myself during and for the rest of my life so my own issues dont get in the way - and I am currently A CLEANER. So I havent done well for myself. All because I didnt stay true to myself and my love of learning when I was 16 and dating an older guy. I think if i hadnt had met him, i would have done well in college early on, and would probably be a post grad now.