Is there a type of relationship out there more wholesome and corny than that of the high school sweetheart? There is something so inherently sweet about making it work with your romantic partner from your formative years. If an athlete or musician marries their high school sweetheart, the public hive-mind almost always lets out a collective “Awwww.”
However, adorableness is not a reliable predicter of compatibility. The question remains; is it a good idea to stay with your high school sweetheart? While no universal truth can be applied to every single relationship, it’s a question worth exploring.
Let’s Look At The Numbers
Whether we’d like to admit it or not, marriage is a gamble. The reality is, no matter how much you know your perspective partner is the one, you don’t actually know. There’s always risk, and there’s bad news for all the high school couples out there; the numbers indicate that high school sweethearts are more likely to get divorced.
First, getting married at a younger age in general is more risky, whether the couple met in high school or not. Someone who gets married at age 20 is approximately %50 more likely to get divorced than someone who ties the knot at age 25. Additionally, %54 of high school sweethearts will divorce within the first 10 years of marriage, compared to just %32 for other couples.
Simply put, while marriage is always an uncertain proposition, wedding your partner from those formative years is even less certain. Marriage is not necessarily the end goal for every relationship, but it certainly is a good indicator of success rate.
How Do You Know?
Let’s get to the bottom of these numbers. Life is full of mystery, but the one thing you’d want demystified the most is your relationship. You don’t want to go through life constantly thinking about what could have been. If you stay with your high school sweetheart, this will be your reality, even for the most secure couples.
Dating in high school isn’t real. People aren’t nearly emotionally mature enough to understand what they need for a truly healthy, fulfilling and long-lasting relationship. So whether the person you’ve wound up with is your first partner or you’ve “dated” others in high school previously, it doesn’t really count.
The question will always linger in the back of your mind. How do you know if they’re the one, and not just the first one? How do you know a relationship is truly great and worthwhile if you have no real basis for comparison? If you stay with your high school sweetheart, this question will haunt you ’til death do you part. You have to decide for yourself if you can live with this shadow.
People are codependent in varying degrees, but chances are that if you’re still with your high school sweetheart, you’re clingy as Hell. The cross-pollination of personalities is inevitable. You’ll find yourself becoming more and more similar to your partner, and vise versa. They say you can’t love others until you learn to love yourself, but how do you love yourself if you don’t even know yourself?
Imbedding everything about yourself – your hopes, your dreams, your hobbies, your fears – is dangerous. Your very being can become an unrecognizable mass of co-thoughts and relative truths that only exist for the two of you, and not for yourself.
This is not to say that it is impossible to figure out who you are outside of the context of your relationship while you’re still in it, but it’s difficult. An amount of freedom and separation is vital to any relationship, but it’s even more important in this case.
The Comfort Of Monogamy
To those people out there who are genuinely unafraid of being alone, you deserve tremendous amounts of praise for your autonomy, but an equal amount of skepticism because you might be lying to yourself. Being in a warm, stable, monogamous relationship is one of the great comforts of human life. To know that one single person is there for you at all times is such incredible relief. It’s no wonder that society has based itself largely around that construct for centuries.
Doing what’s easy is often not what’s right. How many couples out there settled for each other just because it was less complicated than the alternative? It’s so elementary to simply remain in your current situation, even if it’s not what’s best for you long-term. The allure of the uncomplicated is what makes high school sweethearts work, but it’s also what makes them unsafe.
It’s time to get personal. In a twist that you definitely didn’t see coming that would make M. Night Shyamalan blush, I’ve been with my high school sweetheart for 11 years now. She still makes me feel things that no one else ever has, and I doubt ever could. I feel so comfortable with her that I am free to be my truest self. However, is that really my truest self, or a version of me that only exists because of her? I’ll never know unless we break up.
I don’t even know what it’s like to kiss anyone else but her. She was my first and I’m not a cheating bastard. What if my technique is all wrong, and I’ve just been embedding improper practices all along?
I don’t plan on learning any of the answers to the questions I’ve raised because I don’t plan on ever leaving her side. I guess that would be the one silver-lining to an untimely death for one of us; the other could finally begin to explain these inquiries to themselves in a real way.
The only thing I know to be true is that my feelings for her supersede the quest for self-actualization. I don’t want to know the answers. I want to be with her.
Back To The Question At Hand
The title of this article is “Should You Stay With Your High School Sweetheart?” The answer is: probably not, but also absolutely yes.
If you’re in one of these relationships and the questions posed herein scare you, then you should probably break up. The reality is that stagnating in a partnership that formed before your adult personality did is a bad idea that is statistically more likely to end in failure.
Yet sometimes it’s a good idea, and when you know, you know.