High School Sweethearts

My oldest sister is dating her high school boyfriend again, after being broken up for almost five years. My middle sister is married to her first and only boyfriend from high school, who she’s been with for nearly 10 years. My parents also went to school together, and are still together almost 30 years later.

If there was quota on how many high school relationships could survive within a 20 mile radius, my family has surely maxed it out.

Whenever people ask about how each of them met their significant others, there’s always a chorus of “awwww’s” that follow, along with poorly disguised envy. How lucky for them to have discovered the people they want to spend the rest of their lives with so soon! The rest of us will surely die alone.

Perhaps it’s my natural cynical attitude, or my overexposure to long-term monogamous relationships, but I feel as though being with your high school sweetheart isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. You’d spend the greater part of your formative years latched onto one person, without having the chance to explore the fun of dating. You don’t even get to discover yourself as an independent person because the definition of “you” comes from being with your significant other. One could argue that high school sweethearts are actually developmentally stunted.

The counterargument is of course that once they found each other, they just knew. They knew that they didn’t want to waste their time with other people and they knew that this is what they wanted for the rest of their lives.

That’s just ridiculous. At 15, I could hardly decide what flavour of ice cream was my favourite let alone who my “soulmate” was.

My married sister wholeheartedly agrees with me. She wishes that she had spent more time forming friendships in high school, rather than spending all of her time with her boyfriend, now husband. She regrets not taking a chance to date more guys to figure out what exactly she wanted in a future spouse. If given the chance, she admits she would have gone back in time and done things differently.

That regret is what I’m afraid of, and still fear when considering relationships to this day. How could I possibly know that this person is “the one”? What if I get in too deep, and find myself stuck in a life that I really don’t want?

Following what I’ve been told from parents, siblings, and family friends, I guess I’ll just know. Which is horribly vague for someone who has a dangerously dependent relationship with control, such as myself.

If you’re still single and well past your high school years, I think you should consider yourself lucky. While you may not know what you want at this point, at least you do know what you don’t want. You’ve got the opportunity for self-growth and colourful experiences you can share with the kids you’ll have once you’ve found that right person.

And those stories of blind dates, Tinder meet ups, and coffee shop run-ins are way more fun to tell than marrying the boy (or girl) you sat beside in English class.

– S.

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