Marrying your high school sweetheart sounds like a fairytale. Isn’t it better to find love earlier in life rather than go through multiple heartaches and break ups? In some ways, yes, it’s romantic and amazing but in a lot of ways it’s challenging. Though my husband and I overcame these challenges, there were some tough times. Some challenges we faced were people’s expectations and perceptions about young love. Let me break it down:
And they call it puppy love…
We were often told that it was just “puppy love”. No one took us seriously. I don’t in any way blame our parents for not jumping for joy that we were madly in love at 17. Of course people would warn us to slow down, rightfully so. They’d tell us to live our lives and not be tied down. They worried I would get pregnant or we would hold each other back in school. Some of our friends didn’t respect it either. We had to ignore a lot of that talk. I felt the pressure to prove the validity of our relationship. Especially as a young woman, people assumed I was being taken for a ride, that I was blind in love. We got tons of eye rolls, and people waiting to say “I told you so”. So it caused a lot of tension with friends or family that perhaps had their hearts in the right place but were telling us we were crazy.
We were before our time…
I know I didn’t intend on being in such a committed and serious relationship at 17. I don’t think my husband did either, but it happened. We were friends for so long and suddenly it seemed we were more than that. College was around the corner and life was changing so quickly. My friends were mostly single or in unstable relationships, and they didn’t understand why I wouldn’t engage in certain “single behavior”. I still maintained most of my friendships the best that I could, but I lost friends a long the way for acting like an “old married couple” or because they were jealous of how my boyfriend “spoiled” me. I know my then boyfriend, now husband, faced a lot of resistance too, and probably ridicule, for being faithful and serious. Sometimes I worried, and I’m sure he did too, were we missing out on anything? Should I be dating around? Or not dating at all?
As I mentioned we were teens when we began our relationship. We were still growing up and had a lot of growing to do. I made so many mistakes and handled so many situations in ways I’m not proud of. Being so young, I was vulnerable, insecure, and often times jealous. I was fearful and in new territory. I definitely had some maturing to do and was in need of a lot of advice. But who do you ask? Again, none of my friends were in serious relationships, and my family thought I was crazy for even “settling down”. So a lot of the growing was trial and error and just falling down a bunch of times.
Our time line is…unique
As early as the age of 20, I already knew I wanted to marry my husband. By that time we had been together for 3 years. But I knew we still had a lot of growing to do. But as the years went on, again we were plagued with questions on the validity of our relationship with statements like “Well, what are you waiting for? Get married already”. It was such a turnaround. First we were crazy for being too serious too soon now we were crazy for not being serious enough. Though I felt the need to jump the gun and get married because I so badly wanted to again prove the validity of our “puppy love” I’m so glad we took our time. We eventually got engaged at 23 and married by 26. Still a bit young, but I think it was perfect.
Now, it may seem like our relationship was rocky. And you might be thinking, why stay? My husband became my best friend. We literally kept each other out of trouble. We took life a little more seriously because we took each other seriously. We had a few rough patches in the beginning, sure. But the world thought we were pretty crazy, so we had to rely on each other a lot. We traveled together, studied together, learned and grew together. It sounds super cheesy, I know. But marrying your high school sweet heart isn’t for everyone and not everyone meets their husband/wife so early in life, but I’m glad I did. I sometimes wonder, what if I opted out and gave in to the lure of being single and free. What if I thought I needed to date around? It scares me to think I could’ve given up on an amazing husband (and now father) because of social pressure and expectations. It’s true, for the vast majority, maybe being in a serious relationship at 17 could hold you back or bring you down. But let’s face it, in college getting in some trouble is half the point. Im lucky I got into enough trouble with the right person who was always on my team and in my corner. I’m kind of glad I avoided dating during the “rise of social media”. I feel sorry for some of you who tell me how difficult it is. I’m also happy I finally stopped trying to please everyone and proving myself. People can’t understand what they have yet to experience, and we were just a little early.
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