High School Sweethearts on How They Made Their Relationship Last
High school relationships rarely survive graduation, but it's absolutely not unheard of. Here's the story of two high school sweethearts who somehow made it work.
Romance is hard no matter how old you are, but high schoolers might just have the most difficult time with it of all. After all, the whole point of high school (besides, I guess, academics) is for adolescents to learn how to participate in the social world. At my high school, however, there was no class on how to date and make friends with other people. Instead, I had to learn everything through trial and error.
With the exception of maybe a few kids who go to super new-agey high schools, I think most folks have a high school experience similar to mine: falling in love too easily, trying miserably to build perfect relationships and feeling heartbroken more often than not. Most high schoolers use these experiences to guide them as they form more permanent relationships in college and beyond.
But what about the small minority of those who find their “person” before high school graduation? Despite the stereotypes of the fleeting nature of young relationships, it is absolutely possible for high school sweethearts to live happily ever after.
Don't believe me? Just ask someone who went on to be happily married to their high school sweetheart.... Me.
Whether you're years into a committed relationship, or you just went on a first date with your own high school sweetheart, I hope you can learn something from the experiences I've had with the high school girlfriend who became my wife.
Spoiler alert: this story has a happy ending, but there are more than a few bumps along the way.
Before I get into all the difficulties of staying in a relationship with your high school sweetheart, there are so many reasons why these relationships can be worth fighting for.
When you stay in a relationship with your high school sweetheart, you'll share a number of experiences in a very unique way. How many couples can say they transformed from children to adults together? Your experiences as a high school couple can have a profoundly positive impact on the rest of your lives together.
Growing up together means you probably know each other's families very well. Couples that meet in their twenties have to put deliberate effort into getting to know their potential in-laws, but this step comes naturally for high school couples.
Plus, sharing a hometown means you probably have a ton of the same friends, which I've got to say is just so much easier, logistically, than trying to somehow combine two separate friend groups into one.
These are just a few of the many benefits for high school sweethearts who manage to stay together after graduation. So, it can definitely be worth it for couples who belong together.
Relationships that start so early, though, also have a number of unique pitfalls and roadblocks to deal with. And I can confirm all this because I have firsthand experience with the good, as well as the bad.
The V Card
Many high school relationships, especially those that continue into college years, are well-known (perhaps infamous) for providing one of the most storied experiences of young adulthood.
I'm talking about losing your virginity.
Everyone's mileage is different of course, including for the two of us. My sweetheart lost hers to a previous boyfriend. In my case, I was actually still a virgin when we started dating.
I had no qualms about being a virgin dating a non-virgin, but when you're in that situation, it can lead to some negative internal feelings. It's not that I felt resentment or anything like that, but I couldn't help but wonder how I would stack up.
With the benefit of hindsight, I now know that my sweetheart's two mediocre sexual experiences didn't actually make her an expert on sex. But to a nervous high school virgin like me, it felt like she was worlds away in terms of knowledge.
We had talked about sex a few times, so we both knew the score. My girlfriend was very understanding and sensitive to my being a virgin, and basically said to let her know when I was ready.
A few months into the relationship, we were making out at the park when, suddenly, the moment just felt right. It was dark outside, and we were alone in the back of my car like we were in some coming-of-age movie. We put on a condom, and 60 seconds later, I wasn't a virgin anymore.
That was fast.
Once our sexual relationship began, it quickly became apparent to me that I did not last as long as I thought men were supposed to last. After all, most of the videos I watched were in the 20-30 minute range, so was I even in the same ballpark?
Don't get me wrong, I vaguely knew that porn shouldn't be compared to real-life sex, but I also felt like my staying power still wasn't cutting it. And, no matter how often or how many times we had sex, my endurance wasn't improving.
To my sweetheart's credit, she never once made me feel inadequate. Whenever I brought up my premature ejaculation, she would assure me that she was always satisfied, and never felt disappointed in me. She's a star, but I was unfortunately stuck too far inside my own head to believe her.
My self-perceived insufficiencies really started to wear down on my self-esteem, and I became obsessed with any solution that might help with what I saw as a personal failure. And, it turns out there are a lot of solutions for PE: There are "desensitizing" condoms, and of course countless exercises from armchair sex therapists on the internet who claim to know the secrets to controlling your body.
So, naturally I tried all these things and, I guess unsurprisingly, none of them helped. At all.
After a while, I put the issue on the back burner and resigned myself to a life of being, in my mind, terrible in bed. But don't worry: This issue, like all insecurities, comes back with a vengeance.
Going the distance
In an era when nearly 70 percent of high school students end up going to college, it's often an inevitability that one or both parties in a high school couple will end up moving away after graduation. Sometimes, this isn't an issue. After all, maybe they will both end up at the same university, or maybe one attends a college in their hometown.
Many couples — us included — are not so lucky. In fact, in our case, we attended colleges several states apart.
I'm not sure if there is any hard data on how many high school couples break up because of college, but surely it must be a much higher number than the couples that stay together. Even if both sweethearts are willing to attempt a long-distance relationship, it is just such a difficult endeavor. With college being such a transformative time in our lives, it makes it that much harder to try and grapple with a complex relationship in addition to it all.
Nobody wants to break up with their high school sweetheart just because they're heading off to college, which is probably why so many college-aged couples find themselves giving long distance a shot. But, the inevitability is that dating long-distance puts an often-insurmountable strain on even the strongest of relationships.
You can make vows to your loved one all throughout that last summer before you head off to school, but you never know just how hard it's going to be until you're actually in the midst of it.
Stuck to our phones
The advent of video call technologies like Skype and FaceTime have allowed for modern long-distance relationships to feel closer than ever before.
But video calls can only do so much, and the fact of the matter is that most of your relationship isn't through video calls at all. In our case, at least, much of our relationship was conducted via text.
The first realization you'll make when you embark on a long-distance relationship is the paradox that, despite being alone, you're never really alone anymore. When your boyfriend or girlfriend can't be with you in person, you realize you aren't really dating them anymore; you're dating your phone. Since your phone is always on you, it becomes a 24/7 link to your long-distance sweetheart... for better or worse.
When you live in different towns, different states or maybe even different time zones, you'll quickly see your schedules drift apart.
They're just waking up and wanting to say good morning while you're trying to pay attention in your Calculus class. Or, you want to call them on Skype before bed while they're with friends at a football game.
This disconnect becomes a tiresome strain on your relationship, and, through no fault of your own, your feelings toward your sweetheart turn sour.
A quick Google search reveals countless guides about how to survive a long-distance relationship. Unfortunately, the sad reality is that even the strongest couples aren't immune to the wear that distance can place on romance.
My high school sweetheart and I, like countless others in our situation, broke up during our second year of college.
The thing about people you really love is that you simply cannot keep them out of your mind. My sweetheart and I didn't break up because we didn't love each other. We broke up because the distance between us seemed insurmountable — because, well, it was. It was the worst kind of breakup, when we both knew we didn't want it, but we knew we needed it.
We remained sort of friends for the rest of our college years. We chatted semi-regularly because, as I said, we couldn't keep each other out of our heads. We both had a few short-term relationships during this time, but nothing stuck, probably because we were only ever thinking of each other (at least, I know I was only ever thinking of her).
Ultimately, the next two years I spent in college were romantically kind of dull. On the plus side, it did wonders for my academic performance; I could finally pay attention in that Calculus class (rocking a solid B minus). As far as my old high school sweetheart, I'd be lying if I said she wasn't on my mind every day. So, after we graduated from our respective universities, I was more than a little anxious to return back home.
By the time my old sweetheart and I moved back to our hometown, it had been over two years since we had broken up. Up until this point, we had only seen each other a handful of times, but we talked (well, texted) almost every day. If you would have asked us about our relationship, we would have readily said we were friends, and nothing more. We were just two single people who began hanging out almost every single day. Nothing romantic here...
There's no need to beat around the bush here when you already know what's coming. Once we were together in person, it was only a matter of time before we picked up right where we left off. I asked her if she wanted to go on a date with me, and she readily agreed.
I remember our first "real" date after the hiatus pretty well. I was living in my own apartment by this point, and I made some sort of mediocre pasta dish, and bought some wine that we both hated. It was perfect.
We ate dinner and watched a movie (Raiders of the Lost Ark) before heading back to my bedroom.
We had sex that night for the first time in two years, and it was perhaps the most emotional ninety seconds of my life. From that moment on, the relationship was smooth-sailing all the way to my proposal and through our wedding.
Sorry to skip ahead through a couple years of our dating, but the truth is that there was really not much conflict at all during that time. It would be positively boring to read. If this were a movie, this two-year period would be portrayed by a 30-second montage of us being happy together with ELO's "Mr. Blue Sky" in the background.
So, picture a montage of scenes like that: the two of us playing on a beach in South Carolina, going to an Alt-J concert together, dancing together at someone else's wedding, me deciding to propose, me picking out a ring, me getting down on one knee, she being crazy surprised, us getting married and ending with us pulling up to the cabin where we spent our honeymoon.
Life was honestly so good, but there was a really rough thought that I couldn't get out of my head, because there is one stereotypical thing that you're expected to do on your wedding night, and then several more times throughout your honeymoon.
And it's something that I was really bad at. In spite of my insecurities, our wedding day was lovely, and our honeymoon was awesome because my wife is awesome and I love her. But that one thing has always been in the back of my mind.
Hey, Fix My Penis
Now that I was married, I once again set out on a mission to try and cure my premature ejaculation. All the over-the-counter remedies never really worked for me, and the online DIY guides were definitely just baloney. So, I started researching more legitimate solutions.
I had been vaguely aware that it was possible to treat PE with prescription medication, but how was I going to walk into a doctor's office and tell some stranger about my deepest sexual insecurities? Plus, you know, wouldn't they tell my mom or something? (High-school-me still appears in my thoughts from time to time.)
That's why I was cautiously optimistic when I learned about hims, which claimed to be able to get me a consultation with a licensed physician and, if deemed necessary, a prescription for medication that can help treat PE. The thing that caught my eye was that I could do it from home without having to go to a doctor's office. So I decided to try it.
It turns out that an active ingredient in the antidepressant Zoloft® has the noted side effect of prolonging the time to ejaculate. The hims brand offers the medication sertraline (active ingredient in Zoloft®) in a low dosage for the off-label purpose of treating premature ejaculation. But, I didn't really care about the medical details. I just wanted to be able to have sex the way I thought I should.
Results and Revelations
Look, I know that after a certain point, my obsession with my own sexual insufficiencies could become selfish. My wife, after all, says she doesn't feel slighted by my short fuse in bed. And I trust her 100 percent, so I have no reason to doubt she's telling the truth.
On the plus side, I'd like to believe the positive habits I've picked up from years of living with PE have made me a better partner, both in and out of the bedroom.
When you only last a maximum of a couple of minutes, you learn other ways to prolong physical intimacy. Whether it's a sensual massage or something oral or just cuddling, you realize that there is so much more than just putting your thing in her thing. In my case, the sertraline, along with their PE lidocaine spray, worked as advertised.
But, no matter how long I last, how much energy I have or anything like that, it's not going to change the fact my partner loves getting massages, and I've learned to love giving them and sometimes that's enough intimacy for us.
I guess the takeaway I want you to have here is that you can absolutely find real solutions to problems like PE, and there's no shame in addressing issues that affect your self-esteem and confidence in the bedroom.
With that being said, sexual enlightenment doesn't come from lasting long in bed. It comes from learning to put your partner's wants and needs ahead of your own. And that's a lesson that absolutely holds true outside of the bedroom as well.
What It Takes
My high school sweetheart and I are still happily married. As you now know, we've definitely been through our share of difficult times, but they've ultimately brought us closer together. We're lucky to have figured out the secrets of building a strong partnership together, but most young couples don't get it right away.
The reason why so many high school relationships fail is because people at that age are still thinking mostly of themselves — and that’s not a bad thing. High school is one of the most important formative times in a person's life, and kids need to focus on themselves in order to prepare for adulthood. Contrary to this, building a lasting romantic partnership requires you to put the thoughts and feelings of your partner ahead of your own.
Once we learned that openness and honesty were the key, we were able to rebuild our relationship with a solid foundation, and years later, we're still going strong. This isn't the case for every high school relationship, so don't be discouraged if it doesn't work out for you! Take the lessons you've learned and use them to make your next relationship that much better. If you're able to find this balance with your high school sweetheart, however, then you have all the ingredients for a happily ever after.