I met my current boyfriend when I was 14 years old on the first day of high school.
I had just transferred from my relatively big public school to this super tiny private school and I quickly became the awkward new girl with no friends.
That was until this one guy in my history class showed a little bit of interest in me in the only way a 15 year old boy knows how; calling me names and throwing paper balls at me. Little did I know that the annoying boy sitting next to me would turn out to be the love of my life. We officially started dating in the beginning of our sophomore year of high school and we will be celebrating our five year anniversary at the end of this month.
There are a few things I’ve learned not only being in a long-term relationship, but being in a long-term relationship through high school and college.
1. You will always have a best friend
Friendships can be equally as difficult as relationships in high school and college. You lose friends and gain friends on an almost bi-annual basis. Personally, the loneliest time for me was my freshman year of college because I went to a local college while everyone else went away. But, even at my loneliest time, I knew I always had him to get a drink with and complain to. Oh, and speaking of friends...
2. You will constantly be trying to find new couple friends
It’s true that statistically speaking, not many high school couples will even make it to graduation. For that reason, you will CONSTANTLY be finding new couples to hang with. In high school, I managed to convince at least three of my friends to date my boyfriend’s friends so we could take cute Instagram pics at dances and proms. By college, everyone is just “hooking up,” so I found myself going on a lot of double dates with my boyfriend's BFF and the girl he met on tinder last Wednesday.
3. Your “first date story” will always be juvenile
As you get older and start hanging out with more “adults,” you’ll start to realize that your first date story is not as cute as you remember. Your friends will be telling stories about romantic dinners, cuddles in the movie theater as the movie started getting scarier, and shy and tender first kisses as they bring them home. Meanwhile, you went to the bowling alley with five other people, your parents picked you up at 9 PM, and he texted you after and said, “Hey, I think I like you.”
4. No one will take your relationship seriously
I mean I get it. High School and College is a very rocky road for couples and the rest of the world feels like they have to remind you of that. When we first started dating it was “aw, they won’t make it to summer” then “they won’t make it to the next school year”, “they won’t make it to graduation”, “they won’t make it through college”, so on and so forth. Only recently, after 5 years, have our friends and family decided that we may actually be serious.
5. They will become a part of your family
If you go to any family party by yourself you will quickly get the question, “Hey, where is your boyfriend?” They will quickly get added to any wedding lists and various cousin's bachelor parties and it’s amazing.
6. You have someone to be comfy with
At first, going to a nice restaurant and movie is a lot of fun. But once senior year and college hit, our idea of the perfect date was ordering pizza, sweatpants, and Disney movies. Going out in public and putting on actual clothes is now reserved for birthdays, Valentine’s Day, and our anniversary.
7. You become experts at fighting and confrontation
To be clear, it’s not because you’ll be fighting all the time, but you will fight more efficiently. The first two years, if I was mad at him, I’d give him the silent treatment and wouldn’t talk to him for a day. Now when I’m mad at him he says “Hey, what’s wrong with you lady?” and I tell him what’s wrong and we move on.
8. You will have doubts about your relationship and that’s ok
You go through a lot of growth between teenager and young adult years and there may come a time where you ask yourself if you really love this person or if you simply don’t know anything else having been with them for so long. Being in college and seeing how much fun your single friends are having makes you wonder if you are missing out. These thoughts are normal but if you’re with the right person, those thoughts will fade pretty quickly.
9. You have someone to grow up with
The most rewarding thing about dating someone between the ages of 15-21 is watching each other grow. I got to see my boyfriend go from a pimply-faced captain of the soccer team to a mature and loyal fireman for the city. We are not the same people we were when we met, but the good news is I get to fall in love with him over and over again.
The moral of the story is that relationships are tough at any age. Life is not easy, but if you find someone who makes it a little better, hold on to them and never let them go. Let them know you love them every day and never forget why you fell in love with them in the first place. You now have a best friend who will stand by you through thick and thin. You have the best partner in crime another person could ask for.
You have the best thing in the world, somebody to be yourself with.