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I Married My High School Sweetheart, and This is What it’s Really Like

Beautiful wedding photo featuring the groom and bride
Ikonica Images

Do you ever wonder what your prom date is up to these days? You know, that 16-year-old guy who shared a few sips of alcohol with you in the limo on the way there, and then watched you shake it like a Polaroid picture across the dance floor when “Hey Ya!” came on? Perhaps the night ended with you two sharing a hotel room, even though you promised your parents you were absolutely, definitely rooming with friends?

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I went to my high school prom with my first-ever boyfriend. He was thoughtful, smart and romantic. But instead of scrolling through Instagram and Facebook to find out what he’s doing now, I just glance beside me – because spoiler alert: I married that Grade 12 boy on our 12 year dating anniversary.

Throwback photo of teenagers in the back of a limo for prom
Unknown

Rewind to the beginning: This is how we met

I was seated directly behind my future prom date in Grade 9 history class. Our initial meeting turned into an instant friendship. After dozens of study sessions, endless MSN chats and phone calls late into the night, I finally agreed to go on a date with the classmate who had become my best friend over the next two school years.

The plan was dinner and a movie. We were in Grade 11 at this point, and I couldn’t even drive yet, so my mom agreed to drop me off and pick me up at a certain time at the end of the night. I vividly remember our conversation as pickup hour drew near; no topic was off-limits and every secret felt safe with him. I simply wasn’t ready to go home yet. I had to call my mom to beg her for extra time because I didn’t want the evening to end.

We made it official about a month in and were serious from the get-go. I never had to stress about saying “I love you” for the first time, because we were already saying it to each other before we officially coupled up. Somewhere along the line, the meaning behind those words changed for the better, though neither of us can truly pinpoint when.

Over the years, he’s had many titles to me: locker buddy, first boyfriend, favourite travel partner, fiancé, husband and just last year: baby daddy.

Related: The perfect age to get married (and the worst).

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Are high school sweethearts less likely to divorce?

My own parents (who happily celebrated their 37th wedding anniversary this past summer!) met in their high school library, so the idea that adolescence dating could lead to lasting love was always on my radar. Today, less than 2 per cent of all marriages are in fact between high school sweethearts, according to Brandon Gaille Marketing. As for those who end up walking down the aisle as teens, there’s only a 54 per cent chance their union will last 10 years. For those who wait until at least 25 to tie the knot, however, these couples have a 10-year success rate of 78 per cent.

Even when we are apart, I feel our connection running through my veins. Being with him feels like breathing to me.

Related: Top 10 reasons why marriages fail.

If you ask me, there’s nothing quite like your first love. It’s an extraordinary thing to meet your soulmate at such a young age. We were blessed with years of carefree fun, plenty of time to get to know one another and each other’s families, well before the reality of our first office jobs or mortgage payments ever sunk in.

Groom and bride outside on their wedding day
Ikonica Images

We were able to listen to each other’s teenage hopes and dreams, and actually help one another achieve them as adults. We were able to fantasize about seeing different parts of the world, and then explore them for the first time together. We were able to nurture each other’s younger sisters and brothers, once children, and watch them grow up before our eyes.

Here are 7 truths about marrying your high school sweetheart

Being with my husband was seamless from day one. He is everything I’m not, yet need. Even when we are apart, I feel our connection running through my veins. Being with him feels like breathing to me.

You are each other’s first…everything. Good, bad and ugly, they’ve seen it all (literally) and love you unconditionally.

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Your families are like one big family. His mom had my favourite foods ready for me during every after-school study session. As a teenager, she accompanied me to a medical procedure when my own parents were unavailable. Our younger sisters had sleepovers and our families started vacationing together when he and I stopped wanting to split up while travelling.

Newly engaged couple celebrate with champagne flutes and a photo on the beach
Natalie Birk

We got married on our 12 year dating anniversary, which made it all that more special. I told my in-laws in my wedding speech that it would not be accurate to say that I was getting a mother-in-law or a father-in-law that night, because they’d been my second mom and dad for the last decade.

You may wonder what else is out there. Which is totally natural, since you’ve only ever been with each other. This definitely fades as you mature and realize that when something so incredibly perfect is standing right in front of you, it’s almost silly to chase the idea of what else might be.

Patience is key. Just because you started dating so young, doesn’t mean you have to rush to get married. We waited until we had successfully secured multiple degrees and our first condo to tie the knot, despite a few raised eyebrows from relatives. Like any journey in life, only you, not anyone else, will know when the time is right.

Expecting parents holding their baby bump
The Robins Nest

Your phone has never seen a dating app. Lucky for us, these weren’t around when we first got together. We’ve never had to struggle through texting a new love interest, or endure any awkward blind dates.

You both will change. I used to tell my hubby that I didn’t want to get married until I knew every single thing about him. I didn’t want any surprises! Yet every time I learned something new, it only made me love him more. We’ve grown up and evolved so much since we first started dating, and more importantly, we gave each other the time and space to focus on our individual wants and needs (even when his took him all the way to Australia for half a year). Instead of growing apart through every twist and turn, we transformed together, strengthening our bond.

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To this day, I accept everything about my life partner. The parts of him I’ve already met, and the parts that I — and even he — don’t know are yet to come. I hope we keep learning about each other forever.

Related: 20 rules for a happy marriage.

Your kids will think your love story is super sweet. At least I sure hope so; we’ll have to check back on this one in 10 more years.

Adorable new family featuring mom, dad and new baby on the porch of their new home
Philip Zave Photography

And if my daughter starts dating a cute teen from her history class, you can bet my husband and I are both going to take it seriously.



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