Better Together

Keeping a high school relationship going is impossible – ummm, no

I have recently met up with a group of friends from high school, as I do roughly once a year. It was obviously a lot of catching up on what had happened in our lives in the past 12 or so months. One friend was on a student exchange in Hong Kong, another was the first one of us to graduate from uni. Then, in a normal flow of the conversation, we found out that one of our friends have parted ways with his girlfriend.

To be honest, that came as a bit of a shock, as they have been together for quite some time, but no one made a big song and dance of it – after all, people break up for various reasons, it just happens sometimes. But when I told my other friend about it (yes, I am a gossip sometimes, yes, I am ashamed of it), she responded with “Well, that’s sad, but I guess it must be hard to keep a high school relationship going, right?”.

Well, no. At least not in my experience.

adriana valasquez
Photo by Adriana Valasquez

But let’s just get one thing straight before I continue – to me, a high school relationship is simply a normal relationship that started during high school years. If by ‘high school relationship’ you understand a ‘relationship’ started purely to have someone to snog in the school corridor or brag about to your mates/girlfriends, then that’s simply a crappy relationship. And there’s no point even trying to keep it going.

I really don’t know where this bad fame of relationships that started in teen years is coming from. Well, ok, I kinda do – from the latter type described above. But why are those who got together through friendship judged based on the behaviour of a group that has a more blasé approach to love? Mr Arguably Honest and I have been together for 4 years. I’m 22. You can do the maths.

The truth is, people change. Who you’re getting together with today is a different person than who you will be with in 5-10 years. And it doesn’t matter if they’re currently 15, 25 or 40. Agreed, teenagers are in an intense change stage, but not everyone is going through it with a massive bang. As long as you’re changing together, or you can accept how your boyfriend/girlfriend/partner/whatever you choose to call them is changing, why would a relationship started early not work out? Becoming better, together, is one of the most exciting parts of being in a relationship for me.

Ok, but at this rate I will have a bunch of 40-year-old-I-just-want-to-give-you-good-advice aunties coming round here to tell me that I’m still young and don’t know life, and that I will see in a few years… I wonder what I’ll see, but whatever. Because, you know, whenever I’m at home, I see a proof that high school relationships can work – my parents. They’ve been married for 26 years, but have been together much longer. There’s even this photo from my mom’s prom night – her whole class and, randomly, my dad, a student from a different school.

Age is really just a number. Yes, I’m less mature than my mom or gran. I would be surprised if I wasn’t. But when would I be deemed mature enough to enter a relationship that wouldn’t immediately be described as something that won’t last? At 25? 30? 70? Most relationships won’t last – be it romantic or otherwise. I am not a completely formed human, I have a lot to learn still and I hope I will keep on learning throughout my life. But I am more mature than I was at 18. Yet my relationship started at that age is going strong.

There is no magic recipe for a successful relationship. If there was, I would be selling it at some crazy price and living in a villa with an indoor pool (an outdoor pool in England would be borderline idiotic). You can’t tell someone “if you start a relationship when you’re over 22, it will succeed” or “if your boyfriend is an Aries and you’re a Leo, it’s doomed, you might as well break up already”. Because it’s a pile of bullshit. Some high school relationships last for years, like my parents’, some 30-year-old couples break up after a few months, some wives cheat on their husbands after 10 years of marriage.

Yes, young couples have the highest divorce rates. But you know what? Even though I don’t think I’m ready to get married at 22, all the best to those of you who are. I hope marriage is the most beautiful adventure of your life. And to those of you who used to think “OMG, are they insane” when looking at pictures of their young peers getting married, how about next time you just wish them all the best?

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