We were childhood sweethearts. My ex-husband and I met in school during recess. I had been in several short-lived relationships and was sick of having my heart broken. After a few months of being friends, we started dating. We were spending a lot of time together and the next thing I knew, we were celebrating our 4th anniversary.
However, our marriage didn’t work out the way either of us wanted it to, and we ended up parting ways. While some of this can be attributed to what we didn’t have as a couple, a lot of it had to do with the changes that happen as you come into your own as a person. When you fall in love with someone at such a young age, there are so many things that you’re still not aware of.
If you’re serious about your childhood sweetheart, here are 10 things you absolutely must know. They’ll give you a good idea of what lies in store for the next few years. The journey from childhood lovers to soulmates isn’t a piece of cake!
10 Things To Expect When You Date Or Marry Your Childhood Sweetheart
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Daphne du Maurier wrote, “I am glad it cannot happen twice, the fever of first love. For it is a fever, and a burden, too, whatever the poets may say.” Most Hollywood films will have you believe that a happily ever after with your childhood sweetheart is easy to attain. But these movies gloss over the many challenges that stand in the way of a perfect forever.
As a result, most people are taken aback when their childhood lover changes with time. It’s almost like they expected their partner to retain their 15-year-old self till eternity. Look at these 10 pointers as a heads-up; they’ll equip you with the right knowledge for when these challenges arise. At the very least, you’ll have a complete picture of what you’re getting into. Here’s what to expect when you’re marrying a childhood friend.
1. You’re both going to change
The person that your partner fell in love with isn’t going to be the one that they end up with. When I first met my ex-husband, he didn’t want kids and I wanted a football team. A decade later, I didn’t want them – I was thrilled with my career, freedom, expensive car, and treating myself to nice things – and he wanted as many babies as possible.
When you spend a long time with your school sweetheart, you keep thinking that things are going to remain the way they’ve always been. They can’t remain the same because of your life experiences. Your needs and wants are different. As a couple, you need to accept each other for what you are now and not what you used to be. You must find ways to grow together.
Related Reading: 35 Questions To Ask Your Husband For A Heart-To-Heart Conversation
2. Holding grudges against your childhood sweetheart is unwise
The advantage of marrying your childhood sweetheart is that you both go way back. But the disadvantage of marrying your childhood sweetheart is that… you both go way back. The long shared history means that there are plenty of fights, disagreements, or mistakes that you can hold against each other.
Digging up these instances and using them as an arsenal in the present moment is a recipe for disaster. Don’t self-sabotage the relationship by holding grudges against your partner. As the years go by, you will have to let things go. The saying is quite right, the past belongs to the past.
3. Prioritize facts over potential
This was my biggest drawback when it came to my marriage. I honestly can’t say enough good things about my ex-husband. He’s smart (smarter than I am) and can figure things out. I saw all this potential in him and I was so enthusiastic about it. However, he never realized that potential (or hasn’t yet) because it’s just not for him. He’s absolutely fine with being average.
Marrying someone or getting into a long-term relationship with them should be done because of the person they ARE, not the person they might BECOME. You don’t know what the future holds, so don’t count on potential only. There’s a solid chance that your visions won’t align with each other.
4. Real life is difficult to get used to
When you’re childhood sweethearts, you live in a romantic, cozy bubble. The world seems like a Disney musical where nothing can ever go wrong. But you will enter the gritty adult world at some point. This shift might be difficult to navigate for both of you. Holding down a job, paying the bills, socializing, etc. are tough to balance at once.
Make sure that you’re compatible in the real world too. Tackle these challenges with patience and learn together. It’s not easy to acclimatize yourself when the love-bubble pops. During this phase, have compassion and empathy for each other. Growing up together can be quite fun if done right.
Related Reading: 13 Traits That Distinguish Selfless Love From Selfish Love
5. Don’t fall in love with comfort when you’re marrying your childhood sweetheart
One of the reasons I believe I stayed so long was because I was comfortable. I didn’t want to go out and date someone else and deal with heartbreak over and over again. Most of my friends were in long-term relationships and our group of friends was really tight. Everything was going smoothly in life, so why shake it up? I can’t stress this enough: do not stay because you’re comfortable. Or afraid. Don’t settle.
Remember what Nina George wrote? “Habit is a vain and treacherous goddess. She lets nothing disrupt her rule. She smothers one desire after another: the desire to travel, the desire for a better job or a new love. She stops us from living as we would like because habit prevents us from asking ourselves whether we continue to enjoy doing what we do.”
6. You won’t struggle with many insecurities
Marrying your childhood sweetheart brings a solid sense of security. There is no ex in the picture and you both have known each other for so long. Most childhood lovers build their relationship on a foundation of friendship. So you won’t get suspicious or jealous very easily. You can bid relationship insecurities adieu if you’re sure of your childhood sweetheart.
Furthermore, you know your partner through and through. There won’t be a need to explain everything to them. You both will intuitively understand what the other is feeling. The comfort level you share with each other will not make you shy away from difficult conversations. As a result, you’ll be champions on the communication front. Clarity beats insecurity.
7. Don’t lose yourself
I gave up a lot of opportunities because I thought I was ready to settle down and have a family. I didn’t travel as much as I wanted to and I never lived anywhere else on my own. And I turned down a lot of career choices – whether he asked me or not. I’m not saying that the other person shouldn’t be involved in the decision-making process; if it’s something you really want to do and feel strongly about, you should be able to go do it with your partner’s support.
Whether you’ve been married to your high school sweetheart or you’re heading to college attached, don’t give up on experiences. If it’s unconditional love, your partner will support you, even if that means studying abroad for a couple of years or living in London on your own. You never know how those missed opportunities can change your life.
8. Keep the spark alive with your childhood lover
When your partner is your closest friend, you become habituated to them very quickly. As a result, you might take them for granted or stop putting effort in the relationship. But beware! A marriage requires maintenance through constant efforts. You have to make it work every single day. And you don’t need grand romantic gestures for that.
Listen to your partner with undivided attention, make them a cup of coffee, plan stay-at-home dates, be involved in each other’s lives, drop compliments, and so on. These little things keep a relationship going. Pay attention to yourself too; dress up for your partner, take frequent showers, and look presentable.
9. You’ll have many mutuals with a childhood sweetheart
Now, this is a pro as well as a con. The advantage of marrying a childhood friend is that you’ve got plenty of people in common. Your families might know each other very well too. This makes your support system as a couple very strong. Plus, you have a shared social circle that makes your conversations richer.
But on the other hand, this can get a little claustrophobic. Your childhood sweetheart is present in every single sphere of your life. It is important to keep a few things separate from a relationship. Taking and giving space to your partner is a very essential quality to possess. You don’t want to suffocate each other by being omnipresent.
10. Your bond will be resilient
It’s true what they say, our first love is the purest connection we encounter in our lives. It is not colored by practical considerations; we like our childhood sweethearts for who they are. This makes the emotional connection very strong. You will find it easier to forgive your partner in the marriage. External circumstances (like long-distance for instance) won’t affect you both very intensely.
In general, childhood sweethearts overcome the rough patches of a relationship with relative ease. This comes from the unshakeable belief and affection they hold for each other. Resilience is very valuable; the marriage will withstand any curveball life throws toward it.
I hope you’ve grasped the merits and demerits of marrying your childhood sweetheart. Keep these points in mind when you face any challenges on your journey as a couple. Be true to yourself every step of the way, and the rest will work out in your favor.
No definite statistical data is available to answer your question. But current trends show that fewer high-school romances culminate into long-term marriages or partnerships. However, there are cases where people marry their childhood sweetheart and the marriage is a successful one.
One study suggests that only 2% of all marriages are those that began as a school romance. It also reports that 25% of women claim to have married their first love.
A few studies certainly suggest so. According to the Daily Mail, high-school sweethearts are most likely to cheat on their partners.
There’s a slim chance. Most school relationships end because people evolve differently. With time, the dynamic between the couple changes. But there are always exceptions where people marry childhood friends or partners.