My ex-husband and I met in school during the recess. I had been in several shorter serious relationships and was sick of having my heart broken.
After a few months of just being friends, we started dating. We were spending a lot of time together. The next thing I knew, we were celebrating 4 years of being together.
However, our marriage didn’t work out the way either of us wanted it to, and we ended up parting ways. And 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.
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When you fall in love with someone so young, there are so many silent things that you’re not aware of until later on. If you’re serious about your school sweetheart, here are a few things you should know.
1. You’re both going to change
The person that your partner fell in love with isn’t going to be the one that he/she ends 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, and expensive car, and treating myself to nice things – and he wanted all of the babies.
When you spend a long time with your school sweetheart, you keep thinking that things are going to be the way they used to. They can’t, because of your life experiences. Your needs and wants are different. As a couple, you need to accept the other for what they are now and not what they used to be, and find ways to grow together.
As a couple, you need to accept the other for what they are now and not what they used to be, and find ways to grow together.
2. Don’t fall in love with 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); he can figure things out. I saw all of this potential in him, and I definitely was enthusiastic about it. However, he never reached that potential (or hasn’t yet) because it’s just not for him. He’s absolutely fine with just being OK.
3. Don’t fall in love with comfort
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 again and have my heart broken 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.
4. 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 and I never lived anywhere else or lived on my own. And I turned down a lot of career choices – whether he asked me or not. I had completely lost my ability to make decisions for myself. I’m not saying that the other person shouldn’t be involved and decisions shouldn’t be discussed, but I am saying that 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.
Related reading: 7 things you get when your husband is your best friend
Whether you’ve been married to your high school sweetheart for 26 years, like my parents, or you’re heading to college attached, don’t give up experiences. If it’s real 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.
Don’t ever give up in any situation, whatever the cause.