As someone who has been in a relationship since 14, I often get asked the same questions. People want to know how I do it, how I found a “good guy”, and how I manage a successful relationship amongst all my responsibilities at such a young age. People ask me if I think we will get married, people ask me how I knew I was ready. And the answer is, I do not know.
Being in a relationship with my high school sweetheart has given me an opportunity to get inside a young relationship and watch it grow in the most beautiful way. I got to experience every type of relationship within my own. I got to learn why many “first relationships” fail. I was able to understand the amount of love and commitment that went into something so serious.
At 14 and 16, we were dreamers. I dreamed of being a plastic surgeon who wrote creatively on the side for fun. He dreamed of joining the military and fighting for our country. At 15 and 17, we were a misunderstood love-struck couple who wanted to run away from everything but each other. At 16 and 18, we would be separated by different labels “high school and college”. At 17 and 19, we were finding out how hard it was to work and still see one another. At 18 and 20, we worried about how our families would act toward the seriousness that we felt about our love. At 19 and 21, we were separated by the laws that kept us from being in the same establishments. At 20 and 22, we’re trying to balance work, school, and play without losing our minds. But no matter the circumstances, we have always weathered out the storms together, and we came to realize that this is what we want no matter what.
Every year we were different people, learning about one another and evolving to fit together better. The more we grow the more our relationship changes from puppy love to something respectable. I was a part of the beauty and “tragedy of forbidden love” and now a part of a couple that would love to skip all of this middle stuff but just can't. Someday we will tell the story of our relationship and realize how quickly the time flew by.
My secret is this, make the choice to love your person. I say your person because they should be your best friend, your confidant. But having love and a friendship doesn't mean it's always going to be easy to make things work. Sometimes things get tough outside of what is in our power and you need to make the choice to stay loving this person. To stay and fight for what is worth it. To make the choice to bite your tongue at times and kiss and makeup when you're not ready yet, too. Sometimes to box things up and never return to them no matter how much they hurt you at the time.
The truth is commitment at a young age is hard. But if it is what you want then you can make it work. Love at any age is happiness like no other. Love and happiness at any age is a choice worth making.