We all know a couple who have been dating for what seems like forever. They've been together since high school, went to the same college and will probably get married and live happily-ever-after. What we might not realize is how difficult it is for couples to transition from high school to college. As someone who has been dating the same guy since the beginning of our junior year in high school, trust me when I say it is not all butterflies and daisies. Luckily, there are ways to make sure your relationship survives during college and beyond.
Prepare for change
Change is inevitable. No matter how stable your relationship is during high school, it will change during college. Sometimes it will change for the best, and sometimes for the worst. Either way, it is much easier to handle if you expect it. When my theater kid boyfriend joined a fraternity his sophomore year, it was a complete shock to me. We suddenly weren't spending every second together. He had all of these new responsibilities that I wasn't prepared for. Know that things like this will happen as you grow, and accept it.
Be patient and supportive
Sometimes figuring things out can take a while. There will be a ton of highs and lows in not only your relationship, but also your college years. Showing your partner support while they go through these ups and downs is so important to a relationship. Brag on them when they achieve something. Show them compassion when they fail. Be patient while they figure themselves out, and let them know you support them no matter what.
Learn to communicate
The best way to fix a problem is through communication. Don't be afraid to be open and honest with your partner. When my boyfriend and I run into issues, we go for a ride and don't come home until we've talked it out. Listen to what your partner has to say and think before you respond. Often times, bad communication can cause more problems than anything.
Listen to your heart, not other people
I cannot count how many times people have tried to tell me that my high school relationship wasn't going to last. Strangers, friends and even family have tried to convince me that high school sweethearts aren't meant to last past high school. The best advice I can give is to ignore these people and figure out what yo want. Sometimes high school relationships don't last, and sometimes they do. Either way, it is for you to decide and not other people.
Focus on yourself first
It can be tempting to make plans centered around your relationship or your significant other. When it comes to choosing a college or deciding where to live, it is so important that you focus on yourself first. If you don't, this can lead to problems in your relationship. I resented my boyfriend my entire freshman year because I choose to go to the same college as him instead of my dream college. Of course, this wasn't his fault but I still got angry with him every time I had a bad day or thought about how different my life could have been.
The best part about my high school relationship lasting past graduation is we've gotten to watch each other grow so much. Over the last four years, I watched my theater kid boyfriend figure out his passion for architecture, join a fraternity, earn an executive position in two organizations and land a full-time job at a construction firm. We've learned to cook together. We've helped each other keep our grades up. We've figured out how to be apart for a while and be okay. All of this is part of growing up but having a partner who is there to help makes it so much better.