High school sweethearts do exist.

Yes, it may not happen very often, but nonetheless, I'm sick of others putting those dating in high school down.

I think the stigma here is that during high school, you are essentially just discovering yourself. Or perhaps the stigma is people think young people aren't capable of feeling true love. Some people believe that because you are so young, you should date around rather than commit yourself to one person. In these situations, while I can see to some degree the validity of their sentiments, could not be so far from the truth. So, I am going to break down these arguments and advocate for those young people who think they have found the one.

For starters, I believe wholeheartedly that high school is the time where you are discovering yourself and preparing yourself for the adult world. You discover your likes, dislikes, who you are, what you value, what you believe, and who you truly want to be. However, who is to say that you can't discover yourself alongside a partner? Now, don't think I am saying that you need to rely on another person to discover who you truly are as an individual. That is not the case I am arguing for, in fact, quite the opposite. From experience, I believe that it is truly a magical feeling to have an individual who you can grow with, confide in, and discuss intimately what you believe and who you are as a person.

Next, on to the argument that essentially because you are so young you should date around rather than commit to one person. For some individuals, this is far from the case, rather that sentiment is extremely hard to grasp. Often times, even at a young age, an individual will encounter the dilemma that they have a hard time opening up to others. Putting themselves on the line to ultimately not be taken seriously or for the relationship to end. In these cases, it may be extremely hard for these individuals to, "date around," especially if they have a hard time opening up or trusting from the beginning. Why should people push their belief that you cannot have a long term relationship in high school if it is going to negatively impact the individual mentally and emotionally?

For my last argument, I would like to discuss the invalidation of young people's feelings. I think it's quite frankly absurd to argue that young people cannot feel emotions that adults can. Sure, brain development is definitely different between a high school aged person versus a twenty-five year old, however, I am sick of the notion that because they are young they do not feel emotions. That is completely invalid. I believe that it is extremely important to validate these young people's feelings, especially when often times they are already feeling insecure and invalidated through themselves. While it is important to ensure that these emotions are being expressed in healthy and safe ways, whose to say that a young person cannot feel genuine love for their partner?

So, there we have it. Coming from experience of dating my high school sweetheart since 2013, I can honestly say that the argument that high school sweethearts do not exist, their love isn't true, they won't last, etc., is extremely disheartening to those who have the mindset of wanting to date to genuinely last with a partner. While I will acknowledge that there are plenty of instances where high school love does not last or exceed past graduation, I will also acknowledge that it is also wrong to completely disregard the feelings and relationships that these young people are building.

If you are dating to last, don't let others discourage you, your relationship, or your endeavors.