Question: Are we too young to love?

This week, I’ll have been dating the same boy for three years. We started dating about a month before college started despite only knowing one another for a few months with the most information we had was that we would be going to the same college and running track (the makings of a true blockbuster movie right here). I’m going to be honest; we met online and really jumped right into dating. The fact that we made it past the first month of college is impressive in my opinion. But it happened and here we are three years later: stronger, more mature, and a lot more aware of just what we’ve gotten ourselves into.

So then why do people think I made a mistake?

I was at my internship the other day talking to my mentor who asked me how my boyfriend was doing. I told him he was great and that in about two weeks we’d have our three-year anniversary. His response? “Why are you in such a serious relationship so young? You should really be out enjoying life.”

This isn’t the first (or last) time someone has asked me this. I was given quite a hard time by my family for going into college already in a relationship. They were very worried it would stunt me socially, that I wouldn’t branch out beyond him. And you know what? That first year maybe I was a little less social than I would’ve been. Maybe I went to parties a little less or hung out not quite as often with my teammates as I would’ve, but if you ask me if I’d do it again, I’d say yes with no hesitation. I have been enjoying life; I’ve just been doing it with him by my side.

When people ask why I “tied myself down” my response is simple: I don’t don't see it as tying myself down, having my boyfriend has given me more freedom than I could’ve imagined. But I can say I wouldn’t be dating my boyfriend if I didn’t see a future with him. Obviously there was something there between us, or we wouldn’t be where we are today.

Dating through college, in my opinion, has helped me grow in a different way from my peers. I had an unwavering support system that helped me through my tough freshman and sophomore years. I had someone who was willing to leave the party early because I really just wanted pizza. I had someone who wasn’t afraid to tell me I was wrong or that I needed to study more and Netflix less. I grew with him, and that has only made our relationship stronger. I like who I am with him, in my opinion I'm better because of him.

Being in a relationship through college has made me resilient and a stronger person over all. It has taught me there is always a way to solve a problem, if you’re willing to find it. It taught me to not throw something out because you think it’s broken. And when you find a person you enjoy spending unlimited time with, don't let them go because it doesn't come around often.