It’s easy to live in a fantasy world when we’re teenagers in high school. It is extremely optimistic to assume that your first relationship will be your last, and your high school sweetheart will one day be your husband or wife. However, negative connotations have been circulating about this subject for quite some time and it doesn’t seem like we are giving high school love stories a fair shot.
Everyone talks about growing up and finding yourself: being independent while exploring new people, jobs and experiences. Sometimes we forget that when you find the right person, you can do all of those things with someone by your side supporting you. Some find it extremely necessary to date multiple people to fully understand what they like and don’t like. However, those who stay with the same person long term, are probably going through their own set of issues. If you’re in your 20s and still with your “high school sweetheart” or simply have only been with one person for an extended period of time, you might be struggling to know if they are “the one” for you, and trust me, you are not alone.
Here are a few things to consider if you’re unsure about your relationship:
Are you questioning if they’re enough for you?
I think there is a common misconception when it comes to only being with one person will cause you to lose your freedom or life experience. In high school, your relationship is cool and seems so powerful. Then once you get to college, or even graduate college, people frown on the fact that you’ve only been with one person. With so many opinions swirling around your love life, you inevitably begin to question if being with one person really is enough for you. You doubt the sureness of your relationship that you once had. How are you supposed to know if they are the best out there for you, if they are the only one you’ve ever been with?
Your head fills with doubt. You tell yourself these are normal thoughts, but if you can’t shake the fear you have of missing out, maybe you do need to take a step back.
You’ve thought about breaking up with them, but they’re all you’ve ever known
The thing with sticking with your “high school sweet heart,” is that they are usually the only thing you’ve ever known. For your pivotal years where you transition into adulthood, they were the one standing by your side and supporting you. It’s overwhelming to think that young adult you made a decision to be with someone that would last forever. However, it’s definitely a possibility. There’s a possibility that you two can grow together and change together, constantly being in sync and working through difficulties together. However, it’s also very common to start to doubt yourself and wonder if that really was the best decision, or if you are going to regret not trying other things before settling down. If the idea of taking a break sounds more appealing than not, it may be time to reconsider your relationship.
Does the idea of marriage scare or excite you?
Even if you’ve been planning your wedding since you were little, there comes a point in your 20s when engagement becomes a very real conversation. All of your friends are getting engaged and wedding talk comes up in every conversation. You’ve been with your partner for so long that everyone obviously assumes marriage is the next step, but are you emotionally ready?
Making a lifelong commitment to someone is a huge step. If the idea gives you comfort and makes you feel completely at peace and secure, then it sounds like you’ve found your person. However, if marriage is beginning to give you crippling anxiety because you have no idea if you’re sure about this or not, you may need to change things up in order to find clarity. It’s important to have the tough conversations with your partner about the future. You may have had an instant connection, but can it last forever? Do you want the same things in life? Marriage is a combining of two lives and it’s important to make sure you have the same values as your significant other.
Have you grown enough independently?
Once you enter your 20s and begin looking for a career, it’s normal to go through a stage of reflection. You look back on your high school and college days, and wonder if you did everything right. Sometimes college can feel like a crutch because you’re not fully on your own. You still have a set schedule of classes with teachers and people responsible for you. It’s not until after college that you truly feel lost and alone. It’s very common to feel like you need to take some time to yourself and grow independently. We’ve all heard people say, “I need to find myself.” Well, that’s especially true for those who have been with one person throughout those years. You have spent so much time growing together that it’s important to reflect on your individual growth as well. It’s normal to feel like your significant other has been like a crutch or a safety net for you. If you feel like you need to get out there and be on your own for a while, you have to ask yourself if you can do that and still be with them.
Simply put, are you happy?
This is the end all be all question. Happiness may appear to be a simple thing, but it’s harder to find once you don’t feel it anymore. Ask yourself the hard questions about your relationship and don’t feel bad for having the emotions that you do. They are there for a reason and should be important to you and your partner.
What it ultimately comes down to is asking yourself if you are happy. Are you happy with your life? Are you happy in your relationship? Are you excited about your future? The decision to change your life is yours and the fear of possibly losing the one you love can be terrifying, but it’s important to trust your gut and do what you think is best for you at the time.
Whatever your path may be, embrace it fully. Don’t be scared of the future, but excited about it. Don’t be scared that you’ll never find someone else to be with. Don’t settle for your “high school sweetheart” just because that’s the safe choice. Ultimately, you know yourself best. When it comes down to it, this person could very well could be the one for you, but that is only a decision you can make.