Opinion: Marrying Your High School Sweetheart Is Foolish

Opinion: Marrying Your High School Sweetheart Is Foolish ©iStock/fotolaki

It’s the ultimate classic American love story, and it’s one that often seems to reflect everything that we all wish to have in a relationship. It’s an old school vision of stability, a long history together, and plenty of childhood innocence to throw into the mix. Idyllic as the idea of marrying your high school sweetheart is, I don’t believe it’s a wise one. In fact, it’s an act I consider to be downright foolish. Here’s why:

  1. It’s like walking through life blindfolded. Simply put, you don’t have a lot of experience dating people if you’re marrying your high school sweetheart. You don’t know whether or not he’s right for you because you have no one to compare it to.
  2. You don’t even know who you are yet. At 18, you don’t really know where you’ll be in 10 years. Since you’re still growing, you might end up making the mistake of marrying someone who you’ll grow apart from within a matter of years .
  3. You haven’t really fully honed your people skills yet. What happens when things go south? What happens if you don’t really know how to talk it out? You would be surprised at how many people end up leaving their spouses because they didn’t really know how to communicate with them until it’s too late.
  4. Your career could suffer because of it. It’s too hard to try to coordinate two budding careers under the same roof. If you want to travel the world and spend long hours at the office, chances are high that a spouse that hasn’t been out in the world will feel resentful for being expected to wait at home. This means that you may end up having to make career sacrifices in order to keep your spouse happy.
  5. You need to know what it’s like to live on your own. Most people who marry their sweethearts don’t have much life experience. You’ll need to know how it is to live alone, to deal with tough situations, and how to handle financial issues before you tie the knot. Otherwise, it’s a disaster waiting to happen.
  6. Can you really live your entire life only having had sex with one person? Truthfully, most people will want to have a period where they can “sew their wild oats,” and that’s okay. Unfortunately, doing that is not compatible with most people’s idea of what a marriage is supposed to be.
  7. Statistics suggest it’s the equivalent of believing in unicorn farts. Only 2% of married couples are high school sweethearts, and the divorce rates for people under 25 is sky high. Is this really something that you want to gamble on?
  8. Cheating is more likely since you’ve never been with anyone else. When you’ve been with only one person, it’s hard not to hear temptation calling. Unfortunately, unless you decide to have an open marriage, marrying your high school sweetheart may end up being a quick way to guarantee infidelity in the future.
  9. Getting married and living together is different than being in the same school together. You may have been joined at the hip during high school, but that doesn’t mean that you’ll want to be the same way when you’re living together. Living with someone often shows us the sides of them that they wouldn’t want you to see. Most people who marry straight out of high school don’t realize this until it’s too late.
  10. You may need to spend a lot of time apart early on, and that can wreck a relationship. There’s something to be said about the high number of breakups that happen when kids go off to college. There’s also something to be said about how high the breakup and infidelity rates are in career paths like the military, where spouses may have to live separately for years. This is most commonly experienced in — you guessed it — couples that marry immediately after high school.
  11. You don’t need to have kids that young. Most people who marry young want to have kids sooner rather than later. Kids cost money, and put insane amounts of stress on even the healthiest marriages. Do you really want to have kids in your early 20s, while others are out having fun? Even if you choose to spend a couple of years of freedom together, it’s still not a good idea until you’re older.
  12. Unless you’re an exception to the rule, you haven’t experienced hardship in high school. Marriages only last if you and your husband can handle hard situations together. In most cases, high schoolers don’t really have a history of dealing with hard stuff in life. That means that you can’t tell how he’ll react when sh*t hits the fan. Is that a good thing in a partner?
  13. Many partners who marry at 18 or 19 tend to resent the fact that they didn’t ever really have time to discover themselves. Usually, that’s not a good sign for a marriage.
Ossiana Tepfenhart is a New Jersey based writer and editor with bylines in Mashed, Newsbreak, Good Men Project, YourTango, and many more. She’s also the author of a safe travel guide for LGBTQIA+ people available on Amazon.

She regularly writes on her popular Medium page and posts on TikTok and Instagram @ossianamakescontent.