Our story begins in the fall of 2007.
We were 14 years old and not in any way looking for love. Neither one of us had planned to go to the county fair that night, but after some convincing by our respective parties we both ended up there. Maybe the stars aligned, or maybe it was sheer chance that I was holding hands with my future husband while we waited in line for a carnival ride. All I know is I’m glad I decided to go to the fair that night.
I never thought I’d meet the man I’d marry in high school.
Our relationship started out as romantic as any teenage relationship does. It began with a simple text: “Wut up its Cameron. U kno from last nite.” Charming, I know, but that text is one of the many little things that has stuck to my brain and makes me happy and nostalgic every time I think of it.
If you would have told me I’d meet my husband at 14 years old, I would have laughed. Even at 14, I knew I lacked the maturity to give someone else the attention they needed. Yet somehow time seemed to fly by, and before I knew it we had already been dating for a year.
Though I’d like to say our relationship was picture perfect puppy love, it was far from. Being in a steady relationship during adolescence is very challenging. You’re trying to figure out who you are, what you’re going to do, and you’re constantly evolving as a person. Those are the years everyone tells you that it’s okay to be selfish because you have your whole life ahead of you. What they don’t tell you is that being selfish and being in a relationship don’t exactly mesh well.
There have been some very dark things we’ve had to go through, some of those being things that were out of our control. We’ve had our share of arguments and problems. It hasn’t always been smooth sailing, but after every fallout we came back stronger. We treated everything that went wrong in our relationship as a learning experience in order to avoid repeating past mistakes. Communication became our savior, and learning to actively respect one another was imperative. We realized that we both needed to become a little more selfless, which is a hard concept to wrap your head around as a teenager (and even 20-something).
Dating during those pivotal coming-of-age years taught me many valuable life lessons.
The most important thing I’ve learned from our relationship is finding balance. Obviously you should always have focus on your ambitions and goals, but you also have to take the other person into consideration. If conversations and activities focus primarily on you and your interests, the relationship is one-sided. If you expect them to listen to your problems, you have to be willing to lend an ear for them. It seems like a simple concept, but it can actually prove to be quite difficult. You live very separate lives, especially when you’re that young, so finding balance is crucial. It’s not just about you anymore, it’s about you and someone else.
When you know, you know. You know?
A lot of people ask, “How do you really know if they’re the one if you haven’t dated anyone else?” The answer is simple: if ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Sure, there may be someone in a different city, state, or continent more compatible for me, but I don’t care to search for it. I found someone I have great chemistry with. He keeps me laughing and makes me feel special, which is more than I could ever ask for. I have found someone I can genuinely be my complete self around, which is rare. I wouldn’t dare risk ruining that.
It is still unreal that we are finally married.
In 2015, after eight years of dating, we finally decided to move in together. About a month later, we were engaged. We always knew we would be committed to one another, but something about the symbolism of marriage seemed to seal the deal. After a year of fun (and sometimes stressful) wedding planning, I married my best friend of almost a decade in October 2016, and I’m counting on a lifetime of happiness with him.
To wrap things up…
My experience with my high school sweetheart is very personal. Everyone’s experiences are unique, and I would never try to spew out general advice because relationships are all about figuring out what works best for you and your partner. All I know is that I was lucky enough to meet the love of my life at a young age, and I couldn’t imagine spending this substantial amount of time with anyone else.