Optimism does remain for some. Research shows that even long-term happy marriages experience rough patches. For couples who met young, the good news is they already established a strong foundation of mutual respect and a loving environment, Dr. Wish emphasizes. For Jessica Small, who met her husband, Craig, freshman year in college, things are still going strong twenty years later. "I'm a very different person than when we first met; I'm not as needy, dependent or insecure," she says. She doesn't think Craig has changed as much. "The upside to meeting young is that you grow together, become better together and as individuals. Our relationship today is very different than the one we had twenty years ago." And for Jessica, that works.
For others, it simply doesn't work. If you are one of those women in a relationship that you are certain you've outgrown, give yourself a break. Stop blaming yourself. You were young! Know you will thrive on your own and find love again. Be confident you asked yourself the right questions before moving forward. The answers may have surprised, saddened or stimulated you to action, but you are older and wiser now. And you owe it to the 19-year-old girl you were to live a loving life.