3 Reasons You Should Never, Ever Marry Your High School Sweetheart

What's the rush in getting married so young?

You should never marry your high school sweetheart Jacob Lund, Nadore | Canva

Editor's Note: This is a part of YourTango's Opinion section where individual authors can provide varying perspectives for wide-ranging political, social, and personal commentary on issues.

You may be reading this, shaking your head and saying, "Wait a minute! He's my high school sweetheart, meaning I met him in high school, but we aren't teenagers anymore. We're twenty!" But if you can't legally drink at your wedding, you've got a problem. I know what I'm speaking about; I married my high school sweetheart, whom I met when I was only sixteen. Granted, he was twenty-three (Mom, what were you thinking?!), so not my official high school sweetheart, but still.


If I'm writing this article, you can probably guess how my first marriage turned outDon't get me wrong  I know it can work. I'm familiar with a few couples from high school who got married and are still happily married with kids. But before you go and do anything rash  and by rash I mean get engaged when you still have to attend PE class  listen to my reasoning. At least peruse my rationale why and consider the facts. I mean, you're smart, right? You're a high school graduate, yes?

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Here are 3 reasons you should never, ever marry your high school sweetheart:

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1. You barely knew yourself, let alone him, when you met

You were trying on different selves as a teenager, trying out different activities and ways of being. You didn't fully and truly know and understand yourself. You were too busy trying to figure out why your best friend would no longer speak to you, why your butt was so much bigger than everyone else's, or where to get a fake ID. Your twenties are the time when you start understanding what really makes you tick, and don't you want to find someone who winds you up in all the right ways as an adult, not as a late adolescent? Unconsciously, you may be trying not to change the person you sense developing because you don't want to upset the balance.

2. You both still have a lot of growing up to do and you're going to change — a lot

You may accidentally get locked into being the person that you were when you met, instead of feeling capable of growth on your own. I mean, how are you going to grow in all kinds of new and exciting ways if you have your sweetheart watching you every step of the way? Is it possible that you don't want to take the risk of being by yourself? Maybe you're only staying with him because you're afraid of change? Afraid of striking out on your own all, alone? If you ever find yourself wondering, then you need to explore other people.

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3. You should try to experience relationships with more than just one person.

If he's your high school sweetheart, there can't be that many exes to compare him with. And no, the boy who tried to feel you up by your locker in seventh grade doesn't count. You may think that you've found the love of your life, but your life has just begun. How can you know he's "the one"? You've barely had a chance to meet any other possible "ones" ... or twos or threes. What if "the one" is waiting for you at that Liberal Arts College across the country?

You're young (of course, all this advice applies to you only if you are still young. If you've been with your high school sweetheart for twenty years, then yes, please go and get married now!) and you need to experience life on your own. Why do you feel the need to rush into a marriage? Take your time. Explore all the possibilities that relationships have to offer. I know it's corny, but that old saying about if you love something, set it free just might kind of apply here.

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Sheila Hageman is a writer who has appeared on The Today Show, ABC News, NBC News, and programs with Bill Cunningham and Anderson Cooper. Her writing has been featured in Salon, Mamalode, Mom Babble, and The Huffington Post.