Are You Thinking Of Divorcing Your High School Sweetheart?
by: Jay P. Granat, Ph.D.
Take a moment to think back to your high school days. Recall
the songs that were popular, your school colors, your favorite teacher,
the teacher you hated, the school cafeteria, your best friends, what you did on Friday
nights, what you did on Saturday nights, your first car, and the person you had a
a crush on and your date to your senior prom.
Youngsters are starting to get ready for their school proms. So, this annual
ritual got me thinking about relationships and young adult’s crushes, relationships
Some high school crushes turn into relationships. Romances
during the teen years can feel pretty hot and heavy. High school
romances are supercharged by raging hormones,
the newness of the experience, a desire to show parents that
you are now adults, and in some cases, by peer pressure to be connected
to a boyfriend or a girlfriend. In my youth, this was called “going steady.”
Over the years, I have counseled many men and women who
married their high school sweetheart. Some of these couples got
married when they were well under twenty-one years of age.
In my view, it is hard for a relationship which begins in late adolescence
to remain intact through adulthood. I say this for several reasons.
First and foremost, people grow and change a great deal from age thirty-
five to age fifty. However, the growth and change that they experience from
age eighteen to thirty-five is enormous. How likely is it for people who meet
at this young age to grow in a similar or compatible manner? In my opinion,
it is quite improbable.
During these years, people are apt to want to change majors, change jobs,
travel and live in different places. It is hard for two people to get on the same
path when one or both of them are considering these kinds of changes. Again,
think about how different you were at age eighteen vs. age thirty-five.
People are also still apt to be sexually curious during their late adolescence
and may be more inclined to stray from their marriages to explore other romantic
opportunities at this time in their lives. Extramarital affairs put a lot of pressure
on marriages and frequently cause their demise.
In addition, we know that some marital stress is caused by financial
pressure. People who get married young sometimes do not give themselves
a chance to develop the careers and the earning power they need to live comfortably.
This may be particularly true in today’s bumpy economy.
Keeping a relationship and family vibrant and intact requires maturity, patience,
selflessness, flexibility and well-honed communication skills. How many of us have
these qualities in our early years?
Not surprisingly, a recent study reported by The American Psychological Association
points out that people who marry as teens are more likely to get divorced than are
people who marry later in life.
Now, I am not saying that you can’t live happily ever after with your love
from the eleventh grade. There are some people who have done this successfully.
However, it may be wise to postpone marriage until your mid-twenties just to
make sure the two of you are growing in a compatible way and are still the right
fit for one another.
Jay P. Granat, Ph.D., is a Psychotherapist and a Licensed Marriage And Family
Therapist. He is also the Founder of www.StayInTheZone.com. and 101DivorceTips.com.
He can be reached at 201 647-9191 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.