Unsolicited Advice: Do Not Marry Your High School Sweetheart

Happy Holidays everyone! [Ed. Note: I’m about two weeks late posting this. Ooops.] To celebrate this glorious time of family, togetherness and good spirits, I thought I’d smack you in the dicks with some tough love. Here it is: DO NOT MARRY YOUR HIGH SCHOOL SWEETHEART. I’m gonna say it again, with less aggression this time: hey man, as a friend, I just wanted to let you know that I don’t think it would be a wise move for you to marry your high school sweetheart. This article is directed at dudes, but it applies equally to you ladies.

Since 95% of people who read BroBible don’t actually like to read, I’m gonna include a GIF of boobs after every other paragraph of my explanation in order to hold your attention.

One of my best friends, Mike, had a relationship that the rest of us all envied. He met his girlfriend when we were seniors in high school, and other than a six-month break, they dated, uninterrupted, for TEN YEARS. It was awe-inspiring! True love exists! When you know you know! Some people are just meant to be! And other cliches!

They tied the knot last year in one of the most beautiful weddings I’ve ever seen outside of the motion pictures. There was SHRIMP. I didn’t even think of them as their own person anymore; they were inseparable. Beautiful, right? Cut to a year later, and I just found out they’re getting a divorce…. OH 🙁

What the hell? How did this go from a storybook love story into a gorybook shove story? Sorry, that was stupid. You know why it didn’t work out? Because marrying your high school sweetheart is absolutely insane! They couldn’t have been less right for each other, but because of their history with one another, they stayed together and got married. If they went on a first date today, I don’t even think it would lead to a second. If your friend is heading down this path, standing idly by and enabling him to make this tragic mistake is no better than high-fiving him when he’s about to stick a needle filled with heroin into his arm. But at least his love affair with heroin won’t include a very public and expensive display of commitment in front of all his family and friends. Or I guess maybe it would if he was like super into heroin.

Think about what it’s like to make a big decision in your life. When you apply to college, you look at a couple colleges. If you’re gonna buy a super expensive winter jacket, you try a few on. If you’re deciding where to live, you don’t just pick the first place your eyes land on the map. How are you supposed to know what you like until you figure out what you don’t like? So, if every big decision in your life is made by comparing and contrasting, why in god’s name, for the biggest decision of your life, would you marry the first person you’ve ever seriously dated?

I don’t care how into each other you were in high school, nobody is the same person in their 20s or 30s that they were when they were in high school. I think about some of the girls I dated in high school (jk I didn’t have a girlfriend, but I made out with some girls in cabs and stuff), and I shudder at the thought of still being with them today. And I’m sure they feel the same about me.

In college, while the rest of my friends and I were making terrible decisions, learning about ourselves, growing as people, sticking our fingers in gross places, Mike stayed loyal to his high school girlfriend. He wasn’t a total shut-in or anything, but having a serious long distance girlfriend in college definitely leads to a different college experience. His entire 20s in New York City, an exciting and insanely fun time, he spent hanging out with his girlfriend. And now, what does he have to show for his dedication? A shitload of regrets. Thankfully, he seems to have a healthy attitude and is focusing on looking towards the future rather than dwelling on the past.

Given how many older people urge college-aged kids to break up with their high school girlfriend, why do you think there are so many of these relationships that exist? It boils down to two things–fear and comfort. Fear of not being able to find someone who cares about you the way your current significant other does, fear of having to put yourself out there and potentially get rejected by other people, fear of contracting an STD from some new strange. Fear is an extremely motivating factor.

And then there’s comfort. Being in a relationship is easy. Once you reach a certain level of comfort with a significant other, the relationship is just more enjoyable. You think to yourself, “I’ll never be able to reach this level of comfort with some other random lady!” Spoiler alert: you will. Dating can suck. You’ll meet a lot of terrible people and want to immediately run back to the comfort of the person who “really gets you.” Comfort will keep you in a relationship long past its expiration date, and sooner or later, you’re married, and then after a couple years you have some kids, and before you know it, the robots have risen and you’re dead. Just because it’s comfortable, doesn’t mean it’s what you should do. Crocs are comfortable, and NOBODY should wear crocs. Not even Mario Batali. See what I’m saying?

I want to stress that I’m not some scorned lover who hates relationships. I love relationships and I love marriage, and I hope to experience a happy marriage someday. I don’t regret any of the long-term relationships I’ve had in my life. I think being in a relationship is an important part of young adulthood, but I also think it’s necessary to be in a couple of different relationships before staying in the first one you’ve ever really been a part of. I also want to clarify that this isn’t just about sex. Yes, I think hooking up with a bunch of different people is worthwhile, but it’s more about finding out what type of person you like as a lifelong companion.

I’m sure there are a bunch of people who are reading this and saying, “this is bullshit, Mr. and Mrs. Whatsherface have been married for sixty years, and they couldn’t be happier!” My counter: it was a different time. Mrs. Whatsherface probably never held a job and was financially dependent on Mr. Whatshisface, and she didn’t really have many options if she wanted to leave. She was stuck. And back then, if you weren’t married by 19, you were a leper. That’s not sexist, it’s just fact. Those people learned to coexist and tolerate each other, and I dunno, maybe it was just easier for people to get along in a time before Facebook and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Who knows? My grandma still gets teary-eyed when she talks about my grandpa who passed away years ago, so their love for each other was clearly genuine, but I think for OUR generation, dating one person from the time you’re a teenager simply isn’t realistic.

This is not new or noteworthy advice. Any drunken uncle at a holiday party will tell you the same thing, but as someone who is younger, more hip with the kids, and just saw what a disaster this can be firsthand, I think it’s my duty to pass this along to all of you. If you have half a heart, you will forward this along to your college buddy dating his high school girlfriend, and save him from making a decision that I assure you will haunt him for the rest of his life.

And if you’re reading this, and you married your high school sweetheart, um, I was just kidding. I’m sure it’ll work out for you. Good luck!