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High School Sweethearts

December 5, 2012
Owensville High School

High School Sweethearts

Brittni Cebulak


Ah, young love—so fickle, so fleeting . . .” Or is it?

   In the high school atmosphere, the raging hormones and emotions of the “teenage species” make it virtually inevitable for relationships to exist. Some are obviously drama filled and ultimately disruptive to the learning atmosphere, and some are relatively healthy and allow the individuals to grow as human beings. However, does that mean that most—if not all—high school romances are destined to remain in the school and not carry on throughout the adult life?  Should the relationship be left in the past?

   Statistically, out of every one-hundred high school relationships, only two will make it past high school. Moreover, 10% of high school sweethearts end up getting married, and about half eventually get divorced. In addition, in early 2012, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) recorded 2,077,000 marriages; 8%-11% of the couples married were high school students, and it is estimated that 5% of those marriages will not end in divorce. After doing the math, that makes 103,850 high school sweethearts that are believed to stay together in marriage this year alone.

   Conversely, getting married straight out of high school is not the “statistically correct” thing to do if you believe yourself to be madly in love with your high school sweetheart and want to spend eternity with them. For example, those who get married in their teens have a 54% chance of remaining married for ten years; those that get married between the ages of 20 and 24 boost their odds with a 69% likelihood, and those who hold off until age 25 have a 78% chance or remaining married for ten years. Therefore, if a couple truly cares about one another, they should allow their relationship to withstand the test of time solely on a dating basis before even contemplating walking down the aisle and saying “I do.”

   In addition, it has also come into question whether or not mere high school students are mature enough to be involved in such a committed relationship as to be labeled as “sweethearts” that have any potential of remaining together.  Moreover, how can such a young person know what love is? After all, the hormones being released during these years makes emotions run high, and therefore romantic feelings might be over dramatized and manifested into something more than they actually are—so named by the infatuation of Puppy Love. Still, on the contrary, there are undoubtedly some couples that have thrived throughout their high school years and into adulthood—especially from the older generations (i.e. grandparents). Still, it cannot be denied that the times and customs have changed, and high school sweetheart marriages are not as commonplace as they once were—but they are not completely nonexistent, either. Nevertheless, it is not an easy thing to place a label on a matter of the heart, so maybe it is pointless for society to even attempt the task.

   Furthermore, while relationships are great, one cannot allow them to consume their lives. A truly healthy and lasting relationship allows each partner to follow their dreams and not be tied down by the romance. No high school sweetheart is worth giving up your entire life for. However, the best advice lies with those with experience on such matters—those that have lived through the times and trials of love and loss. After being contacted and questioned on their opinions on the matter of the famous “high school sweetheart,” the following Gasconade County-R-II staff members offered their valuable opinion, advice, and standpoint on the entire matter:


Tina Wnuk

How do you feel about high school sweethearts?  “As long as I don't have to see high school sweethearts hanging all over each other in the halls, or making each other cry in my class, I think high school sweethearts are just fine.”

Is the concept disruptive to the learning environment? “If the relationship is going south, it can be disruptive.  However, any relationship that is going south can cause disruptions to any environment.”

Do you think that the High School Sweetheart romance is always doomed? “My parents were high school sweethearts and have been married for thirty-five years.  I married my high school sweetheart and have been married for ten.  So, no; I don't think they're doomed any more than any other relationship. All relationships take work, and it doesn't matter if you're high school sweethearts or 80 years old when you meet; if both people aren't willing to work together at least some of the time, then the relationship will be doomed.” 

“The problem with marrying your high school sweetheart (especially if you marry right out of high school) is the amount of change that goes on in the few short years after high school.  Current brain research shows that your brain doesn't even stop developing until your 20's! There's something to be said for slowing down and making sure you're the person you want to be when you're with your ‘sweetheart’.”

Did any of you marry your High School Sweethearts? “Yes, but not until we were both in our twenties.  I was almost finished with College and he was already working.” 


Lori Nolen

“I have been married to my high school sweetheart for 36 years.  I do have to say that there were times when it was disruptive to my study habits.  I was always a good student and tried not to let it get in the way.  Whether people think it should be a part of high school doesn't really matter....it always will be.  Now that I am a parent and a grandmother, I worry some times that a high school romance can change a student's plans for their future.  I have witnessed college being put on hold because of a romance.  I believe that if it is the right person, your life together can wait until after college.”


Joe Stammers

High School Sweethearts:  “I think high school sweethearts are a part of growing up and natural.  I believe that most everyone has experienced this at one time.”

 Disruptive to Learning Environment? “I don't think that they should be.  If the ‘sweetheart’ process is appropriate then it will not be disruptive.  Anything can go extreme and be disruptive.”

 Sweetheart Romance Doomed? “No.  I have been here eighteen years and have seen some high school sweethearts marry, and they are still married.  Most do not end up together, but some do; so, no, they are not doomed.”

 I marry my sweetheart? “Yes; we started dating my junior year, and we will be married thirty years in June!”


Heather Webb

“I think that kids need to be realistic about their plans after high school and whether they can sustain a long distance relationship if needed.  I have seen some kids give up their plans to follow their high school sweetheart and they end up breaking up anyway and an opportunity was wasted.”

“High school sweethearts can be a good fit if they support and respect one another.”

 “When I was in high school, high school sweethearts were not disruptive to the learning environment”.

 “I don't think high school romances are always doomed; it really depends on the couple's relationship and future plans.  Strong relationships are built on friendships, trust, and respect. Without those components, any relationship will fail.”

 “I didn't have a high school sweetheart because I didn't find anyone worthy of my love in high school.”


Connie Warden

 “I have known some high school sweethearts who have ‘made it’ and are now happily married, and have been for many years.  One couple which my husband and I have been friends with for many years were high school sweethearts and have been married for thirty-five years.  My own son, even though he is not married, has been in a relationship with his girlfriend for six years.  They dated from the time he was a sophomore in high school and she was a freshman. He is now a junior at college and she is a sophomore.   I believe that one day they will be married....I can't imagine it not happening!”


“I'm not certain how many students let their relationships be disruptive to their learning.  I do not feel that my son and his girlfriend ever let that happen; however, I do think it is an issue for some.  I do not have firsthand experience, since I am not in the classroom. However, I do see couples here in the library, and I know that probably little studying is getting done.  In their defense, there are many other students in here that are not getting much studying done either, and they aren't even couples! The library is sometimes a disruptive place just due to the number of people in here!”


“I would not say that a high school sweetheart romance is always doomed.  I feel that it is dependent on the level of commitment from each of the people involved.  I know some people in their thirties whose relationships are not good . . . and people in their teens that do have good relationships!”



How do you feel about high school sweethearts? “I think they are great if they are healthy—they make wonderful memories. What I mean by unhealthy are the ones that are full of drama, immaturity, and unhappiness.” 

Is the concept disruptive to the learning environment? I don't think they are disruptive unless, again, they are unhealthy. If the students have their priorities straight, such as keeping their grades a priority, and once again keeping it drama free, it isn't disruptive.”


Do you think that the High School Sweetheart romance is always doomed? “I believe most people change after high school graduation, and again by the time they are done with college. I don't think they are all ‘doomed,’ but I do think people change from high school, so it would be natural for couples to go their separate ways. I do know of some success stories. I have an aunt and uncle that have been together since they were sophomores in high school and are now in their fifties.” 


Did any of you marry your High School Sweethearts? “Oh goodness NO, and as I look back, of course, it was devastating at the time. I am grateful when I look back now and glad it did not work out. I thought I knew it all back then, but I definitely know now that I didn't.” 







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