My boyfriend, Jason, and I have been dating for about four years, since our sophomore year of high school. Typically, when I hear someone refer to us as “high school sweethearts,” I sneer a bit. Although my high school sweetheart is my soul mate, we continue to defy the cheesy, cringe-worthy stereotype for a couple of reasons.
We aren’t the same person
Although we have many similar interests, we have very different personalities, and haven’t allowed our relationship to change that. There is a reason that we fell in love with each other- because we are so different, but compliment each other so well. If we changed who we are for each other, we wouldn’t be in love for the right reasons, so we try our best to remain true to ourselves as individuals.
We force each other to do things that we may not normally do
As we continue to grow together, we push each other to do things that are out of our comfort zone. Its easy to get too comfortable and rarely change your lifestyle, but Jason and I always push each other to do the things that we know are in each other’s best interest. Sometimes its doing the extra hour of studying after we have exhausted ourselves with work and school, while sometimes it may be to call in sick to work so that we can get better for a big presentation. Some of the best memories that I have with him are in the moments that took some convincing, like going cliff-jumping at the lake and taking spontaneous trips to the beach.
We do what’s beneficial in the long run, even if it isn’t easy
While we are our best selves when we are together, we both agree that it is important to do the things in life that are most important to us. Jason is an aspiring aerospace engineer, while I am attending school for chemistry. Our paths in life are completely different, and we both decided that what’s best isn’t always the easiest, like going to university hours away from each other. Sometimes, it sucks, but it forces us to grow in ways that we wouldn’t if we settled for going to the same school. We both agree that we shouldn’t have to sacrifice the things that are most important to us for each other, and we respect and honor each other’s decisions.
We grow as individuals and as a couple
One of the central goals of our relationship is to remain individuals. We entered this relationship as different people, and it is essential to us that we stay true to ourselves. While we grow and make decisions together, we rarely base our decisions upon us as a couple, but rather what we would decide as individuals. We both agree that one aspect of our lives that we are not willing to sacrifice is our unique personalities. As previously stated, we fell in love as individuals, not as a couple. We each make individual decisions, while still remaining aware of how this may affect the other.
We have our own friends
Too often, I find that we allow our new (or old) relationships to destroy our true friendships. It’s easy to pick our significant other over our friends simply because it’s comfortable. Jason and I have both mutual friends, and friends who have never met our significant other. As we are individuals, we agree we should be able to be comfortable without each other. If Jason and I broke up, I would still have someone I could talk to when times get rough, someone who I could call up just to grab a bite with, and someone who I could be myself with.
We have always respected each other
From the beginning of our relationship, Jason and I have always treated each other with respect. Jason is considerate of me when he is with me or with others, before and throughout our relationship. A defining factor in the success of our relationship is our ability to raise each other up, rather than bringing each other down. He supports me as an independent woman and helps me achieve my goals -as I do his.
Jason and I succeed as a couple because of who we are as individuals. As we continue to progress through life together, we realize that our love sprouted from who we were as unique individuals, and continue to support each other in our endeavors. We lift each other up and bring out the best in each other. Jason has shown me that true love is finding someone who will grow with you, set goals with you, and never get too comfortable in one place in your life.
Hannah Moran is an aspiring pharmacist and a semi-professional car dancer. When she’s not cramming for chemistry in the University of Arizona library, she’s either teaching color guard or binge-watching YouTube videos in her pajamas. You can find her drinking a hazelnut iced coffee or perfecting her Sirsasana yoga stance.