Should You Follow Your High School Sweetheart to College?

Tips on how to handle your relationship during college admissions season.

Everyone remembers Cory and Topanga from “Boy Meets World“. Their relationship was the perfect picture of high school sweethearts who stuck together no matter what. When it came time to choose colleges, Topanga gave up her dream of attending Yale to follow Cory to the school of his choice. Shortly after, the two ended up happily married.

For most college students, these kinds of happy endings are rare. Following your boyfriend or girlfriend to college can have disastrous results. Here’s some advice on what you can expect when it comes to high school relationships in college.

College will change everything.

In college, transformation is inevitable. There are so many new experiences and interesting people that you’ll become a completely different person. You’ll get to try new things like buying groceries and living with a roommate, and all of the “new” you encounter will shape you into your adult self. Best of all, you’ll get a chance to have a lot of fun.

Don’t sacrifice your college experience to follow your boyfriend or girlfriend. During college, high school couples often realize they are no longer compatible. You and your significant other will mature and change in different ways. As you grow, the two of you will sometimes come to have less in common. You may feel like you missed out because you were tied to the relationship.

Distance can be a good thing.

One of the most common reasons high school couples fear attending different colleges is distance. But don’t assume attending the same school is the key to your relationship. Think about this instead: if a long-distance couple can survive the first year apart, there’s only an 8 percent chance they’ll break up in the future.

Being apart from each other can strengthen your relationship. Sure, you’ll miss each other; but the moments you do spend together will be even more meaningful and exciting. Technology has made long distance dating easier than ever. Rather than waiting weeks to see your other half, you can jump on Skype or FaceTime and talk face-to-face. An added bonus is that attending different colleges will give you two a lot to talk about.

If you’re feeling alone, remember this: 32.5 percent of college relationships are long distance.

Very few people end up marrying their high school sweetheart.

Before you pack your bags and head off to college together, you might want to think about your future. Think about the following facts if you’re set on sticking together.

In reality, only about 14 percent of couples meet their mate in school (and that includes high school, college, and grad school.) Just a small percentage of high school sweethearts end up sticking it out until marriage – and high school sweethearts have the highest divorce rate.

College is where you’ll meet hundreds of new people, and chances are at least one of those strangers will catch your eye at some point. As pointed out in our “7 Surprising College Dating Statistics” article, 63 percent of women hope to meet their husband in college. You could miss meeting other great guys and girls if you’re stuck to an old flame. Don’t limit your dating life by assuming your high school sweetheart is 100 percent the only person for you.

What will happen if you break up?

If you and your high school sweetheart choose to attend the same school, chances are you’ll spend more time with each other than anything else. Forget making new friends after class or hanging out with your dorm neighbors – it’s too tempting to stick with what’s familiar. But what happens if you break up?

If your ex attends the same college as you, it can be a lot harder to get over the break up. You’ll see each other on the quad, at parties, and maybe even in class. Worse still, you’ll hear about every move they make, from who they’ve started dating to where they are every Friday night. It may take a while for you to find new friends and distance yourself from your ex. In the end, you‘ll regret heading off to college with your sweetheart.

Quick Facts

  • Relationships tend to move faster in college; couples move quickly from the getting to know you phase to practically living together in no time thanks to the dorm environment.
  • “Dating” in college doesn’t necessarily mean dinner at a restaurant. Just grabbing a meal at the dining hall with a cute guy or girl could be considered a hot night out.
  • A fast way to recover from an on-campus break up is to join a new club. Getting outside of your typical social circle will allow you to meet new people and get away from any gossip about your ex.
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