my parents met in tenth grade, in 1968. my mother was a do-gooder smart kid with a rebel streak; my daddy was an underachieving smart-aleck more interested in his music than being part of the mainstream. (he only participated in his high-school graduation because his grandfather asked him to.) though they had ups and downs, breakups and reunions, throughout their relationship, they were loyal to each other until her mental illnesses got to be too much for both of them.
i used to think that there was no way that you should ever settle down with someone you dated in high school. 'course, i settled down with the boy i met the first day of college, and well, you know how well that worked out. i basically made myself a hypocrite of the first order there, but i also kinda proved my rule. you don't know anywhere near enough about yourself when you're seventeen years old to have any idea what you're going to need when you're twenty-seven. god knows, i thought, i'm living proof of that.
but then something hit me today as i was playing around on facebook. i've had quite a few friends who've married and divorced since high school, just like me. some of them are on to second relationships, and a couple are on to second marriages. and a very significant number of these people have gone on to date and marry people they knew and cared about in high school. i'm one of them. i met the man in tenth grade, in 1996. i was a do-gooder smart girl; he was a slightly underachieving smart-aleck more interested in his computers and his politics than being part of the mainstream. hmm.
maybe there's a little something more to this whole initial instinct thing than i once thought. i mean, lord knows it's not a hard and fast rule. i'm learning quickly that there is absolutely no such thing as a hard and fast dating rule. anyone who tells you otherwise is selling something, and something that will do nothing good for you. but there's an immeasurable comfort in having someone near you who knows you so thoroughly, so completely, that there aren't any surprises. you don't have to work as hard, be something or someone you're not. all i have to do is love him.
so the whole high-school sweetheart thing, maybe all it needs is a little revision. go out, see the world, learn yourself... and then, at the end of the day, you just might find what you needed in the first place you thought to look. i know i did.