The High School Boyfriend
Understandably romantic relationships are important to us. Falling in love is a great experience, and can be very real, even at young ages. But as you become wiser, you’ll realize that it takes much more than “just love” to make a relationship work. And the very limited number of people you’re exposed to in your immediate environment prevents you from making an accurate assessment of *all the possible* matches. So, the likelihood of the high-school boyfriend being your ultimate life partner is very small.
As we grow, we change. You need a man who has the ability to grow and change and still accommodates you. The thing is, how does *he* know what he ultimately wants in a relationship, even if *you* do? Do don’t want to set yourself up to be cheated on later, or have him leave you because he meets someone else and realizes that he just didn’t “know better” when he met you.
Think of it like this: you LOVE chocolate ice cream. LOVE it, love it, love it. If anyone asked, you'd gladly proclaim that you would be happy with chocolate ice cream forever. But you’ve never tasted strawberry. So how can chocolate really be “your favorite” if you have no experience with anything different? The point, you don’t want to prematurely commit (thereby missing out on all the wonderful flavors out there. Even if chocolate ends of being your true favorite, you’ll only know this by trying other flavors).
Likewise, for the guy. You’ll want him to be sure you’re his favorite. A lifetime can be a long time to be with someone when you feel like you're mission out on other opportunities. And if your guy hasn’t tried strawberry, you’d be foolish to think that you are indeed his *favorite* when he has had no other experiences. Wouldn't you want him to be sure about you?
This doesn’t mean going out and having sex with a bunch of men. It means, opening your mind, and realizing that the first love isn’t necessarily the greatest or best love. Keeping yourself open to the possibility that, this guy just may not be the one. And, realizing that you won’t know whether he is or isn’t until you are together when you don’t have to be (when you’re not seeing each other everyday at school, for instance). You won’t know until you both have had the chance to take some time/space to see a bit of the world (even just a bit).
And even if you’re so in love that you both are sure, you should still plan for college. If you’re right, you’ll be together. If you’re wrong, you did not deviate from your life plan just to discover that you were indeed wrong. The stakes are too high right now, and you have to invest in yourself. The men will be there later. Right now, it’s all about what’s best for you, and setting yourself up for a great future. And you cannot get distracted by “love” this early in the game. There is a time for everything in life, and now is your time to focus on you!
You mustn't sacrifice your future (or even deviate from *your* future plan) for a guy at this point in your life. Focus on the guy too early (as in make life decisions, change your path) and you will regret it later as you reminisce on lost possibilities that are gone to you now. And this is if you stay together. If you don’t stay together, the regret is magnified.
If you’re meant to be together, you will be together. And this *growth* (going away to college, having honest conversations about the relationship, and possibly even time apart) will not prevent you from ultimately being together. And when you do come together after some personal growth (by both of you), it will be more likely to be longer lasting.
People are put into your life for a reason, a season, or a life time to teach you something about yourself or life that you wouldn’t have learned more effectively any other way. Take the lesson and be thankful.
In college, you should continue focusing on yourself. This may be the only time in your life as an adult that you can develop yourself without consideration for anyone else (if all goes well). You can be selfish, and make decisions based on what you want to do, and not really have to consider children, a husband, or anyone. Very liberating, this is. Don’t diminish this awesome opportunity by making decisions based on a guy.
There will be times in life, typically after you graduate college, as you’re finishing up graduate school, that your focus will shift from yourself, to finding a life partner. At this point, it isn’t unreasonable to make some decisions (about future living, schooling/training, employment) with consideration of someone you hope to build a life with. I think it’s important for this shift to take place, because taking some time to develop this aspect of your life is critical. Doing it too early is detrimental. But not doing it at all, is equally (or even more) detrimental. There is a window of great opportunity, that opens about age 25y, and doesn’t close for over a decade.
Finally, if you don't practice safer sex, and end up having a baby with this guy, you'll have a more difficult time finding a good guy later (because then you’re looking for a husband AND an instant father). A baby makes dating difficult. Makes developing yourself difficult. And building the type of life you envisioned will be more difficult. This is a common mistake, that if you can avoid, you will be better off.
In summary, realize that while your first love is significant at the time, as you grow and mature that relationship will likely become no more than a valuable life lesson. It is best to avoid altering your life trajectory based on this preliminary relationship. There's a proper time for everything in life. As a young woman, decision should be based on what's best for you. As you grow and accomplish some of the adult goals you've set for yourself, partnerships can be weighted more heavily.