It's a rare thing for high school sweethearts to stand the test of time and have successful long-term relationships. People grow and change so much as the years go by, so it's understandable that people who aren't yet adults tend to drift apart. I can tell you with absolute certainty that I am a completely different person than I was in high school. Like, yikes.
But it's nice to hear from people who got it right on the first try. One Redditor recently posed a question to those who are still with their high school sweethearts on AskReddit. They wanted to know the secret to the longevity of their relationship. And let me tell you, these answers are what it's all about.
Don't hide behind "fake words."
Pipewrecker came right out of the gate with concise but super important words of advice for any couple. You should never be "hiding behind fake words." If you have a problem, talk about it. Don't say everything is "fine" when it is definitely not. You are allowed to feel the way you are feeling, and you are entitled to express it, even if doing so will make your partner uncomfortable. That's what relationships are all about, baby!
Recognize change is inevitable
As part of a couple that's been married for 25 years, birdmommy expressed that, in order to have a long-lasting, understanding relationship, you have to "recognize that you're both going to change over time," and you have to be able to enjoy that journey together.
It's so true. People change drastically from their teens to their 20s, 20s to 30s, and beyond. You have to be flexible enough to be able to allow each other to change, but do so together.
For missfittnc, "being buddies" is one of the most important things in a relationship, and I happen to agree. You have to actually like hanging out together and doing activities together. Sure, you can (and should!) have separate interests, but your entire lifestyles shouldn't be incompatible. That's a recipe for disaster.
You also have to make sure, according to missfittnc, not to hit "below belt" when arguing. This is some good advice right here.
"Communication is key" isn't just a cliche.
It seems obvious, but it's worth saying I don't know, a million times... Communication is the most important thing in a relationship. Kiibiscuit agrees. Bottling up your feelings and letting them fester is a great way to build and harden resentment that gets really hard to chip away the more time you don't address it. Having a healthy relationship is like maintaining your cast-iron skillet. You have to knock away all the crud and keep it well-oiled and shiny, and it will last you a lifetime.
Keep some things for just you.
There's a lot of good advice in adalab's response, including "they are the only family you ever get to pick and you picked them, not some version of them you hope they could be." Amen to that. They also recommend letting your partner have their own hobbies that don't have to include you. Even going on separate vacations is good for a relationship. You need some alone time every once in a while.
Remember, a relationship is made of two whole people, not two half-people.Separate hobbies seems to be key for a lot of people in relationships. In my own, my fiancé loves to write and play music, and I love doing pottery and reading books. We are supportive of each other's hobbies, but they are also entirely our own thing. Kitchens_Witchens_28 adds that it is super important to learn how to argue productively, which is so true. The goal in a relationship shouldn't be "no arguments." That's unhealthy. You have to argue, but learn to do it in a way that's constructive.
Learn how to argue.
Separate hobbies seems to be key for a lot of people in relationships. In my own, my fiancé loves to write and play music, and I love doing pottery and reading books. We are supportive of each other's hobbies, but they are also entirely our own thing. Kitchens_Witchens_28 adds that it is super important to learn how to argue productively, which is so true. The goal in a relationship shouldn't be "no arguments." That's unhealthy. You have to argue, but learn to do it in a way that's constructive.
It isn't 50-50 — it's 100 percent.
Magdog65 not only has a great handle but a great list of important pieces of advice as well. First up: "We don't tell lies. Ever." I mean, yeah. This should be a given. You saw how well it worked out for Pinocchio.
Second: "We have a date night three times a month. No phones or electronics." I love this! You can get so busy, and no, coming home from work, shedding your pants, and binge-watching Netflix together doesn't count as a date.
And third: "It isn't 50 / 50. It's 100 percent always." Love that.
General compatibility is a huge factor.
Practically, Magnous brings up, there should be a base level of compatibility in any relationship. Generally, it helps to be on the same page about religion, politics, and other big ticket items. Specifically, they mention, if you basically agree about how to handle money, that is huge, as financial issues are one of the biggest causes of problems in relationships. Of course this stuff can change and evolve over time, so keep talking about it!
Recognize that relationships are give and take.
I really love HoustonJack's response to this question because it's so definitive. They've been married to their partner for 40 years, so they know what they are talking about when they say, "Separate TVs, toilets, and closets are all necessary." I love it. I don't know how realistic that is for many couples, but I bet it does help. I also like this tidbit: "Marriage isn't 50-50, it's more like 80-20, but it slides back and forth who is giving and who is getting."
Schedule lots of one-on-one time, whether you have kids or not.
Hiphopanonymousy has been married to her partner for 23 years and they have three kids. But whether you have kids or not, her advice is great. Take a "childless vacation once a year" to help "reconnect and really enjoy each other."
Whether you have kids or not, going about your daily life is exhausting and full of nonsense. You and your partner deserve to have time where the focus is 100 percent on each other.
Be on the same team.
Argleblather thinks it's extremely important to be on the same team as your partner, and I love this advice. "Big stuff is about what's best for our team. Little stuff is what's going to make my teammate happy."
That's a great way to think about it. The other huge thing: Make each other laugh. If you're not making each other double over in pain from laughing so hard, what are you even doing?
Eliminate small disputes wherever you can.
Raise your hand if you fight with your partner about the covers on the bed. Yeah, I thought so. We all do! I don't know what happens in the middle of the night, but my fiancé always messes up the covers, and I get so annoyed. How hard is it to keep the blanket in the right position?
Perhaps we should take ColonialSpore up on their advice: "Separate duvets on the same bed!!!" The three exclamation points feels really necessary here.
Do nice things for each other.
Success in relationships is all about letting go of pride for finessemyguest. Also, do nice things for your partner! You love them, right? Then buy them flowers or their favorite candy, or do a load of their laundry without them asking.
And, finessemyguest clarifies, don't just do nice things when you're "in the dog house." Do them all the time, even when things are great. And for goodness' sake, don't keep score. It'll ruin you.
Forget "don't go to bed angry."
You so often hear the "don't ever go to bed angry with each other" line when reading relationship advice. And while that can be helpful for some people in some situations, Downer_Guy isn't about that.
"Sometimes problems are complicated and take time to work out. Keep an open line of dialog. Sometimes a good night's sleep makes you just feel a lot better; let them know that in the morning." Yes to this a thousand times.
Say thank you.
ViciuosFly_79 rounds it out with a really good list that includes not bad-mouthing your partner to others, trying new things together, celebrating your partner's wins, and being grateful for the things you do for each other.
This last one may sound silly, but it's not. I've been with my partner for six years, and we still thank each other out loud to each other's faces when one of us does the dishes. It's a tiny gesture, but it's a meaningful one.