University of Texas at Austin '16
There probably isn't a trustworthy person in the world who won't say that at some point, high school sucked. There's the drama, the same people, learning how to function as an individual and, for many people, a chaotic dating scene.
Since you see the same people day after day, sometimes you manage to find the one person who doesn't make each day feel monotonous. All the butterflies in fairy land don't compare to how important and amazing that other person is to you.
And then college applications roll around senior year. It's an inevitable conversation for high school couples. Stay together during college even if it's long distance?
Break up before going to different schools? Break up now so you don't have any leftover feelings or nasty attachment issues for when you leave? Every couple and every relationship is different, and some couples decide that they can make it through college together.
Unfortunately, not every couple is made to last for the rest of eternity, no matter how important it feels at the time. That's just life. Going to college will change you whether you realize it or not. Your goals change, your ambitions flourish or die, you hang out with different friends than in high school. Your priorities will manifest.
Your old high school friends ask how your SO is doing. While you're a couple, it's almost a point of pride-you're doing well, still together, still happy. Those friends are happy that it's working out. Awesome.
The (almost) inevitable freshman year breakup ensues, and there's that gradual process of telling those old friends.
Friend: "You're still with So-And-So, right? How are they?"
You: "Yeah...we broke up a while ago..."
Friend: "Oh...I'm sorry. Well, we all knew you could do sooooo much better!"
And there it is.
"We always knew you could do better."
It comes from a good place. You get that. But geeze, way to make you feel like all that time, money, and effort to make things work for all that time was for shit.
Having a healthy and committed relationship for whatever amount of time is a learning experience for both parties. You learn what it is they really need in a relationship, what you can put up with, what you are willing to compromise, and so many other little things about yourself as a partner.
Having all that time thrown back in your face with good intentions still sucks.
"We kinda knew something was going to happen eventually..."
Wow. Thanks. So you thought the relationship was just a ticking time bomb? Gee, what a pal. From the outside many parts of a relationship can seem just fine, but a friend might have seen some warning signs: irritation, wandering eyes, boredom. Whatever it was, they saw it and didn't say anything.
"It's not like you were going to marry them or anything"
Like any hard breakup, there is going to be a period where everything is a reminder of a whole other part of life that doesn't exist anymore. Maybe they did see a long-term future together, maybe one of them was flirting with the idea of a real proposal--who's to say? Not you, my friend.
Brushing away the commitment that was there can feel as painful as whatever conversation was had at the time of implosion. Or explosion. Every natural disaster is a little different.
What makes the high school sweetheart turned college SO thing different is that there was a clear decision made to stay together even if it was long-distance or with different career paths in mind. Most people don't go into long distance lightly because it's hard as shit. So don't throw that commitment back in their face by saying that they had no future.
So, if you have a friend going through a breakup with their high school love, try to avoid immediately ex-bashing until the newly single friend reaches the anger phase of grieving.
Everyone talks about how to help relationships work, warning signs, how to avoid toxic people, all the things that come before any sort of breakup. This is for the aftermath. Make sure they eat and get out of the apartment. Let them cry, take a shower, but don't say anything that makes that time of their life into a trivial mistake.