I’m Still with My High School Sweetheart

Three years, an hour’s separation, two schools and a handful of life lessons later, and it’s completely worth it.

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Three years, an hour’s separation, two schools and a handful of life lessons later, and it’s completely worth it.

I’m Still with My High School Sweetheart

Be Drake in a World of Lil’ Waynes

Three years, an hour distance, two schools and a handful of life lessons, and it’s completely worth it.

By Mattie Winowitch, Waynesburg University


As the wise prophet Lil’ Wayne once said, “They say love is in the air, so I hold my breath ‘til my face turns purple.” Remind me to sew those lyrics onto an embroidery hoop.

After Valentine’s Day came and went, a lot of single ladies and guys felt the same as Wayne. Love is a social construct. Love sucks. Love is for people who don’t like themselves. As for me? I don’t think that way anymore. Actually, I feel the exact opposite.

I met Mike when I was in high school. We became friends after taking a few classes together, and we eventually started hanging out beyond the school walls. Ba-da-bing, ba-da-boom. Love Town, USA.

After three years of being together, a lot has changed since those first days of talking. He graduated, and then I did a year later. He owns a shop at home, but I left town for school. Sure, it’s only an hour distance, and some people drive greater lengths to get Chipotle, but it’s hard to see everyone else being lovey-dovey with their college sweethearts, while my high school sweetheart is at home.

Life has such a funny way of doing things. After my first breakup, I saw young love as a waste of time. Why would I spend years on someone who wouldn’t be my forever? Why would I do that? Why would anyone do that? I walked down the halls of my high school, sneering at people holding hands. I quickly scrolled past the, “I can’t wait to see where the future takes us!” posts. Plain and simple, I was Lil’ Wayne.

Shortly after getting my entire frame of reference flipped by Mike, though, I became Drake, which is why I’m here today saying that love is NOT a bad thing. Long-term love is not a bad thing. Long-distance love is not a bad thing.

There’s no such thing as bad love, only bad people.

Most college-aged students make assumptions that people who come into college while dating someone from back home are either total losers, annoying as hell, destined for failure or all of the above (Pro-tip: When in doubt, it’s always “All of the above”).

Unlike people who believe that every person they can hold a five-minute texting conversation with is their soulmate, I went into college with realism goggles. Mike and I both knew what was going to happen. We were either going to make it out of the next four years with minor bruises, or we were going to split up.

If he met a cute girl that checked all his boxes while I was away, well, I wouldn’t be there to stop him. And if I ended up having chemistry with the guy sitting next to me in Chem 101? Same rule applies.

The key to having a long-term/semi-long-distance relationship in the high school to college years is that you can’t hold each other back from fate. It would be wrong of Mike and I to keep each other from that. We met when we were young in a very small town, and the chances of our relationship actually lasting were slim, so why would we try to fit ourselves into these small boxes when a world of possibilities was out there?

By no means was this an invitation for either of us to cheat. We respect each other too much to do that. Instead, it would be a fair agreement of, “Hey! What we had was really great, but I happened to stumble upon someone who better meets my needs at this stage in life.” It’s really the only way for a relationship, during the high school-to-college transition years, to work. Again, it’s not about finding someone better, but it’s the idea of fate leading you down another path. Mike and I are receptive to the ways of God and the universe. You can’t stand in the way of fate. That’s how people get hurt.

So, we made that promise to each other the summer before we split ways, and if we were meant to be together after these four years of meeting tons of new people, we’d stay together. I’m 50 days away from finishing my sophomore year, and Mike and I are still happily together. So far, I haven’t met anyone who checks my boxes quite like him, which leads me to my next point. There really is someone for everyone.

I’m Still with my High School Sweetheart
image via pexels

You can’t compare your love life to those around you. I happened to find someone I liked in my hometown, but just because you didn’t, it doesn’t make your love life a failure. Love isn’t something that can be compared.

I like the idea of Mike and I having some next-level intimate connection, different from the billions of other relationships out there, but in reality, I know that isn’t how it works. Here’s some advice for love-skeptics or people who think they’re going to be alone forever.

Like the Bible says, “Love is patient, love is kind.” In order to get that sweet and patient love, you’re going to have to display a little patience yourself. You can’t expect love to fall into your lap like it does in the movies. You must go out and talk to people. If you’re introverted, you should make the effort to talk to someone online, and trust me, you’ll have to go on a lot of awful dates before you can find someone you can actually tolerate.

On the same token, you have to be willing to try new things. Being shallow can only hurt you. I’m not saying you can’t have standards, but it might have to be a little give-and-take at first. You can’t really decide what you do or don’t like until you try it out. If you keep waiting for Mr. or Ms. Perfect to come along, you’ll only end up disappointed.

Finally, you have to learn to love yourself. I’ve heard girls and guys alike say that confidence (not to be confused with cockiness) is sexy. If you don’t love yourself and know exactly what you deserve, you’ll never be happy. Don’t let the lovers get you down. Go treat yourself to some discounted V-Day chocolate, and take away the pressure of not having a date. Never forget, there’s no shame in being Drake.

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