*Names have been changed for privacy purposes.
My boyfriend, *Asher, and I met through *Jacob, a close mutual friend who happened to be my family friend since birth and Asher’s best friend. Over the years, Asher and I had seen each other at soccer games, track meets, through video chats with Jacob and we even sat at the same table at Jacob’s Bar Mitzvah. However, we never really knew each other as anyone other than “Jacob’s friend.”
As the years went by and high school came, I had made my group of friends while Asher had his. We didn’t really know each other freshman year, but maybe saw each other occasionally while hanging out with a few mutual friends.
Sophomore year arrived and the friends I had made freshman year turned out not to be the friends I had hoped. I became emotionally scarred and wounded as I saw my relationships crumble and my social life fall apart. I felt scared and alone so I began to get close with Jacob and his group of friends, which contained Asher.
I began to have the time of my life with my new friends — all guys — and I felt like a changed person. I finally found some good old drama-free socialization. Meanwhile, Asher and I started to sit together during our history class and it helped strengthen my new friendship with him. Almost as immediately as I had become friends with Asher and his peers, I developed strong feelings for him.
Pretty quickly everybody found out I had feelings for Asher. Even Asher knew, however he didn’t feel the same quite yet. Things became complicated when one of the guys, *Derek, developed feelings for me. I had gotten quite close with Derek, as I was helping him get through a dark period of his life. However, I didn’t see him as anything more than a friend. Eventually, everyone found out that Derek liked me so a gloriously hideous love triangle had been formed and put out in the open.
When Asher eventually started to consider me as girlfriend material (I had no idea about this), he stepped back and didn’t do anything because he didn’t want to wreck his friendship with Derek. To add even more complications, over the course of sophomore year I had made two new friends — both girls — and unrequited feelings developed between other guys in the group and those two girls. Things became even worse when Derek asked me out at my 16th birthday party and I declined, upset that he chose to do it on my birthday while he knew I liked Asher.
When junior year came, Asher had a family tragedy occur. I didn’t care if he’d never date me — more than a year of liking him had passed and I had accepted the fact that we would never be more than friends. All I wanted to do was be there for him as a friend he could come to. Despite this, after a few months passed, one of the guys came to me explaining that Asher was interested in me. That surprised me tremendously and soon we became a couple.
However, the beginning of our relationship led to a series of not-so-fun events. Derek was upset and stopped hanging out with the group and his behavior toward me made me feel genuinely uncomfortable. Then there was *Hunter. When I was alone or with either of the girls, Hunter would say horrible things to me. He would accuse me of manipulating Asher into a relationship, say that I was not welcome to hang out with the group anymore and criticize anything about me that he could think of. Hunter was most likely upset because he had liked one of the girls, but she had rejected him. Then, the other of the two girls started to date another boy in the group, who eventually mistreated her to the point where something had to be done.
Senior year went by and my girls and I stuck together. As a result of everything that had happened junior year, we dropped the majority of the guys out of our lives completely. Asher knew I disliked his friends, but he was courteous enough to not be upset about it, to listen to my feelings without critiquing and to treat me well whether we were alone or in proximity of his group.
In December of senior year, the unimaginable happened. Asher and I were both accepted into our dream school, which happened to be Northwestern University. We both had our own dreams and knew we had to fulfill them regardless of what could happen to our relationship. Thus, we hadn’t chosen Northwestern in order to stay together; it was a coincidence that had just happened for different reasons. I was majoring in journalism and Northwestern had a highly ranked journalism school. Asher was a double legacy and being a great school, Northwestern was naturally his first choice. However, we definitely never considered the possibility that both of us would be attending.
Asher and I continue to help each other through both the good and the bad. We complement each other perfectly. When unfavorable events occur, I tend to get stressed easily which sparks my strong temper and he is very good at staying relaxed, which then relaxes me. He moves past arguments at lightning speed, not even allowing me to give in to my bad habit of forming grudges. I’m very organized and on top of things, while he is more relaxed in that matter so I help him stay on track on a day to day basis. We can spend hours on a couch under blankets and talking or go out and have fun sharing adventures together. Bottom line, we always have a blast when we’re with each other and I could not ask for a better relationship. Even after an entire year and seven months, we have had no major complications.
People say we should break up before college in order to have a fresh start. While I understand what these people are saying, it’s a bit more complicated than that. Most high school couples end up thousands of miles apart and long distance is difficult to keep up. However, Asher and I will be five minutes away from each other so things are different. There are so many benefits of staying together, which definitely outweigh the negatives. For one, we were friends for a while before we started dating, which has enormously increased the strength of our relationship. Additionally, for example, if Asher struggles to make friends, I can introduce him to people I have met. If we need a ride back home from school, we can travel together. If we need someone trustworthy to talk to, again, we’re five minutes away. I don’t want to throw away what Asher and I have just because the ordinary thing to do before college is part ways with your high school significant other. If something breaks us apart in the future, then what happens, happens. However, I am a firm believer in our relationship and I have no doubt that starting the next journey of our lives together is the most exciting thing that could ever happen.
Lead Image Credit: Thomas Leuthard