My almost-seventeen-year-old son and his girlfriend are just finishing
their sophomore year of high school, have been "in love" since meeting
2-1/2 years ago, and seem to have a genuinely caring relationship.
They do not talk about getting married, but also seem determined to
not break up any time soon.
By the time I was his age, I was on boyfriend number 5, and the notion
of being "in love" with any of them was the farthest thing from my
mind, so I'm having a hard time relating to this situation.
We've discussed the typical U.S. teenage dating experience, and the
statistical improbability of someone marrying their first love,
especially when they met in 8th grade, and have even touched on the
difficulties that might befall a couple that married without playing
the field at least a little. In fact, girlfriend's father married
*his* high school sweetheart at age 19, and they were divorced before
he turned 21.
While I simply "know" from experience that most people do not marry
their high school sweethearts, I also know of several notable and
successful exceptions, so I accept that there is indeed a possibility
that this girl will end up my daughter-in-law (she is delightful, so
my concern is not related to her in particular). My instincts also
tell me that such a marriage would be likely to fail, given the huge
life changes that face them as
individuals in the next ten years, even if they marry after college.
My husband's instincts tell him that life events in the next two years
will likely lead to a break-up, or at least events in the first year
or two after high school, and so marriage between these two is not an
issue we need to think about.
So now I'm curious...
What statistics are available on the incidence of marriages in the
United States between high school sweethearts? How about on the
eventual outcome of these marriages? Do they fail at a higher rate
than marriages between
people who meet as adults, or are they more successful, or is there no
Thanks in advance for any statistics you can find...am not
interested in anecdotal evidence as an answer, though it might be
entertaining in the comments section : )
Request for Question Clarification by
10 Jun 2003 01:00 PDT
According to one web site, less than 2% of high school sweethearts end
up getting married and not divorcing. However, the web site cites no
source for that statistic.
However, there are good statistics available on the relationship
between marital failure and the bride's age. Although it's a pretty
safe bet that many of the women who marry at ages 18, 19, 20, etc.,
are indeed marrying "high school sweethearts," some are undoubtedly
marrying men who were not their "high school sweethearts" per se.
Nonetheless, statistics on failure rates for "youthful marriage" would
seem to be directly relevant to your question and might be the closest
thing possible to an answer here. Would such information be acceptable
as an answer?
Clarification of Question by
10 Jun 2003 07:27 PDT
Hmmmmm...I think the variable that interests me most about this
situation is number of relationships experienced before electing to
marry, not so much the age at marriage, even though, as you say, it's
likely that those marrying young are marrying their first love.
If these two do marry, I'd expect it to be after college (girlfriend
is academically ambitious), so I guess I'm really only interested in
the likelihood of a relationship that started in 8th grade lasting 8
years, and information on marriages between people who've had no other
Clarification of Question by
10 Jun 2003 07:59 PDT
Further clarification: I don't mean "information on marriages between
people who've had no other serious relationships"...I wouldn't say
that any of those relationships I had with boyfriends were "serious."
I think what I mean is "no other relationships" period!
My son hasn't gone to a movie, party, walk in the park, dance, or
anything with anyone but this . That's what I'm trying to wrap my
mind around, and why I'd like to know if anyone has studied the
longevity of relationships begun in middle school, and/or longevity of
marriages between people who married their first boyfriend/girlfriend.
Thanks for the opportunity to think this through a little more! I see
now that finding this specific information may be a long shot, but
appreciate your contribution so far. Yreka