Her Story: I Got Married in College

I was on the subway recently when a stranger came up to me and asked “is that ring on your finger real? How old are you?” This was not the first time someone has asked me about the diamond ring on my left ring finger. They also usually ask questions about how old I am. I always answer honestly. Yes, it’s real. I’m twenty-three. And, yes, I got married my senior year of college.

I met my husband, Tyler*, when I was in kindergarten. We grew up together, but we weren’t really close. When we were in the 6th grade he asked me to our school’s Winter Wonderland Dance. I said yes and we spent the evening (which I guess was technically our first date) drinking punch, talking with friends and dancing. During the song “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” by Aerosmith he asked me to be his girlfriend in that horribly immature-but-you-think-is-mature way that is oh-so-very middle school.

We dated throughout middle school and high school. We never set out to date as long as we did — it just sort of happened. We never had a reason to break up, so why would we? We always took it one day at a time and were aware of how young we were. Other couples in middle school were saying “I love you” after a week of dating, but Tyler and I didn’t say “I love you” until we were 16. We felt, even at a young age, that we were too emotionally immature to say we had those feelings. We had lives and friends outside of each other, but, at the end of the day, he was my best friend. My dad died of a long battle with cancer when I was in 10th grade and I felt as if Tyler was the only person who I could find comfort in.

When we were 17, our futures began to be defined by college acceptance letters. I was accepted into New York University, my first choice school, while Tyler was accepted into Stanford, his first choice school. Despite our love and bond {we had said “I love you” by that point) — which was undeniably strong— neither of us could justify saying no to our first choice school, even for the person we felt to be the love of our life. We decided to stay together, but to go from spending almost every day together to living in different time zones was more difficult than either of us could have ever anticipated.

Once I moved to New York, I began to feel something I had never felt before in relation to Tyler. I felt… doubtful. And antsy. And nervous. I had never so much as held another guy’s hand and I was beginning to wonder if I would ever do that. Even more, I was beginning to want to do that. I knew that I eventually wanted to end up with Tyler and I knew that I loved him, but all of the sudden my life felt very small and planned out. I would have panic attacks in my dorm room, but avoided telling Tyler — or anyone — about my anxiety. I wish I had. I know you’re not supposed to live a life with regrets, but it’s difficult, if not impossible, for me to not regret telling Tyler how nervous the future was starting to make me.