Are childhood sweethearts a thing of the past?
Posted by: Sue Atkins
Life long teenage sweethearts are an endangered species according to findings which turns the spotlight on the differences between the generations apparently.
“Childhood Sweetheart” conjures up something magical doesn’t it as if the relationship is defying the usual scientific laws?
Think Jamie and Jools Oliver, Wayne and Colleen Rooney, Jessica Ennis and Andy Hill (long-term sweethearts who married in May).
You like me, probably remember your first love with great affection. I remember Tom, my first love, when I sat on his hand by mistake at “The Cat’s Whisker’s” in Streatham, when I was sweet 16, very fondly.
But research suggests that these relationships are becoming rarer. A study by the Co-operative and The Future Foundation, says that just one in seven of middle-aged couples have known each other since their formative years. That compares with almost a third of couples aged over 60 who got together as teenagers.
The bar-room philosopher might have several hunches about why this might be changing. People marry later today & many more young people go away to university and leave home. Personal development, getting settled in a good career and delaying having a family have all replaced settling down. More people meet online and at the office water cooler today than by just getting a crush on their best friend’s brother.
Perhaps we’re fussier. “At one time we felt we weren’t going to meet anyone different or better,” says relationships expert Judi James. “We swim in a bigger pool these days.”
Life has a whole host of wider options and there’s a menu of different dating sites & apps like never before.
Today life is about change rather than stability, James argues. “We travel more, change jobs more, we feel we should be experimental with our relationships.”
Do you think there may be perhaps a double standard quietly within us?
Do we romantically love the idea of childhood sweethearts but in real life, think “Gosh you need to get out more – we’re not living in Jane Austen’s world of Pride & Prejudice with limited options.”
Is saying you’ve been together since childhood and since school a bit like saying you still live in the same place you grew up and you’re a bit sheltered and small minded?