We met online within weeks of starting college, officially started dating that October on my 19th birthday, had sex within nine months, were engaged the following December, got married the summer after my 21st birthday. I love my life with him most days, but there are times when I reflect, feelings twinges of regret on all that I never experienced because I married young.
I regret not experiencing college through the eyes of someone single. I never went to parties or mixers. I never even set foot in any of the bars near campus. I never tried to put myself out there on the market or tried dating multiple people at once. As soon as he came into my world, I latched on tight and refused to let go. While it was nice to always have that person in my life through the all-night essay writings or the endless hours of studying for finals, I wonder if we let ourselves skip an entire phase of our lives that we needed, a time that we should have experienced. Instead, we married young.
I regret not taking time to explore my sexuality. I did some dating in high school, willingly putting my tongue into at least half a dozen guys’ mouths, making it to second base with a few, but it always stopped there. I never got the opportunity to kiss a girl, and now I probably never will. I never had sex until him, meaning I’ve never known the body of another…and I kind of hate that. While I love how we do it and all that we’ve tried, I just sometimes wonder if I turned in my card too early by locking in exclusively with him because we married young.
I regret never learning to live alone. I went from living with my parents to having roommates, to moving in with him, with nothing in between. I’ve never experienced the feeling of an empty house for days on end, or the comfort of only cleaning up after myself. I never learned how to be truly independent, because I’ve always had someone. I’m terrified of traveling alone, uncertain of how I would sleep without someone else near me. I don’t know how to budget, shop, or cook for one because I never took the opportunity to try it. I feel like this is something most of my friends have done or are still doing, but instead, we married young.
I regret never stopping to question myself. I picked my major early in high school, and never took the time to change it or try something different for fun. I pushed myself to graduate quickly, knowing it would help us financially if one person was out of school. I never thought about where I’d like to live, what specific area of my degree I wanted to pursue, or even if I was happy. Now, at 30, I find myself lost, starting a new career, causing all sorts of chaos for the life we’ve built with a lovely home and beautiful children. I think I would have discovered my problems sooner if we hadn’t married young.
I regret not having loftier aspirations. I downsized my dreams to fit the life we were building, planning for children, pets, and more. I never once put my career or myself first, because I felt I couldn’t do that and be fair to him. I never made plans of traveling or exploring the world, never having the time or means. I avoided taking chances, doing anything that might cause even the mildest disruption in the life of my spouse. I never even took the time to plan out my future beyond a few years after college, and now we feel so uninspired, drifting without a map of motivation on where to travel next. I think most people take time to do this, but again, we married young.
I do not mean to make my life sound completely negative, because it is not. There are many beautiful parts of the life I live, some very much because I married young. I can be very active with my children, and they will graduate high school before I’m 50. I never had to worry about trying to start my career and date at the same time because I’d already selected a match. Yet in my heart, I have regret, and sometimes that turns into anger or even spite. I know that the grass always looks greener on the other side, I just wish I would have looked before I took the leap and married young.