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The dating landscape has never been easy to navigate, between awkward first kisses, trying to find the perfect romantic restaurant and knowing whether you should stick with your steady or just break things off. But dating today is more complicated and different than ever before. The internet has totally and completely changed the way we live, from the ways we conduct ourselves and our business to how we date. You know how your date used to pick you up at home before a big night out? Yeah, today that is not going to happen. Depending on when you went to high school, online dating may not have even been a thing back in your day.

How your chest pounded when you heard his voice on the phone? Sure, falling in love for the first time is magical; everything is exciting, new, one intoxicating rush after another.

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And while we all have a sweet spot for our high school loves, eventually - due to college, new opportunities or just plain growing up - most of say good-bye and go our separate ways. However, a small few end up holding on to their high school sweethearts, and some - like the five local couples on these pages - even tie the knot. How do you bring a high school romance into the post-high school world?

What keeps it together after graduation? What are the challenges of marrying your high school sweetheart?

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The benefits? Here, five couples reveal what it's like to be married to their high school loves. Some women may have taken the unromantic gesture as a bad omen, but Dana just laughed.

After all, the thenyear-old teacher had been dating Mitch on and off since her junior year of high school. She knew exactly what she was signing on for - motion sickness and all. The pair met through a mutual friend at the National Honor Society Induction - coincidentally on Valentine's Day - back inand they began dating shortly after. Mitch, then a senior and prominent member of the student government, pulled out all the stops and courted Dana, a junior, with coveted hall passes, essentially "get-out-of-class-free" cards.

Nov 22,   High school sweethearts that get married while still teenagers only have a 54chance of having their marriage last 10 years. High school sweethearts that wait until at least the age of 25 to get married have a 10 year success rate of 78%. Only 19of people who marry their high school sweethearts attend college. 14of couples had met in school. 4 Ways Dating in High School is a Win-Win for Teenagers. Nov 04,   I'll never forget when my good friend Oliver decided to change the focus his dating life. Like most of my something friends from high school now living in the big city, he was enjoying the Author: Howaboutwe.

The two got serious quickly: By summer, Dana was traveling to Colorado with Mitch's family - an annual trip the couple and their two boys, Noah 11 and Max 9still enjoy with Mitch's parents today. Initially Mitch was attracted to "Dana's beautiful face," and aside from those hall passes, Dana thought Mitch was "a good guy. But fate brought them back together the following fall when Dana entered her freshman year at Binghamton.

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On a campus of almost 13, students, by chance, Dana landed in Mitch's dorm, her room just one flight above his. They dated through most of college, but took one more break during Dana's senior year. While apart, Dana and Mitch both dated other people, but nobody proved significant. During his senior year at college, on a spring break trip, Mitch recalls thinking of marrying Dana for the first time. We were on a party boat dancing and having fun, but I remember thinking no one could be as good as Dana.

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I knew I was too young to get married, but I thought it was a possibility. On July 2, Mitch and Dana will celebrate their 15th wedding anniversary and their attraction has only grown over the years. He brings out the fun part of me.

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And the friendship they share has only grown over time. We enjoy the same kind of music and sports. We like to go hiking and walking together. We like to travel, cook and eat the same foods together. I think our relationship has lasted because we're such great friends," he adds.

A common downside of marrying your high school sweetheart is that you can miss out on a wider dating pool. Still, for the Liptons, the advantages seem to outweigh negatives: "Our families live in the same town," says Dana.

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And then there's the sheer authenticity that comes with being a kid. When you connect with someone it's not because someone tells you it's right or wrong, it's just you and what you like," he says. It's not unusual for a high school junior running for the prestigious post of student government treasurer to litter the halls with campaign signs that say, "Vote for me!

He plastered the hallways with signs that said things like, "My dear Aunt Sally, please tell Carol to vote for me!

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Not only did the student politician win her vote, but he won her heart, too. In fact, the two will celebrate their 48th wedding anniversary in August.

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For years, they ran in the same circle of friends and, finally, their romance officially blossomed during their junior year of high school. Their first date took place the night Jerry got his senior driver's license, and they remained a couple - going to study sessions, parties and proms - until long after graduation.

While the two kept in touch, seeing each other during monthly visits and on school breaks, they also dated other people. In the back of my mind, I always wanted to be with Jerry. The summer after their junior year, Jerry popped the question, and the couple married after graduation at the age of Though over the years the couple has changed addresses, jobs and schedules, while also juggling the responsibilities that come with raising two kids, the root of their attraction is basically the same.

He's always there to help and he's incredibly reliable.

Sep 22,   When they met: In sixth grade but started dating in 10th grade. When they married: Aug. 30, , at 21 and "I think as much as we've changed since high school Author: JACLYN PEISER.

One of my worries about marrying him was that I was sure he would be President of the United States and I didn't want to be First Lady," she laughs. Jerry was attracted to Carol's mind. She's very logical and rational. I didn't feel like I had to play games," he recalls. Carol's sound-mindedness has helped Jerry with many professional decisions throughout his career, but now there's even more to the attraction. We both like to travel.

We get great joy out of our children and grandchildren. We also give each other plenty of space to pursue our own interests," he says. Just like old attractions, old issues remain the same, too: For Carol, Jerry's work ethic can be challenging.

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Of course, such things are hardly surprising to your high school sweetheart. We were picking up streamers all night," she laughs. I would like to sit around and have a drink after, but he's ready to move on.

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He has work to do or he has this to do. Still, at least Carol knew what she was getting - an advantage that comes with marrying your high school sweetheart. Another is that you get to build a life together from the ground up.

Jerry agrees. While today many somethings take time out to travel or live on their own in the city, Jerry and Carol never did. You could say we limited ourselves because we got married at such a young age," he says. Advice for other high school couples? Date other people before tying the knot.

After all, the thenyear-old teacher had been dating Mitch on and off since her junior year of high school. She knew exactly what she was signing on for - motion sickness and all. Aug 07,   I wanted to date in high school, but all the girls had boyfriends, so that didn't work out! Going through high school without dating was the worst mistake I ever made! I went through high school without a girlfriend, so I accused of being a homosexual, and any ministry I . Oct 04,   How Dating Has Changed Since You Were in High School iStock The dating landscape has never been easy to navigate, between awkward first kisses, trying to find the perfect romantic restaurant and knowing whether you should stick with your steady or just break things off.

But just because your dreamy-eyed prom date turns into a dreamy-eyed husband doesn't mean that you're living out a fairytale. To think you'll never argue is ridiculous. Never go to bed angry, that's bologna. I've gone to bed angry many times. Still, when it comes to each other, neither Jerry nor Carol has any regrets.

Whatever life throws at us, we're in it together, says Carol. When a girlfriend breaks up with a guy in high school, it's only natural for him to take time out to mourn the loss and even massage his ego. But when Larry Kaufman's ex broke up with him during his junior year, there was no time to lick his wounds because Stacey Mechanick, a senior, was waiting in the wings.

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When the window of opportunity presented, Stacey moved in on it: She immediately asked him to her senior prom. He was a soccer player and very popular," she laughs. Stacey was attracted to Larry's "confidence and good looks. Larry agreed to go to Stacey's prom on one condition: She had to go out on a date with him first.

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And so the pair became a couple and continued dating despite the fact that Stacey was headed to Miami Dade College in Miami in the fall, and Larry to Lehigh University, in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, the following year. It was smooth sailing for a while. The couple conquered their long-distance relationship with constant phone calls and frequent weekend visits. But they broke up during Larry's sophomore year. I was at a 2-year college and I came home to be with him.

I was devastated," she remembers. Though they saw other people, Stacey says she was just "going through the motions.

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While Larry tried to keep in touch, Stacey wouldn't talk to him. Larry persisted with phone calls, then flowers, and then eventually, Stacey gave in. A year later, he proposed. They were married at the ages of 25 her and 24 him.

Today Stacey's attracted to Larry because he's an amazing father and husband. He's incredibly smart, confident and a bit stubborn. Was Oliver on to something?

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I decided to reach out to a few of these high school friends and find out. Daren was acquaintances with his wife Lauren when we were all still worried about prom dates and detention, but it wasn't until eight years after graduation that they started dated. Though Daren says the commonalities of growing up in the same town didn't spark an attraction during high school, they certainly helped once the pair got romantic.

On the other hand my friend Sarah says she had a crush on her wife, Maddy, from the minute she met her in ninth grade.

Still, she says she was glad that her crush never developed into anything more serious until they were both ready. Being in a relationship with someone who has never needed to be closeted is incredibly empowering. High school is not something that we discuss frequently, but the common knowledge and experience is always there," she says. Brian Iacovielloa assistant professor of psychiatry at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, agrees that some people will find success looking for a mate in a pool with which they are already familiar.

But should you decide to implement this dating strategy, Dr. Iacoviello urges you to keep a few things in mind.



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