Our Love Story: Graduation and College

It wasn’t until February that we finally danced together, to songs by Journey and Loverboy and Chicago. It felt natural to be together by then.

We weren’t surprised at all that when prom rolled around we were still together. We had an easy familiarity with each other, and in our heads we felt like a couple.

Thinking about upcoming college expenses, I sensibly borrowed a dress from a friend for the valentine’s dance, and wore last year’s dress for Prom. My prom dress was new to John, and that’s all I remember caring about.

Our relationship felt like an island. People swirled around us, breaking up and getting back together and repeating. There we were on our island, sitting together every lunch, cheering at pep assemblies together, spending every non-school moment together that we possibly could. We had what we’d both been wanting for years. There was a welcome certainty about our relationship, a sense of permanence.

My folks were quietly pleased with our relationship. My dad liked the way John looked him in the eye and shook his hand and treated me with respect. My mom told me later that she had a sense of peace about John from the start. She could see he was the real deal, a person to depend on, and after the ups and downs of my past relationships, she was happy for me, plain and simple.

John’s parents liked me too, but they were concerned about the seriousness of our relationship. They thought it would be better if we waited to get serious until we both had some college under our belts. John’s dad had a long talk with him, trying to coax him to go to college at his alma mater, the University of Idaho, most of a day’s drive away from the college I’d chosen. I was devastated, unable to imagine college life with John living many hours away. What would I do if could only see him every few weeks? And doubt nagged away as well. What if he met some other girl?

I didn’t feel like I could change my plans, as my college had the nursing program that I needed for my plans, and the other college didn’t. But John had a huge respect for his father, and felt his pressuring intensely. He wanted to do what was right, and he wanted his dad to be happy with him. John spent several days seriously considering his dad’s request, badgered also on my side by my tears and incredulous disbelief that he would even consider going to school away from me.

In the end he went with his heart. Life just wouldn’t feel worthwhile if we had to live apart. To his dad’s dismay he applied at the local college along with me. It remained to be seen if we could juggle school, work, and our relationship. We were sure we could do it all. John’s folks hoped we were right.

That fall we lived in the same dorm, John on the guys’ side and me over on the girls’ floor. It must have been hard for our parents and siblings when we moved out. But we were so intensely focused on ourselves and what we wanted to accomplish that we barely thought about the family we left behind. Half an hour from home, we went home for weekends only occasionally.

John was soon feeling weighted down by the various assignments from various classes. He knew his dad was watching to see if he could do this, and he wanted intensely to do well. He started slipping away from me, always studying. I found my classes to be fairly easy,and was less of a perfectionist than John. I’d roar through my work and be ready to play, then get frustrated to realize that John was still methodically plowing through his assignments.

Even when we were together John was grumpy and distracted, always feeling like he should be studying. In the first 8 months of our relationship, I’d been the center of his universe. But college had horned in and within weeks I was feeling neglected and unappreciated.

Distressed by the change I was seeing in John, and failing whenever I attempted to tell him how I was feeling, I started confiding in a guy friend.  Big mistake there.  He tried to play relationship counselor, and he honestly cared about both of us. Problem was, he was interested in me as well. His understanding friendship and open appreciation for me was balm to my wounded heart. But it was a recipe for relationship disaster for John and me.


John’s Story is already up. Do you have another installment of your own love story? Leave a link in comments, below.


  1. Here’s mine.

    so this is goodbye

  2. I’m enjoying everyone’s posts! So many great love stories.Mary, I love what you wrote about how we all have troubles in our relationships but love is “pulling us forward into a place of hope”.

    This is my first post-I’m a little late in joining the fun, but here’s my first installment.

  3. I am going to have to post mine later tonight or tomorrow morning. One of my children fell this weekend at soccer and broke his arm in two places. We’re still recovering from that.

    Loving your story though!

  4. You two look SO CUTE in that prom picture. AWWW!

  5. It’s so fun seeing these pics! Your older teenagers look a lot like you both did back then.
    I’m not worried either, by this other guy. I just know the two of you are going to end up together 😉

  6. It’s a good thing I know how this relationship ends up. The suspense, the drama. Totally enjoying it.

  7. The sixth installment of mine is up!

    Love that first picture of you! I had a similar dress that I wore at my graduation party.


  8. You two are so cute in that first pic! I finally got mine up!


  9. I love the prom picture! It’s adorable!

    Here’s my 5th installment

  10. I’ve been enjoying everyone’s love stories so much! I’m just now joining in, here’s Part one of three:

  11. Mary, you two look so right together, even in the beginning!

  12. Love hearing about your journey! Here’s my next one..

  13. The drama is so good, can’t wait to see how it happens. Funny thing is though, I know you end up togther but I am sat here thinking ‘OMG do they make it?’ Funny how you get sucked into the story and forget the ending!
    Catch me here…… http://benalex.blogspot.com/2008/10/love-stories-part-3.html

  14. finally, finally, finally up… Love the pics of you two and what a juicy story… ~Heather


  15. The pictures are fun! Glad I already know the ending. 🙂
    I started working on our story at the first of the year. But here’s chapter 8 – posted today!
    Love the stories. God is so good.


  16. My husband and I had a similar problem while dating in college. My courses didn’t require the same amount of time and dedication that his did, which led to me being frustrated when we couldn’t spend enough time together.

  17. this is so fun. great story.

  18. You guys are so stinkin’ cute! I’m glad to know the story ends happily, but I can’t help but feel a little anxious at this ending!


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