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By Daniela Asplin

A girl drove her car along a familiar road, tracing her way back to a boy she has been apart from for too long. The anticipation built in the lonely air as she drew closer to his house. As the blurry outline of it came into her view, her heart beat faster than the song playing on the radio. He was there. Standing, excitement etched into his face as her red Prius rolled into the driveway, waiting for her as she had been waiting for him. She didn’t waste any time jumping out of the car. As they collided, he spun her up in the air, and they collapsed onto the grass together.


“We call it the runny-spinny-jumpy thing. It was just so sweet, and super innocent, and it just showed how much we cared about each other, cause we couldn’t contain it anymore. That is probably one of my favorite memories. It was super simple, and we have a very simplistic relationship,” Senior Ellie Prendes said.


While high school relationships are often thought not to last, Matt Bridgman and Prendes have proved that it is possible for a serious relationship to thrive during a time of tests and college applications. They have been dating for just over three years. When they met, Prendes was only a freshman and Bridgman was a junior in Blackout.


“When we first met, I thought she seemed quiet but really interesting. Whenever I talked to her she’d say something that would get my attention and make me think,” Bridgman said.


Prendes, on the other hand, had a different first impression of her future boyfriend.


“He corrected me in marching band, and he was blatantly wrong. I really hated him for the first four months that I knew him, because he was wrong and he was trying to tell me that he was right, so it was really funny,” Prendes said. “So I did not like him at first, but obviously now I do.”


Despite this, they began to realise the connection they had. Bridgman finally asked her out while they were enjoying a Christmas movie together. For their first official date, they had dinner at his parents house. At the beginning of the evening, he warned her not to bring up politics or her Cuban heritage, unless she wanted to hear them talk about Cuban food or her political stance for the rest of the night.


“I got there, and Matt went to the bathroom and left me there with them, and the first thing his mom brings up is politics, and his dad brought up food. He came out, and I was almost in tears, and I had no idea how to answer them, because they’re both super opinionated,” Prendes said.


This was to be the beginning of her close relationship with his family. Prendes now goes prom dress shopping with his mom, attends his family reunions, and joins them during most holiday celebrations. Not only that, but she has also been given a few family treasures.


“His mom is super in love with me, she adores me, which makes me feel really awkward inside. I do have a couple jewelry pieces that are passed down in their family, and his grandma gives me gifts for Christmas and my birthday too. His mom gave me a stone that got put into a ring, that was his great great grandma’s,” Prendes said.


Bridgman and Prendes hit it off immediately. They were different, but the good kind of different. The kind of different that complimented each other. While Prendes is a dreamer, Bridgman is more grounded. While Prendes is more creative, Bridgman is more business minded. This contrast has helped their relationship to thrive.


“We offer each other new ideas and new view points since we are so different,” Prendes said.


Since Prendes has grown so close to Bridgman and his family, it was extremely difficult when he left for college. He decided to attend the University of Notre Dame after graduation. The only downside was that it was 565 miles away. For the first time in their relationship, they wouldn’t be able to see each other in the hallways or hang out whenever they wanted. They had to learn how to make long distance work.


“It was really hard, but it definitely has helped us become more of our own person. It’s made us appreciate our relationship even more,” Prendes said.


Long distance has been difficult, but they are finding ways to make it more tolerable. The two always make sure to communicate. Prendes updates him on her day through text at lunch, and Bridgman does before dinner. Though they aren’t constantly texting, they keep in contact and call every week. When one of them has an important event, the other shows up. This communication helps keep their relationship alive.


“We try to be there for the big things, but we always make it known that we’re there for the small things from a distance as well,” Prendes said.


They both agree that maintaining a relationship takes time and dedication. It’s not always easy and it’s not always picture perfect.


“My advice would be to be patient. Nothing really happens overnight,” Bridgman said.


They aren’t the only serious couple in Elkhorn South. Juniors Tanner Black and Emily Scott met during sixth grade, and have been dating for six years as of this year.


“We were pretty young, so we were really nervous. He was able to talk to me, unlike other sixth grade boys who don’t talk to girls, so that was cool. He was very mature,” Scott said.


The couple first met in a Scheels, when both of their friend groups decided to meet up.


“We started really talking, and we got to know each other from there,” Black said.


As they continued to talk and hang out, they began to see their similarities, and how compatible they were. He asked her out a couple days after Thanksgiving.


“We both like a lot of the same stuff. We’re very similar in those aspects. We both like the same kind of music, the same type of clothes, we’re both very fashionable. We just get along really well,” Black said.


Although they share many of the same interests, they are also different from each other. This difference makes the relationship function better than it would if they were exactly alike. There is more balance, and they work well together.


“We’ve been together for so long, and we know each other so well, that it just works. We’re different, but it’s a good different. My weaknesses are his strengths,” Scott said.


They both agree that a serious relationship takes work, and though they don’t argue much, they are skilled at resolving their disagreements quickly.


“When you argue, and your relationship gets tough, the best thing to do is to not give up on it and break up. It’s easier to work through your problems with that person than to start over with someone new,” Black said.


Since they’ve known each other for so long, Scott and Black have become extremely close. They can talk to one another without any discomfort.


“He’s really funny, but he’s also different and really comfortable around me, so I get to see this side of him that no one else really gets to see, besides his family,” Scott said.


As juniors, they have also begun to talk about what the future holds for them. Black is planning on going to play baseball somewhere, but for the most part, nothing is set in stone. However, they are going to try and stay near each other.


“We talk about college, we talk about everything that comes with the next couple years, and how we’re going to deal with possibly being separated when we go to college,” Black said.


Relationships are tough, especially when the couple isn’t completely grown yet. They still have to experience adulthood. Despite the potential lack of maturity, it is possible to have a serious relationship during adolescence. It is up to the individual to decide whether or not they are ready for that commitment.


“The thing about high school relationships, is you can know you love someone, but the difference is like, is it a friendship love, or is it a romantic love?” Prendes said. “That is something I’ve come to discover in time. There is a distinction.”