Big things are happening on TV Tropes! New admins, new designs, fewer ads, mobile versions, beta testing opportunities, thematic discovery engine, fun trope tools and toys, and much more - Learn how to help here and discuss here.
Itoshiki: You could even say that relationships in high school are a preview of love, for when you seriously fall in love!... I think I just said something smart. Abiru Kobushi: No, not really. Itoshiki: Oh. Yet high schoolers these days skip the preview and go straight for the real thing!... I think I really said something smart this time. — Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei
Lincoln: I don't want to exaggerate the significance of that, but we're going to be together forever. JFK: Come on, she's drunk. — Clone High
This is when a couple has started dating in high school. Some teenagers treat their relationships like the end-all and be-all of the world, and sometimes the author agrees, implying or directly showing that they marry and live Happily Ever After. Obviously, this rarely happens in Real Life nowadays, but "rarely" means it's still pretty much Truth in Television (just not dominant). Fiction writers might do this to avoid addressing the sad fact that the lovely couple making out at the end of a teen romance story would probably break up after high school in the real world, especially if one or both parties go to college.
In a Magical Girl setting, sometimes this is justified by the assertion that they fall in love Because Destiny Says So.
To some extent, this may simply be harkening back to a simpler time, as, prior to the end of World War II, a much smaller percentage of the population went to college, and those who didn't frequently married straight out of high school.
See also the Unlucky Childhood Friend, who may have thought things were going to go this way...or the Victorious Childhood Friend, who didn't bother to wait until high school.
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
Gohan and Videl in Dragon Ball Z and GT who met when Gohan attended public school for the first time. Their first non-school interaction was her chasing him down in a helicopter for having saved a busload of people in his superhero identity.
In the Kashimashi: Girl Meets Girl manga, the sweethearts are bound by the "fate-gene" and will both die when one of them stops loving the other. Add this to the fact that they are still very young andof the same gender in a fairly homophobic society and you have a situation which might complicate their future lives.
The manga perpetrated the Because Destiny Says So version of the trope with Mamoru and Usagi, but mostly averted it otherwise. (Usagi is in middle school and Mamoru is finishing highschool), but it's averted in the anime since Mamoru is already in college.
Tokyo Mew Mew. This even extended to Ichigo's parents, who themselves met in junior high.
The manga Ultra Maniac includes not one but three couples who pair up in junior high, and are still strongly together at the end of high school, suggesting a Happily Ever After for all of them.
Tiger & Bunny's first Drama CD implies that Kotetsu Kaburagi married Tomoe Amamiya, a superhero fan from his high school class who helped him come up with his eventual superhero codename. (Not only that, but she was actually thrilled to learn that he wanted to be a superhero, since she had thought he was a delinquent up until then!) Sadly, poor Tomoe was also an Ill Girl, and she passed away some years before the series started.
Implied to have been the case of Yukino's parents, Takashi and Miyako.
Jean Grey and Cyclops of the X-Men. Although the execution was a bit ... complicated.
Also to some extent Angel and Candy Southern, although they lived together without marrying.
Played with in Ultimate Spider-Man. In #13, Peter tells his best friend Mary Jane his secret, but Mary's squeals of delight lead Aunt May to a wrong conclusion as to what is going on in Peter's room. She however reminds Peter that his parents met in high school.
In Back to the Future, Lorraine states that she knew she would spend the rest of her life with George McFly after they kissed at the High School Dance. Depending which timeline you're using, this is one week or less after she met him. There may be a slight subversion, though, as in the original timeline, the marriage was less than perfect.
The main character, Marty, also has this relationship with his girlfriend, Jennifer — we see them married with two kids in Part II. Again, in this first timeline, the marriage isn't very happy.
The High School Musical trilogy has Troy and Gabriella. In the final movie they end up going to colleges 32.7 miles away from each other, so they can stay together. note Though there are other justifications for their choices: Troy wants to escape from the pressure from East High and his family, and Gabriella goes to her dream school (Stanford) so they're not throwing their futures away. .
Chad and Taylor offer a more realistic example: They date for most of the trilogy but let things comes to an end when they graduate, as Chad admits that you don't take the girl with you after high school. The other couples such as Ryan/Kelsi, Jason/Martha and Zeke/Sharpay are also shown to be more casual, and it's obvious Troy and Gabriella are the exception rather than the rule.
Brutally parodied by Not Another Teen Movie. Jake spends much of the film trying to get together with Janey. At the end, she debates whether she should go off to an art school in Paris. Jake starts to convince her not to go, then he realizes the problems with this trope:
Jake: Maybe you should get on that plane to Paris. Cause if you stay, we really only have the summer, then I go to college and we'll talk on the phone and spend the occasional weekend together which is nice. But chances are one night I'm gonna get wrecked and have unprotected sex with some girl in my dorm. You'll find her thong and call me a slut... I'll call you a cock-tease and we'll break up. So when you really think about it, what's the point?
In Se7en, Bradd Pitt and Gwyneth Paltrow are a married couple who were high school sweethearts. Morgan Freeman comments on how rare that is. It does NOT end well, sadly.
Ron and Hermione. Ginny and Harry. Angelina and George, and Neville and Hannah, though we/Harry don't see them dating.
Subverted with Percy Penelope - [[spoiler:Percy marries a woman named Audrey who wasn't in the books
Also subverted with Draco and Pansy - Draco marries classmate Daphne Greengrass' younger sister, Astoria.
Given that Hogwarts in the only school for magic-users in the UK, and British magical society has rather strong Hidden Elf Village tendencies, it's kind of inevitable that this trope would be the norm.
Bill and Fleur met when Fleur was in high school (graduating that year) and Bill was already working. It's averted with Lupin and Tonks, who got together after knowing each other while in the Order, and Luna Lovegood and Rolf Scamander, who got together later in life as wizarding naturalists. She is the only character of the main cast's age who does not marry her high-school sweetheart, or even someone known in the school: Rolf is the grandson of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them's author Newt Scamander, but he does not appear in the books.
James Potter and Lily Evans began dating when they were in seventh year and went on to get married. Sort of like Molly and Arthur, as the war was still raging.
Edward Cullen and Bella Swan from Twilight got married a few weeks after they both graduated from High School and had their baby a month after it... and it wasn't out of wedlock... Yeah, Twilight is weird like that.
Averted in Betsy-Tacy. Despite the large Crowd and multiple love affairs, very few characters end up marrying their high school sweetheart, and instead marry someone they met after graduation.
A variation occurs in The Hunger Games. Katniss and Peeta don't actually attend school after their games, but they become a couple at seventeen and spend the rest of their lives together.
Live Action TV
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Buffy's parents, Joyce and Hank, though they were actually college sweethearts. Joyce met Buffy's father at a school dance, while going stag.
Boy Meets World, which started in Elementary School. Though to be fair, Cory considered Topanga a freak back then, and he didn't really like her until about Middle School.
Later retconned into being "he always loved her, but Shawn teased him so much he assumed a 'girls are icky' persona to fit in." How much this explanation works is open to debate.
This did not work out well for Will Schuester in Glee. In fact, one might even call it a Deconstruction.
Quinn plans for her and Finn to end up like that.
This is a source of tension whenever Finn and Rachel get together. She has big plans and wants to leave town after graduation. Finn does not know whether he will want to leave with her.
Kurt and Blaine are implied to end up this way - Blaine calls Kurt the love of his life in "Dance With Somebody", and their tension comes not from wanting different things - they both want to end up in New York - but with how they will deal with their year apart since Blaine is a year behind Kurt in school.
Strongly implied to be the fate of Naomi and Emily in Skins. Averted with the earlier Tony and Michelle though, who realise that they had great times together but now they're going to different universities.
Word of God states Emily and Naomi eventually even got married.
Marshall and Lily on How I Met Your Motherbarely escape this trope (they've been together since the first day of college). However, Lily's actual high school sweetheart, Scooter, is convinced he and Lily are this trope, and fifteen years later, he's still in love with her and chasing after her, trying to cajole her into leaving Marshall. One wonders why she hasn't slapped him with a restraining order yet...
In the backstory of The Vampire Diaries Matt and Elena seemed to be destined to become this but the deaths of her parents caused her to break off the relationship. Then the Salvatore brothers showed up and Matt realized that they would never get back together. Considering the high death toll in Mystic Falls, it is likely that few of the high school couples will even survive to have a graduation.
This is lampshaded and deconstructed on Shameless (US). Lip is extremely intelligent and has a great shot at a college scholarship if he can get over his Brilliant but Lazy tendencies. His girlfriend Mandy knows that if he goes away to college, their relationship will not survive. She does not want to trap Lip in a life of poverty so she goes out of her way to motivate him to apply to colleges and even sends out applications without his knowledge.
Subverted in the early seasons of Power Rangers. Tommy ends up marrying his Second Love, Katherine with whom he did not start dating until just prior to graduation, and spent some time away from post-Turbo.
John Cougar Mellencamp's 1982 hit 'Jack and Diane' is all about this trope, and the aftermath when reality hits.
Completely deconstructed and discussed in Slick Rick's "Teenage Love". It initially starts by playing the trope straight, but after enough time passes, the relationship deteriorates badly, with the implication of the relationship becoming very one-sided. Inevitably, the couple breaks up and Rick tells the listeners "If it's not true love, you shouldn't deal with it."
For Better or for Worse had Elizabeth and Anthony, who dated for a time in high school, decided they were Better as Friends, then were eventually Strangled by the Red String so that the strip could end with a wedding. Michael took this a few steps further with Deanna: she was his first crush back in elementary, moved away, then were reunited after he witnessed her car accident.
Averted with the youngest Patterson, April: the Strip of Destiny revealed she'd moved away and had hooked up with an unnamed "country boy". Prior to this, however, the strip had teased the idea of her ending up with her childhood friend Gerald.
The Tokimeki Memorial series lives and breathes this trope, thanks to the Legend of the respective High Schools of each game, where it's said that a confession at a specific place of the school (a World Tree in the first and fourth games, a Bell Tower in the second, a slope in the third, a church in the Gender Flip game) during Graduation Day will grant the young sweethearts eternal happiness in their couple. It's thus verySerious Business for (most of) the characters in those games to find love during their 3 years of High School and get this confession at the place of legend ; some of them even joined those specific schools for having the chance of being blessed by this legend, such as Yuu Satsuki of Tokimeki Memorial 4. One of the girls from the first game, YukariKoshiki, is the fruit and living proof of the legend - her very Happily Married parents were Kirameki high students, and 20-something years ago they confessed their love under the tree.
Aaron and Amy, two of the main characters from the Dating SimAlways Remember Me, have been together for a few years, with Amy starting her first year of college. The townspeople even acknowledge them as an Official Couple.
Kyo Kusanagi and Yuki from The King of Fighters: It's not mentioned when they exactly started dating, but Kyo started the story as a highschool student and Yuki was one of his classmates. And years after Kyo dropped out of highschool (Comic-Book Time notwithstanding), XIII implies that they're still together, even if theirs is more or less a Long Distance Relationship due to obvious reasons.
In True Love Junai Monogatari, the Faceless Protagonist's parents make him live on his own (though the flat is owned by the family) in hopes to have him get a girlfriend before he graduates from high school. Out of the eight prospect girlfriends, five (Remi, Mayumi, Mikae, Ryoko and Miyuki) attend his same school, and another (Arisa) goes to a local all-girls highschool, therefore they can fill in this trope if they're pursued.
Kevin & Kell: Lindesfarne and Fenton met in high school, and are now Happily Married. They avoided the whole 'splitting up due to college' part by going to the same school. Then again, considering Lindesfarne still loved Fenton despite believing him dead for almost a year, it probably wouldn't have stopped them.
By technicality Fiona and Rudy qualify as well. They knew each other as babies, but were apparently too young to remember it, and they fought all the time anyway according to their old daycare minder, so their meeting in high school they considered their 'first' meeting.
Janet Claymont and Chadd Crossen from V4 of Survival of the Fittest. Turns out it was somewhat one sided though, as Chadd spent his dying moments forgiving Janet for cheating on him, whilst Janet spent hers regretting that she couldn't think of something more worthwhile than him.
Kim Possible and Ron Stoppable in Kim Possible. They were Best Friends since Pre-K but became an Official Couple at the Junior Prom. The second Series Finale of the show tackled the "fall in love in High School, but what about College?" issue. Ron, who applies everywhere on the off chance of getting in anywhere, stresses over the fact that it's unlikely he'll wind up at the same college as Kim, who can attend just about any school in the world. Though it isn't shown what happens, Word of God is that they'll be together forever.
On King of the Hill, Hank and Peggy, Bill and Lenore (before she crushed him in the divorce), and Dale and Nancy are this. And while Nancy does have an affair with John Redcorn for several years, its hard to understand how someone as odd as Dale got with her in the first place.
Doughy Latchkey's parents on Moral Orel are this. They still look and act like they're in high school and have find that Doughy gets in the way of this.
As with the comics, Cyclops and Jean Grey throughout the various X-Men cartoons, highlighted most obviously in X-Men: Evolution and Wolverine and the X-Men - although in the latter series their relationship was shown to be quite twisted and unhealthy.