We were high school sweethearts.
Summer 1993: The summer before my sophomore year of high school. Her father got a job in a nearby town, and her family moved to my town. She met one of my best friends in band camp over the summer, and they started dating. I was jealous.
As the fall progressed, their relationship went downhill, as the majority of high school relationships do. Early in '94, they officially broke up. After a month or so, I (extremely nervously) asked her if she'd like to attend another friend's birthday party together. She agreed.
One thing led to another and soon we were 'going steady'. We went through a couple of 'see other people' spots, where one or the other would go out on a date with someone else. Had a juvenile/high school fight or two. We'd always come back together after a week or two. By the end of our junior year, to the end of HS, were were practically inseparable. Quite disgustingly sweet.
After high school, I got a scholarship at one college, while she went off to a different college. 4 hours apart. While the reality of being apart was sad, we tried to be practical about the matter. We agreed to a mutual 'date other people' agreement, where we'd allow each other the freedom to explore and have fun. We kept in regular contact with ICQ (woot) and phone conversations. We had a great friendship.
We each had a few minor interests with others, had a few 'college experiences', and so forth. But it quickly became clear that we really just loved each other, and that we both just really wanted to be together. I had a car, and so I started visiting her at her college a couple weekends a month. She'd come see me when she could snag a ride with someone. For her sophomore year, she was forced to move to a different college - this one was now a 5 hour drive away. It didn't matter.
And that's what we did, for the rest of college. I put almost 75,000 miles on two different cars traveling to go see her in those last 3.5 years of college. Unlimited mobile-to-mobile cell-phone minutes and instant messaging (this was before twittering & facebook) kept us together. We started spending holidays together.
By our senior year of college, we and our families knew that it was pretty much a done deal that we'd get married. I proposed to her in Milwaukee, WI (she was attending UWM) in the fall of 1999. Nothing fancy, just an ok ring, on bended knee in a park overlooking Lake Michigan after a nice dinner. She of course accepted.
I already had a good job lined up by the time we graduated, so she moved back here and we got an apartment together. We got married a few months later, in the fall of 2000.
Almost 9 years later, and we're still as happy now as we were back in high school. A lot of people say that long-distance relationships don't work. We're proof that they can. And that was before the hyper-connectedness of today's internet world. In fact, we both think that the long-distance separation played a big role in forcing us to realize how much we really liked each other. It's the whole, "you don't know what you have 'till it's gone" thing. Being apart forced us to realize that we had something special and wanted that for the rest of our lives.