Ellie Shaw found herself in a secret relationship with a senior in high school when she was only in eighth grade.
“I remember that I was trying out for the school musical and I was partnered with this really short guy to go over lines with,” Shaw, a freshman studying education, said. “I didn’t think he was that much older than I was, but he was super nice to me at a time when a lot of people would pick on me.”
That boy took Shaw home from rehearsals and asked her out one night. She then found out he was a senior and needed to keep their relationship a secret because it would look bad dating someone in middle school, Shaw said.
“I was fine with keeping it a secret because I was so over the moon for him,” Shaw said.
Many people have had to deal with living under their parents’ rules throughout high school, causing some to want to hide things from their parents, including relationships.
Shaw and her boyfriend were able to hang out outside of school because he had a younger sister the same age as Shaw who would cover for them when Shaw’s parents would ask who she was going to hang out with.
“After he graduated, we broke up but then almost immediately got back together,” Shaw said. “But this time had to be super secretive because he was in college, and he didn’t want his college buddies knowing he was dating a freshman in high school.”
Shaw ended up breaking it off over a couple of big disagreements, only to have him asking for her back a few months later. Shaw’s dad finally told him to back off, and she hasn’t heard from him since.
Gabrielle Cognata, a freshman studying computer science, was also able to keep a relationship from her parents for almost a year.
Cognata met her first secret boyfriend through online gaming and eventually became best friends.
“After messaging for a while, we started Skyping to the point where crushes developed,” Cognata said. “We actually found out we both lived in Ohio and only three hours away, so that was pretty cool.”
Cognata’s parents were big on not talking to strangers online, so they wouldn’t have been happy if they found out their daughter was dating a boy she had never spoken to face-to-face.
“It was probably the best relationship I ever had,” Cognata said. “He would always be there for me if I was down and know exactly what to say.”
Cognata’s dad shared with her that he had found her Skype password. Despite never confronting Cognata about it, things just got too awkward around the house and she had to end it.
Kylie Witters, a freshman studying integrated language arts, experienced her first secret relationship when she was a freshman and her boyfriend was a senior. Witters was home-schooled during that time and had conservative parents who didn’t allow her to date.
“Despite being home-schooled, I was friends with this guy that my parents would let me ‘hang out’ with as long as there were parents in the room,” Witters said.
Sometimes they would be allowed to hang out in his room, but they never left the house, Witters said. The relationship didn’t last long because she never knew what he did outside of the few times they got to hang out, so she ended it.
Witters’ second secret relationship came the following year when she attended her first public school as a sophomore in high school.
“This next guy I dated was a senior and captain of the soccer team, so I thought I was really cool dating him,” Witters said. “He lived right outside the football field, so on Friday nights, instead of going to the game, I’d just go to his house.”
Coming to college, the secrecy people keep in hiding their relationships has definitely decreased, Witters said.
“I’ve definitely grown out of keeping relationships from my parents, at least my mom,” Witters said. “She knows I’m in college and can make my own decisions.”