After ending my 3rd “serious” relationship in 4 years, I began to ask myself, why is it that when we’re in our 20’s we are somehow programmed to think we need to be looking towards marriage, kids, or at the very least, a serious commitment and settling with another person?
Why do we begin panicking and assuming there is something wrong with us, if we are 24 years old, still single and completely happy that way? I am the first to admit that when I’m single, I feel as though I am missing out on something, which drives me into accepting that an “okay” relationship will do, because at least I’m with someone. That type of thinking typically backfires and ends up in an ugly breakup and a gallon of ice cream (we’ve all been there). I watch friends, family and neighbors fall in love, get married and have babies. I think to myself, “wow they make it look so easy.” However, in reality, dating is incredibly difficult. There’s always the many questions of, are they my type? What should I wear? Do they like Chinese food? Should I order a salad for dinner or what I really want which is a big juicy steak? Dating is at the very least, a stressful ordeal. Once we get past the awkwardness of getting to know someone, then there’s the question of, do I even like who this person is now that I know them?
We all know one of those rare couples that seem to fit perfectly and make us, single and living with 2 cats people, want to hurl, with their numerous “You complete me” Facebook posts and text messages that never seem to end. From the outside, it looks great, but is their life really as perfect as they make it seem? My guess would be no.
Each time I find myself in a new relationship and it’s going well for the first few months, I make the mistake of thinking “oh, this is the one this time, I just know it.” That’s about the same time that they begin doing something that drives me over the edge and changes my perspective on our relationship (if he slurps his cereal one more time I am going to lose it). Each time this happens, and once again the relationship is on the downhill slope, I wonder to myself, “why do people put themselves through this and what’s wrong with me?” People like to say, “no one’s perfect” and “everyone fights.” While that may be true, but I can’t help but wonder what underlying reason is there to force two people together and just “deal with” the fighting and the disagreements. I also wonder if I am just being too picky and judgmental. However, if we’re planning to spend our life with this person, then, shouldn’t we be allowed to be picky?
Today, it is clear that no woman “needs” a man in order to survive. The days of, the woman stays home to raise babies while the man brings home the bacon are long gone. So why do people force themselves to stay in these relationships?
My answer would be, because it’s comfortable. The idea that “well we fight a lot but at least we have 2 incomes” is not a satisfying enough answer for me. Why waste time on someone unless they absolutely make your life happier and a small disagreement, (and they should be small) that you have, is not going to be a deal breaker. I know that some people were lucky enough to find this type of love but it seems that those types of relationships are few and far between. Many people like to portray the image of being in a loving and perfect relationship and the truth is, they are only kidding themselves and trying to convince the world that they are completely happy. The worst part about it, is they seem to be the couples who fight the most.
After watching and living these failing relationships I have come to the conclusion that unless it is head over heels, can’t live without you, love…then what is the point?
If security and the social norm are the only reasons to be in these relationships then we would be much happier on our own. I believe that it’s better to be happy and by yourself than unhappy with someone else, especially if the reason for being with that person is because it’s comfortable. My advice to the twenty-something’s that are in the same place in life as I am, is, never settle for less than what you deserve. If you’re happy then that’s all that matters (even if that happiness consists of Netflix on a Friday night with your dog and no boyfriend in the near future). Don’t base your happiness on a relationship or what you’re “supposed” to be doing at this stage of life. Last but not least, learn to love yourself and to be okay on your own.