Here’s a (not-so) fun fact: My parents went on their first date on April 2nd during their sophomore year of college. Guess who’s about to miss that deadline?
When I was little, I heard the story of how my parents got together and thought to myself: “20? That’s so old!” and “College is where you meet the person you’re going to marry!” Now that my 20th birthday is fast approaching without a significant other in sight, I’m not so sure of myself anymore. Like I’m always saying, dating is hard in the modern world, but my parents didn’t seem to have much of a problem with it when they were my age. My friends, most of whom are in committed relationships, didn’t seem to have any issues either. Now they’re lying in bed together, discussing their future apartment and wedding plans, while I struggle to even start a conversation.
I grew up thinking that when I got to college I was going to have a perfect love story too, and that I’d follow my parents’ timeline and get married and settle down before even hitting 30. Everyone around me seems to be following that narrative as well. Nothing makes you feel more inadequate than watching everyone else’s lives progress around you while you’re stuck where you are, single and waiting alone.
It’s not all bad: being single has given me a more clear-headed view of romance and long-term relationships, and a healthy skepticism about things moving too quickly. In a way, I think it’s better that I don’t settle down as soon as I start seeing someone for the first time. I want to have a rich variety of experiences and meet new people, not just lock down the first one I get. I think in the long run, it’ll be better and healthier for me to grow as a person first and solve my own problems while not being dependent on someone else. I’ve learned how to be independent and alone in a way I never would have been able to if I was in a committed relationship and was suddenly dumped for the first time. In fact, I worry that sometimes college relationships move too quickly and people settle with the wrong partner before they’ve finished maturing as a person. Maybe I’m a bit too jaded, but I’d rather be cynical than naive when it comes to dating.
I’ll keep looking in the meantime, but screw my parents’ deadline; I’m my own person, and I’m figuring life out my own way. Hopefully when I do get into a relationship, I don’t become the kind of grossly overcommitted person I poke fun at now. Being in a relationship is great fun, but it’s not worth sacrificing my own identity and autonomy for someone else.