The Pressure Of Being In A Relationship In Your 20’s

Every other week someone I know is getting engaged, buying a house, or getting married. When you’re in your twenties, there are three kinds of people in your friend group. The single ones, the ones who met their significant other in high school or college, and the ones who met their significant other after college or a little later in their twenties.

I’m 24 and any friend who met their love in high school or college are now engaged. I fall into the category of the ones who met their love after college, so I feel a little behind. I feel deeply for my single friends, because no matter how happy you are being single, you still feel left out sometimes.

Now I feel a lot of pressure being in a relationship in this stage of my life because everyone automatically expects that engagement and marriage are a few short years away.

But a little over a year ago I didn’t really believe in marriage. I didn’t want it, I didn’t want a relationship, and now while I’m in a relationship I’m still not 100% on board with the idea of marriage.

When I mentioned my boyfriend and I are planning on moving in together, I was asked if I thought a ring was in the future and I replied, “god, I hope not.”

I’m just not ready, but I feel a lot of pressure when a lot of people my age are ready and have been ready. It’s just what comes with my age. When you’re single in your twenties, you’re pressured to find a boyfriend. When you’re in a relationship in your twenties, you’re pressured to get engaged.

As much as I know what I want, it’s hard to ignore that nagging pressure.

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Photo by: https://www.flickr.com/photos/55638953@N04/

You Could Have Met Your Future Spouse Before You Even Turned 16

I once read that 82% of people meet their future spouse before they even turn 16.

I tried doing my research on this one to find out where it came from and everything was unconfirmed.  This is basically a made up statistic. Yet, it resonated with me and sticks with me to this day – you may have met the person you’re supposed to marry already, but you have no idea.

I think a majority of people meet their future spouse in college. It seems that in the four years there, everyone is in the same state of mind to settle down before or right after they graduate. So that debunks the statistic right there.

Then there are the people who stay with their high school sweethearts and end up marrying them. It’s not uncommon at all to see people who started holding hands in 8th grade end up kissing each other at the alter 10 years later.

But what about the people who moved back home after college. The ones who dumped their high school sweetheart (or got dumped, like me lol) and the ones who didn’t want to make the commitment while they were living it up in college.

There’s always the chance to meet new people at the gym, or at work, or when you’re out with your friends at the bar. But a lot of people from your high school also moved home after college. They’re all back in the same place and all the single ones are in the same situation as you.

I’ve heard of a lot of relationships blooming after college between two people who knew each other in high school, but were not necessarily friends. I can’t imagine myself ever dating someone I knew before I was 16. First of all, I was a completely different person back then. Like I was pretty weird and friendless. Secondly, I feel like it must be pretty awkward to just pick up where you left off 8 years ago.

But who knows, maybe I’m part of that imaginary 82%. Maybe most of us do meet who we are going to marry before we’re 16, we just have to keep an open mind.

photo by: https://www.flickr.com/photos/garryknight/
photo by: https://www.flickr.com/photos/garryknight/

We’re Always Changing And It’s Not Always Bad

I’ve been in this world for 22 years now.  That’s approximately 1/4 of a lifetime. To some, it may seem like that’s nothing – like I’ve been here for an hour when they’ve been here for a year. To people my age, it’s a lot and time doesn’t seem to be slowing down.

In my lifetime, I’ve seen at least six different versions of myself. I’ve gone from bubbly and weird to unhappy and introverted to secure and happy to insecure and kind of happy. I took on different traits and hobbies that I inherited from who I was with in the moment. I became someone I liked, someone I hated, and someone I couldn’t even recognize.  But that’s part of life – we’re always changing.

I have a hard time believing in marriage and relationships because of this.  I guess when you find the right person, you change together.  But I find myself changing so often that I don’t know how anyone could ever keep up.

There are different stages of our lives that require different versions of ourselves. I was happy being a single girl who liked to party and socialize. That was fine in college, but that part of myself didn’t transfer well into my postgrad life.  I can see myself changing, picking up pieces of my past and mixing them with pieces of my present, and it’s scary to know that something that once made you happy doesn’t make you happy anymore.

But a better word for change is adapt. We’re adapting, we do what we do to survive.  Although there may be awkward periods of time where we aren’t always secure and happy with ourselves, you can work up to who you want to be and what fits into your new lifestyle. Change isn’t always bad as long as you embrace it instead of running away.

photo by: https://www.flickr.com/photos/nam2_7676/
photo by: https://www.flickr.com/photos/nam2_7676/

I’m In A Relationship With Myself

photo by: https://www.flickr.com/photos/sharif/

You’re supposed to go to college.  You’re supposed to graduate.  You’re supposed to get a 9-5 job. You’re supposed to be in a relationship. You’re supposed to get married.  You’re supposed to buy a home. You’re supposed to have kids. You’re supposed to retired. You’re supposed to die.

They’re unwritten supposed to’s, but I’m kind of over doing what is expected of me when I don’t find it to be rewarding at all.

The thought of dating makes me really uneasy for many reasons. I’ve been in a relationship that crashed and burned and left me abandoned in the wreckage.  I see people staying in relationships out of comfort and because that’s what they’re “supposed to” do. A lot of the marriages I encounter have either ended or should have ended a while ago.

I worry that I’ll settle. Or I’ll miss out on meeting and falling in love with the perfect person because I settled. I’m worried that someone will try and change me. And I’m sorry, I don’t want kids and it’s not because I’m “still young.” I worry I’ll sacrifice myself for someone else.

I also really just enjoy my alone time.  I want to be the best version of myself before I even think of trying to make someone else happy.  I can barely make a phone call without stuttering. I have a hard time waking up before 11 am if I don’t have to. I start a diet every week that ends in me binge eating pizza. These are all things I’m working on and I’m working on alone.

I’m trying to put all of my thoughts together and I don’t want to text someone 24/7. I barely want to be in my own head or talk to my mom as soon as I wake up. What’s up? The same thing that was “up” 20 minutes ago, I’m watching reality tv because I don’t like my current reality.

I’m trying to start my career – but I don’t want it to be a 9-5 that has me pining for the weekend and ultimately spending most of my life waiting for something else. It’s hard to find the job I want and I don’t want to have to worry about I’m wearing to my coffee date this weekend.

I’m trying to do a lot of things for me and you just look like an obstacle.

Does Online Dating Lack Spontaneity?

Meet cute: a scene in film, television, etc. in which a future romantic couple meets for the first time in a way that is considered adorable, entertaining, or amusing.

Because I base so many of my falling-in-love fantasies off of love novels and star crossed movies, I’ve always pictured my moment with “the one” as a meet cute.

We’ve all watched at least one rom-com that has the lovely and broken girl falling into the arms of the protective and strong man. They bump into each other on the street and spill coffee on each other, he pulls over to help her fix her car, she finds his dog running away in the park, etc. etc.

But really – what am I supposed to base falling in love off of when all the media shows are these adorable scenarios?

That’s why I’m slightly afraid of online dating – on top of the possibility of the person not looking like their picture, being incredibly boring and awful, or just being a serial killer – does online dating take away the possibility of a meet cute? Does it take out all of the fun, danger, and excitement of running into someone in the gym and falling in love with each other as you both reach for the same water bottle?

I like the idea of online dating, because I like being able to get to know someone online before you spend your time with them in person.  But does it kill the magic, or does the built up tension until you finally meet make up for the fact that you didn’t fall in love in some overly romantic way?

Online dating is the now, more than 1/3 of relationships start online. And I can see why. As a millenial, I live in a ‘me’ generation and I don’t have a lot of time to waste on people who aren’t benefiting me.  So I could go on date after mediocre date with a person I made out with in a bar or a friend’s boyfriend’s friend.  Or I could scientifically matched up and bing bang boom – fall in love on the first coffee date (even though I don’t like coffee).

Realistically – how many meet cutes even happen in the real world? Most people just meet with a uncomplicated introduction through friends or at school or when they’re on vacation, they stay in contact and then they date.  Then they fall in love and then they get married.  It’s simple. It’s pretty boring.  And I think I have convinced myself online dating won’t take away the fairytale romance I build up in my head – though, I’m not sure I’m ready to try it.  Are you?

photo by: https://www.flickr.com/photos/buenosaurus/
photo by: https://www.flickr.com/photos/buenosaurus/

Did I Miss My Chance? – Dating After College

College is a great time to meet the person you’re going to marry.  You might not date them while you’re a freshman or sophomore and still getting the hang of things, but there is a huge possibility you’re going to meet the person you are going to spend the rest of your life with.  You’re constantly going to parties, classes, club meetings, the bar, the gym, and a variety of other places where there are always new people available to you to meet.  Chances are, one of your hookups that you enjoyed hanging out with will end up being your soulmate when the time becomes right.

So if you graduated single, did you miss your chance of meeting your future husband/wife?

Sure, you still have some venues to meet new people as a post grad.  There’s work, the gym, the bar, and mutual friends.  I was watching Say Yes To The Dress the other day and the bride met her husband while driving down the freeway! There’s always possibilities, but is our dating pool much smaller as a post grad?

There are less single people available our age after graduation.  Especially in the workforce.  You’re going to have a lot of people who are older than you and a small group of people your age.  Then, you have to use your super-sight to see if they have a ring on their finger or if they’re even someone you would be interested in if you weren’t so desperately single.

The truth is, it’s going to be harder to find your soulmate after college. But, patience is a great thing and apparently so is waiting to get into a relationship after college.

According to this article, waiting for that serious relationship until after graduation will lessen your chance for divorce and increase your money intake. The longer you wait to get married, the more established and comfortable you’ll be in your own life in order to accept someone else into it.

Whether you’re finding your future in college or after graduation, don’t sweat it. Your happily ever after will come at its own pace, but you didn’t miss your chance by not settling down in college.

photo by: https://www.flickr.com/photos/photonerd-mle/
photo by: https://www.flickr.com/photos/photonerd-mle/

8 Things I’ve Learned As A Brand New PostGrad

1. Commutes to work will make you a more cynical person.

As if I wasn’t bitter enough, now I’m stuck behind a tractor trailer going 20 below the speed limit.

2. Always check the left hand of a cute boy.

First of all, he’s a man and not a boy. Second of all, he might be married.

3. Partying is a rarity

I’ve been looking forward to the weekend for five days now and I’m not going to spend it in bed with a hang over.

4. “Post grad” has become an adjective, verb, and noun in your vocabulary.

I don’t know, maybe that’s just me.

5. Seeing your friends is always an ordeal.

In school you saw a friend around every corner you turned, now you go days without them and it feels like years.

6. Work will always be in the back of your mind.

Even if you’re doing what you love and living life, you can never escape work.

7. Sleep is precious

Seriously, take advantage of napping while you can.

8. It’s not as bad as I thought it was going to be.

But I still haven’t moved back to my parent’s house yet, so…

photo by: https://www.flickr.com/photos/philandpam/
photo by: https://www.flickr.com/photos/philandpam/