To have a satisfying relationship you first have to know what you want. When you first start dating the goal is simple. Nothing short of heart stopping, circumstance defying, shout it from the rooftops love to last the ages will suffice. After a few heartbreaks expectations inevitably begin to dwindle and qualities such as employment begin to matter more than passion. Regardless, we persevere because you have to end up with someone so you can procreate. We learned this in kindergarten.
“Bobby and Susy sitting in a tree
First comes love
Then comes marriage
Then comes Susy pushing a baby carriage”
However, as we all know, the nursery rhyme falls short. It fails to mention what comes next for Bobby and Susy. Having kids is hard. Remaining faithful to one person is even harder. Where is the version where the carriage comes before the marriage and Bobby decides he’s not ready to be a father? What if Susy was found kissing Jenny? Until recently the rhyme would have ended for them at love, and if certain individuals have their way, it will again. Maybe Susy wanted to get a PhD instead of marrying Bobby and having his babies. However, there are no alternative versions.
I don’t know if kids these days still chant this rhyme teasingly to their friends. Regardless, if you’re in my generation, you know what I’m talking about. While the average age people tie the knot has increased and people are waiting longer to get remarried after divorce, the great majority of people in the good old U.S. of A. get married with the intent of spending the rest of their life with their spouse and popping out 2.5 kids. We all know how that is working out. Divorce remains consistent, and while the rate of infidelity in marriages is debatable, you don’t have to go further than your own friend circle to know it’s happening.
There are those who choose to put off marriage, often to focus on demanding career paths. However, because they do not have time for a traditional relationship with increasingly demanding emotional and time requirements, do they have to forego romantic connection all together? Is their only option the occasional one night stand?
Others begin to doubt they may have chosen the wrong one when they feel a flutter around a certain individual at the office that has been missing for years at home. No one talks about how a ring does not turn off the attraction receptors in the brain, and regardless of how much you want to love someone, there is no other feeling like the lust and passion of new lovers. Unfortunately, the rhyme leaves room only for two so someone has to go and start the process all over again.
Regardless of how you’ve found yourself as a not so young single adult, this uncharted territory can be a bit confusing. Do I use a dating app? If yes, which one? What should be in my profile? Where do I find the decipher for the foreign jargon of the text world? Why did he send me a picture of a his genitalia? How do I get her to respond to anything I say? It’s a madhouse. If you ever make it to meeting in real life, a slew of new problems awaits. Why doesn’t he look like his picture? She’s actually accepting my offer to pay the whole tab? I thought it went well, why are they ghosting me now? This is a not a game for the weak of heart.
It’s no wonder when you finally meet someone you connect with, it can be easy to ignore little issues such as vastly mismatched life goals. This is one of the underlying problems facing those dating past their early 20s. In your early 20s maybe you’ll date someone for awhile even if you know they’re not the one but you’re young so there’s plenty of time to fine said one.
Herein lies the disconnect. These youngsters have yet to experience the true jading only found in the conclusion of a long-term relationship. After such a break, some people want nothing more than to jump feet first back in. However, others start to search for something different. Popular media still only provides the options of spending time alone to discover who you are or fucking around until you’re ready to find the next one. Not ideal to say the least. Fortunately, new ways of thinking are slowly spreading.
Perhaps you can be with someone and develop a relationship that is neither purely physical or stuck on the relationship escalator. Maybe you can see more than one person because why can we have multiple friends and family members but not lovers? It’s not easy to wrap your head around at first because the way we learn to do these things is by watching the grownups around us and on television when we are young the same way they learned from their parents. However, despite the best efforts of those who resist change, culture cannot remain stagnant. The world has changed drastically over the past century so why wouldn’t we take a moment to reevaluate relationship patterns?
This is where we are muddling around. There are all these options available, but too often people don’t take a moment to discuss which one they prefer before mashing their bits together repeatedly and becoming attached. Or they do but one thinks the other will change their mind and want to settle down if they wait it out. Then six months in one person is flipping through wedding magazines while the other is applying for jobs on the other side of the country because they never saw this as a long-term situation.
Knowing what you want and expressing it while respecting what the other person wants is absolutely vital!! Fairy tales are not real, and while everyone has a token couple they refer to who were each other’s first love and are still going strong, this is the exception not the rule. A monogamous lifelong commitment is an option but it is no longer the only option so going into a new relationship expecting a certain outcome without discussing it first will only increase the already good odds of the cessation of said relationship. Here’s to increasing the odds of future generations having the love of their choice.
“Bobby and Susy sitting in a tree
First comes love
Then comes the end
Then comes someone new and we begin again”