There are a multitude of television shows and movies circling the world of the twenty-something dating experience in an attempt to relate to the more liberal generation. Ideas of strict monogamy have been thrown out the window and replaced with open relationships or ‘it’s complicated’ statuses as the young dating culture expands and being single is seen as a virtue over being in a long-term relationship.
Like many women in their early to mid 20’s, I have been on both ends of the spectrum and can attest to why sometimes one side looks much greener than the other. But is it really? Or are we always falling subject to the 80/20 rule regardless of how much we think we are happy in our current situation? Having been in a long term committed relationship for almost three years, there are a few flittering memories of my single life that can leave me questioning the validity of long term relationships in your early 20’s.
1) Being single generally means that you don’t have as much responsibility as you would in a relationship. Feelings need to be considered and personalities sometimes have to be constrained in order to provide a comfortable environment for either person.
2) When in a committed relationship, fewer mistakes are allowed or even forgivable. Making out with a stranger at a bar isn’t as easily blamed on the alcohol, as it would have been to your friends if you were single.
3) Carrying your clothing around like a vagrant is going to inevitably happen when dating someone because we are not Beyonce and we did not wake up like this.
4) Your biological clock has suddenly gotten a battery change and is clicking faster and louder than it has ever done before. Marriage, kids, mortgages; all come in flashes like a lightening-filled scene in a horror movie.
5) At some point, you become a specific archetype in your relationship in correlation to who the other person is. He/She does the cooking, you wash the dishes. You make the bed, he/She takes out the trash.
6) You are still young which means that insecurity is going to be a part of your life as you establish yourself in the work force or as a recent adult. You have joined the team that many others are a part of and don’t really know what position you’re playing. This may be more difficult or easier to handle when you are in a relationship and have a counterpart alongside. They could have either the right or wrong qualities for where you are in life at the moment and that can only be determined with time.
7) You are never truly alone. Take that statement however you like because, to be honest, it is different for all of us. Your life in a relationship is now shared and if you like it or not will dictate if your relationship ends or flourishes. This is especially true when living with someone and personal space has become much more limited than it used to be.
8) At the end of the day, whether you are in a relationship or living the single life, what’s important is finding an equilibrium where everything in your life balances out. You can be happy alone and understand that a significant other would be great, but maybe not at this time. Or you can be in a long-term relationship and understand that having a few nights out alone and acting like a single person (within the boundaries agreed upon with your partner) can be just as fun and helpful as being with them.