From a young age, my undeveloped brain was bombarded with intricate tales of finding true love. I learned that ever-lasting happiness was always a product of finding your knight in shining armor. After all, what other goals could a girl have than to find and settle down with the perfect man? Were goals such as, making lifelong friends, getting a good education, and being confident and successful every present in these storylines?
The answer is rarely ever. Disney princess movies and fairy tales centered the lives of these girls around men. The endings were always the same: the valiant prince saves the sweet innocent princess and they live happily, ever after. I became hooked. If finding true love was the key to ever-lasting happiness then I was coming pretty darn close to happiness by reading about it.
Then, in middle school, my once innocent pleasure turned into full-fledged obsession. I was obsessed with the idea of love more than I was with love itself. Everyday after the class let out, I would escape my ever-banal existence through young adult romance novels. This time there were a plethora of options. There was the tough punk girl that fell for the geek, the girl who found love in Europe, and the gay couple who struggled to keep their relationship secret.
However, no matter the character’s background, a lot of these stories gave me high expectations and false hope for my future relationships. Whatever happened after the book was finished? That, the readers never saw. We could only assume that after finally pining for each other for so long, the couple would live happily ever after. Right? Wrong. If books resembled and form of reality, this was not true. Most of those relationships probably ended in some sort of break-up, whether it was after a couple of months or years. However, there were just books set in alternate universes, so if you were anything like me, you would never let your harsh reality interfere with the book’s story.
You could say I was a late-bloomer. I didn’t get my first kiss until I was 16. The whole event was highly overrated. After years of anticipation and waiting, I realized that I no longer wanted my first kiss be perfect, I just wanted to get it over with. One fateful February night during a trip with friends to Barcelona, I romantically fumbled around on a huge dark dance floor with a boy I’d only known for a couple of hours beforehand. By the end of the night, I’d gotten my first kiss, and I never saw the boy again.
Was I disappointed that the boy I’d given my first kiss to no longer wanted to keep in touch with me? Well, I was a bit offended at the speed in which this guy was ready to cast away our night together and move on with his life, but I decided to do the same. I didn’t feel the need to have some fairytale ending to this story to be happy. I enjoyed the time following that I spent single, until I entered my first real relationship.
My first relationship was pretty normal. There were a few (insert cheesy romantic scenarios here), but not enough to make me believe that I was Allie in The Notebook, so I’ll spare the details. After breaking up with my ex-boyfriend, getting my first kiss from an inconnu (as the French call it), and having several other dates and casual encounters, I was overwhelmed with an internal question.
Why is our society obsessed with finding one true love? What’s the big deal? Why the hell do people center their lives around and so actively seek out perfect romances and happily-ever-afters? After I broke up with my ex boyfriend, some friends came to me in an effort to comfort me. “It’s ok, you’ll find your guy soon enough,” I was told. Oh yippee, I’ve just got out of a relationship but of course I was already looking forward to the next one. Wrong.
It made me think, is the only point of being in a relationship, to find your soulmate? It isn’t for me anymore. I’ve learned that dating shouldn’t be about getting from Point A (complete single-dom) to Point B (if not true love then marriage, kids, and a family), as efficiently as possible. We should enjoy the journey in between!
We are supposed to fuck up, date people that are no good for us, have intense or tragic or realistic relationships, and most of all enjoy being single (which I honestly love). We should do all these things, not necessarily to find our soul mates, but to have of a hell of a lot of fun doing it.