You know who you are.
You’re the friend that gets dressed up and tags along to frat parties at school, but instead of grinding with sweaty what’s-his-names, you nurse a Natty Light with one hand and drunkenly text your boyfriend with the other.
You’re the friend who’s always down to listen to all of your friends’ temporary-boy problems and stories, but tend to keep your own to yourself because, well, it’s just not exactly the same.
You’re the friend who’s been in a relationship literally since YOLO first became a thing that people say (has it really been that long?)
It’s kind of tough to be this person, especially when you’re in your early 20s. It seems like everyone is in the label-less limbo, except you.
But are you actually upset about that?
Let’s face it, if you’re in your 20s and you’re in a long-term relationship (let’s say a relationship that’s lasted upwards of a year), it’s probably going pretty well, and has a foreseeable future.
But, the 20-something environment can sometimes make you feel like you’re not really supposed to be in such a serious relationship. Your friends often seem amazed that you and your significant other have been together as long as you have, when you’re both in college, when you don’t see each other every second of every day, when you actually, for the most part, lead your own independent lives. For some reason, the people around you just can’t seem to grasp this idea, or how it works without crashing and burning.
I’m here to tell you that if you are a 20-something and you are in what appears to be a long-term relationship, I am proud of you. And I also think you’re fucking awesome.
From personal experience, I can tell you with iron-clad certainty that it is not easy to maintain a stable and healthy relationship when you’re in your 20s. Chances are, both you and your partner are not actually fully matured human beings yet, so you’re both bound to make some stupid mistakes here and there. And because your relationship has lasted this long, you both are obviously familiar with the concept of leading your own lives while still being a couple, which could include attending different universities, finding yourselves in entirely different career fields, realizing your two families most certainly do not belong to the same political party, etc.
This isn’t exactly news, but it’s hard work to maintain a stable relationship. And that’s why you should be proud of yourself, not questioning yourself.
But it isn’t always hard work. I mean, if it always were, you probably wouldn’t be in that relationship. The reason you’re sticking it out (I hope) is because, at the end of the day, you and your partner make each other unbelievably and astronomically happy. Because neither of you can, or even wants, to imagine a world where the two of you aren’t a couple. Because when you go the bar with your friends, even the hottest person there cannot carry on an intense, 45-minute, analytical discussion of how and why the How I Met Your Mother finale was so very, very wrong. And that person will also not come back home with you to lay in bed, eat pickles straight out of the jar, and talk about the universe.
Perhaps it seems that this article is aggressively defending my fellow 20-something monogamists. And to some extent, I am, but if you’re one of these people, you already know that there really is no point in defending yourself. You know how happy you are, and you don’t really need anyone else’s validation.
Just like your single friends really don’t need your validation, either. As long as you are happy with how things are going, neither of these lifestyles is better than the other, and neither requires a lengthy explanation.
To me, these things are simply all about timing. You really never know when or where you will meet that one person who makes all the difference in your life. Maybe it will be in college. Maybe it will be at your first real job coming out of school. Maybe you already met them back in high school, and you guys have been happily together ever since. You just don’t know.
But seriously, love is an incredible thing, and finding love changes your life. Don’t let it pass you by.