Caution-real feels ahead.
Let’s face it: dating in your 20’s is the worst. Through my closest friends’ experiences and many of my own, it’s safe to say I’ve seen it all. Okay, maybe not actually everything, but it seems like us young adults sure go through a hell of a lot in the dating world.
There are so many different roads you can go down, yet no one path is correct. Like mean girls taught us (yes I went there): “the limit does not exist.” You can get married, enter relationship station, be single, sleep around, date multiple people, have 3 dogs, or obsess over your career and still there is no guarantee at happiness.
Over the years, I have often confided in friends and/or been a confidant for their relationships. There are relationship stages we go through: the “oh my gosh he/she’s amazing and my life is changed forever” stage, the “everything he/she does is the best ever” stage, the “look at us, we are a couple” phase, the first fight, the first “serious” talk, the contemplation of moving in together/buying an animal together, the deciding that you are ready to be together forever, the engagement, the social media posting frenzy (get’s its own category), and the eventual marriage (let’s not go past there).
But then there are the other stages in your 20’s that can occasionally rear their ugly horns: the “he’s cheating on me” phase, the “do I miss him or do I miss the idea of him” wine revelation, the “he already has a girlfriend” phase, the “we met on tinder and then he freaked out” situation, the night of regret, the “my ex is a psycho” thing, the I’m in a failing long-distance relationship realization, the “I think the bartender and I are in love” night, the “are we on a date” non-date, the always awkward “I have commitment/trust issues” conversation, and many other awe inspiring moments.
The hardest thing, is that people accept these uglies to be okay. It’s okay he’s a terrible person, because I can handle it and don’t really care. Or, I’m staying in a relationship with someone who treats me poorly because I am afraid to be on my own. Even worse, that I will be alone forever and have 5 cats if I don’t go out more and get in the game.
Why are we putting all of this unnecessary pressure on ourselves? Who cares! Newsflash: THERE IS NO TIMELINE. There is no magical amount of people you have to date or experiences you have to have before something works out. It cannot be planned and honestly never should be. Sometimes you need to date the jackasses before you find your special human, but other times, you hit a home run on your first bat.
So if you are married, engaged, pregnant, or seriously in love- congratulations. If you are single, confused, or in a weird relationship- congratulations. Even if you are an odd mix of all of these things—great work. Dating is hard, and figuring it out in your 20’s can be horrendous. There is no right way, so never overthink your decisions or situations. To each his own, friends. As it very well should be.