Growing up, your avenue for meeting a significant other or beginning a relationship was through school. Everything was simple then; there were no stresses of career, bills, or maintaining a family. The simplistic focus of these early relationships made them easily replaceable, people easily interchangeable and ‘forward thinking’ was limited to, “When’s lunch?” Once you complete your highest level of education, your ability to meet like-minded, compatible and available significant others is hindered by numerous factors.
1) Societal Pressures:
If you make it to your mid twenties, and do not have children, a marriage or and/or a divorce under your belt, you are now the exception. Nothing against those who chose any of these paths, but if you do not meet those scenarios you seem to be the minority. Many of our anxieties are contrived from our desire to follow social norms or the paths of our peers. When we stray from the norm, often times (right or wrong) the residual feeling is that we ‘missed the boat’, or are somehow behind in the progression of our life with regard to relationships. This mentally fabricated sentiment must be expelled from our thoughts. If you don’t find your soulmate until you’re 35 years old, that still gives you 60% of your life with that person (average lifespan is roughly 84 years)! Relax and let life come to you – the exciting part is letting it unfold before your eyes!
2) The Bar Scene:
Welcome to the land of one night stands and child support! Well, that was a bit dramatic, but you’ll appreciate the realism in that statement. It is extremely difficult to meet quality people with the same motivation at a bar or a club. How many people go down to a bar and tell themselves, “Tonight, I will find my life partner”? You can definitely luck out and meet your soulmate in this setting, but not likely. The atmosphere can be appealing; liquor typically loosens people up for social interaction, but that loosening doesn’t always stop there (I think we both know where that was headed.. excuse both of those puns.. I am a 12 year old in a 26 year old’s body).
3) The Workplace:
Many people begin relationships meeting people through their job. This seems to be the best opportunity to meet a driven, compatible person, but take that with a grain of salt. The term, “don’t shit where you eat” comes to mind. Avoid dating someone in your department, and never get involved with someone in your org chart that would directly or indirectly report to you. Also, your relationship must maintain a very professional balance; people talk, and your image could be effected if you are immature in your relationship. That is one caveat to dating someone in the same company.
4) Future Planning:
Most people in their mid to late twenties are going or have gone through a quarter-life crisis. This wonderful awakening changes a person’s focus much towards the future. Personally, I don’t date unless I feel there is a chance the person I am seeing is potentially a long term option. The societal stresses from above cause you to eliminate ‘flings’ from the equation and focus more on settling down. As you progress through this stage, people get much more aware of what they want in a person and are pickier about what they who they will accept to fill that void.
5) The Baggage:
Single people have baggage. They may not have kids from prior relationships, but they possess baggage all the same. The video gamer, the crazy cat lady, the ‘baggage’ one acquires through the single life of a bachelor or bachelorette. People develop habits, and often times carry emotional or mental baggage from prior relationships.
This creates complications when they enter into relationships, but if handled maturely, this baggage can be translated into a lasting connection. If you simplify the basic desires and disregard sex, we all just want to be loved, feel wanted and have an unbreakable connection. Over time, we all endure hurdles in which our will or desire was bent or broken, but we absolutely cannot lose focus. The second we take this previous baggage and allow it to effect a current relationship, we are letting that former failure overcome us once again. There must be a clean slate policy with any new relationship we enter into, in order for it to have a shot.