As a 20-something year old female who is, maybe, a little too obsessed with social media, I find myself spending a lot of time scrolling through my newsfeed and constantly encountering different articles shared by friends, mostly about dating or love.
As a writer myself and someone who thrives on finding ways to put my feelings into words, I feel inclined to read most of them. Lately, though, I have found that reading these articles just make me feel sad and hopeless. Every other article I scroll through is about finding the strength to leave, never settling for the less than the best, and so on.
Don’t get me wrong, I am the biggest advocate of finding your happiness and not letting anyone get in your way. I would never encourage someone to stay in a relationship that was abusive, or manipulative, or unfulfilling in anyway, but nowadays, it seems like one little problem and people are being encouraged to say f*** it and walk away.
I was finally sent over the edge this morning when I was looking through the trending articles on not 1, but 2, of my favorite sites and every single one focused on oneself. Every title followed the lines of “X # of things to do for yourself this year” and “I decided I couldn’t look past my boyfriend’s flaw” and so on.”
It wasn’t so much the titles themselves, but the content inside the articles as well. I kept reading looking for some sort of meaning in any of them, and I came up empty handed. I was faced with superficial reasons why relationships aren’t working out and materialistic things we need to give ourselves in order to make us happy, and I just feel sad.
It’s nothing against the authors of these articles, it’s the society we live in nowadays.
Our lives are inundated with messages telling us these things and yet we’re surprised when the divorce rates are soaring and people aren’t getting married and having children until they’re 40+ years old. If you take just a minute to look around and see what’s going on, it shouldn’t be a surprise at all. Hell, if I believed half the things I read this morning I would be calling my mom who is in a 28 year loving and fulfilling marriage and tell her to leave because well why not? There might be something else better out there.
I have been with my boyfriend for 9 months and there hasn’t been a single day where I sit back and think “damn, this is easy.”
Every day is a new challenge or a new obstacle to overcome and, I won’t lie, there have been a lot of times where I considered how much easier my life would be if I packed my bag and left. Some days are easier than others, but even on our best days we still have to work at it.
I am 22 years old and admittedly pretty selfish. Being in a relationship means my free time is cut down, it means going out and getting wasted with my all single girl friends is not always the best idea, it means that almost every choice I make I have to think about how it will effect him, and sometimes I don’t want to do that anymore. Sometimes I want to say screw it, I’m too young, I’ll find someone else.
And the sad thing is, I know if I were too leave, a lot of people would congratulate me. They would tell me they’re proud of me for putting myself first and that I’ll find that kind of happiness again when I am older and more ready to settle down. They’ll tell me that I am 22 and I am doing myself a favor because your 20’s are when you are supposed to be single. I can’t think of a single person (other than maybe my mom and my older sisters) who will tell me that I am an idiot because I threw something really good away because it was “too hard.”
But I won’t leave. At the end of a big fight, I’ll sit at the edge of the bed, consider packing my bags, and ultimately I will decide to stay. I will take whatever argument we are having and try to compare it to the joy I felt when he met my parents or the butterflies in my stomach I get every single time he touches me (even after 9 months). I’ll look in the mirror and see the extensive laugh lines that cover my face and the short brown hair that I hate, but that he assures me makes me look beautiful every single day and I’ll remind myself that he is now a part of me. I’ll take a deep breath, calm my wavering thoughts, and crawl into his open, waiting arms because I know that is where I belong. Later I’ll watch my friends roll their eyes when I head home early from girls night and then I will come home to the man I love and who will always make me want to stay.
I am a strong, independent woman who files her own taxes, kills her own spiders, fixes her own leaky sink (just kidding I call my landlord), buys my own dinner, and doesn’t need to rely on a man to fill any type of void in my life. I know the appropriate times to put myself before others and I can tell when I am at the end of my rope and need to spend sometime away from others. And all the while I have an incredible partner standing by my side encouraging me to be exactly who I am.
Being single was wonderful and that freedom was empowering, exciting, and something I cherished deeply. I learned a lot about myself during my single, college days and I wouldn’t give that back for anything. Being in a relationship has taught me just as much and has been fulfilling in a much different, but equally beautiful way. My grass is always green, though it definitely has some rougher patches, and even if it might be greener elsewhere, I’ll stay.