So I have been debating whether I should write a post about college-level romance or not. As this is a hot topic for us youngsters, everything that’s written on this topic is usually revolving around Cosmopolitan-y statements like “how to get your crush’s attention” or “how to win a boy/girl over in 10 steps.”
Sadly, no one, and I mean no one, but the brave, shiny blogger knights of Thought Catalog or Buzzfeed talk about that it is okay to be single during your time in college.
We, as 20-somethings, are constantly exposed to questions like “how we can pursue a relationship in college?” But while doing that, we often forget the most important question that should be asked first: why should we pursue a relationship in the first place?
For the people in college the answer is usually convenience or because college is when you do this “stuff”. First of all, you know what is also supposedly very convenient? OKCupid. Secondly, by “stuff”, people mean choosing the person they will wake up to every morning for the rest of their lives. NBD.
You know what kids? Love is not a placeholder for emptiness, relationships are not holy grail of social interaction and your freedom is too valuable to settle for anything less than that thrilling, inexplicable rush you get when you see your S.O.
It is perfectly okay to be single.
You don’t have to be in a relationship when you are in college.
Dating is not an errand; your life will not fall apart if you don’t do it.
I get it: not having a significant other is very oppressive and knowing that your crush is not interested in you is absolutely soul crushing, but then again, anything is better than having to compromise your feelings, ego and even body: even when you are just on the floor with a pint of “Phish Food”, wearing pizza sauce-stained pajamas and weeping a little while looking at your computer screen where you can see loud and clear that your crush just made a Facebook relationship status with this gorgeous girl that your best friend can’t even make a negative comment on. Eventually, your housemate who is doing the dishes will turn around to give you the pity look that makes you want to leave the living room (or the house) and just pick up your soul on the way out.
This will happen and it will be terrible. It will even be worse when your newsfeed is invaded with wedding pictures and birth announcements. Being single, you will already feel far behind in life, and even if you are dating someone, you will have to encounter countless people asking if you are going to do “ring by spring” and then face the awkwardness after you answer “probably not”. Lucky me, I have a boyfriend who is ready to answer all these questions for me on a rational level. Lucky me, that I am dating maybe one of my best friends. But that is not the only way to do this; you can’t shove down a relationship into yourself or your crush when your mind is off wondering if there is someone better for you. Granted, I am already taken so you think it’s hard for me to relate; but I was single for 2 years before this relationship and I had my ups and downs but really the pressure I had on me was maybe the hardest part of being single.
When did not rushing into giving up being happy by yourself become socially weird and awkward? Since when being single is frowned upon on? Why is being single is often associated with being lonely when they are not even remotely similar?
These are the questions we need to be asking instead of “how to make someone like you?” or “how to pursue a relationship?”
Maybe one day you will find a real partner who will help you navigate while you are driving; but until that point, you have to learn how to read the mad by yourself, metaphorically speaking, of course, because that is kind of a skill that empowers you and builds character. You should hit the road by yourself at first, see how far you can go at what speed, master your driving skills and learn how to navigate on your own. Because if you don’t know how to drive well and have no knowledge of navigation, a random co-pilot you picked out of desperation might get you in a fairly damaging car crash.
You have to understand that a lack or presence of a relationship does not define you. You are who you are; you will still have the talents, flaws and skills with or without a relationship. Not to mention just because you are single doesn’t mean you are not or never have been wanted. Someone out there is kicking themselves for letting you go and feeling stuck in the “could’ve- should’ve- would’ve” cycle. Maybe you were coded off-limits for some people with being friend’s ex, or even taboo for being a co-worker; maybe at that ice cream social they wanted to approach you but you were too intimidating to them so they back off, and they never saw you again…
This is the reality; at the end of everyday we are all left with “if only”s and “shoulda”s and just having a girlfriend or a boyfriend who is not all that significant to your life, cannot change that. In this small bubble of college, the chances that you actually will be able to find a life-partner are high; but the question is, are you going to find the love of your life?
Food for thought.