In all honesty, I have zero judgement on the way other people, including close friends and family, handle their intimate relationships or, in layman terms: hook-up culture. A few years back I tried it out for myself (had two one-night stands and a fuck-boy) and found that it left me feeling empty and with no one to actually fall back on when I needed emotional or financial support or just a ride to the grocery store. Literally, it can be a good time, but then what? I don’t want a life made up of half a dozen good times each week with different men whose names I can’t remember and on who I have no information regarding their mental or physical health (apparently venereal diseases are on the rise amongst millennials, despite the required sex-ed credits). Who will I talk to about the things that matter to me? Friendships are, of course, invaluable and I have learned that from treating my relationship as the centre of my life and losing touch with a lot of people, yet at the same time it can become annoying to be around certain friends. For me, being in a long-term relationship has helped me learn a lot about myself, particularly the bad parts, and grow. So, some of my friends’ approaches to both relationships and the single life are beyond my comprehension. Nevertheless, I believe that as long as someone is happy, and even if they’re not, they should live their life however they want.
What surprises me though is how many of my friends are unhappy with hook-up culture but still participate in it. They complain about the people they meet through Tinder, how hard it is meet someone who isn’t weird or crazy or a complete non-starter, and how lonely they feel or how afraid of never meeting someone. They also complain that girls/guys are extremely superficial and have unfocused life ambitions (how they can tell all this from a single date is beyond me, but maybe the one-two hours with the stranger were filled with deep and meaningful conversation). If they ever committed to someone they might be able to see that many of the things they criticize about others applied to them as well (that’s what I’ve learned from being in a relationship). We are all too quick to pick out the faults and flaws in our partners and forget to maybe appreciate the fact that they are literally going through the same things we are and maybe we have the same exact flaws and they are just responding to that. Instead, we check out for the next greener pasture.
Some the aforementioned people confuse me the most because they are constantly jumping in and out of sort-of relationships with different people and are always unsure of their actual feelings for someone. Of course it is really subjective how relationships and feelings work, but I cannot fathom being 25+ years old and not being able to tell the difference between feeling respect and mild attraction towards an intelligent and good-looking man with ambitions versus considering them as an actual life-partner. Whenever things get rough with a person they flit off to the next good-looking person who gives them any attention and then wonder why no one takes them seriously or why they’re alone with a long history of failed relationships. I feel like telling them that if you jump ship the moment the boat starts rocking then how can you expect for any relationship to last? Because the boat will rock and it might even capsize, but you have to be willing to help each other swim or work together to turn it right side up again. Now, this isn’t the same for people who are actually completely happy alone and satisfied with having no meaningful intimate relationship with another person. Those people hold all the power (and maybe a bit of a sociopathic side, but whatevs: they are at least happy). No, this applies to people who can’t figure out what they feel for someone and then find themselves in insane messes floundering about with no one to turn to and no direction.
The reason for this pseudo-rant is the following: when things are looking particularly grim with my S.O. my friends and family are quick to remind me that there are other fish in the sea (even going so far as to point some out), as if being in a relationship has somehow made me unaware of my options. If anything, being in a relationship makes you more aware of the opportunities you may be (or imagine to be) missing out on and, also, the severe lack of ACTUAL options out there. Even if you have a short list of demands: physically acceptable, intelligent, with a well-paying job and realistic ambitions, and funny…the qualified options can be few and far between. Being in a relationship demonstrates what you want and if your partner fulfils 80% of that, then you are willing to settle because you are self-aware enough to know that you probably fulfil about that much of his expectations as well due to the fact that you are both HUMANS and not dream-people. “Settle”: why has that become such a bad word? It means to remain, to stay, to resolve…all those things my friends want from a relationship and yet they are unwilling to settle for anyone. All they see are the “options” and so they can never find the correct “option”.