Don’t Know What Is True Love … Because You’re Not In Love?
We’ve all had those moments where our friend/acquaintance/random family relation treats us like five-year-old toddlers unable to understand the subtleties of an amazingly complex math equation. In this case, that amazingly complex math equation is “true love” or the Romantic Relationship. At 18, I confess that I have never dated anyone, which perhaps is still acceptable. I have yet to have my first kiss, which apparently is slightly less acceptable and implies that there is something “wrong” with me (I’m not perfect, but there’s nothing wrong with me). It just hasn’t happened yet, and honestly, I will be okay if it never does.
In this day and age, we feel a huge amount of pressure to move so quickly through the stages of intimacy with another person that it seems we don’t have time to be intimate with ourselves first. In middle school, the “popular” kids were the ones perpetually in relationships. In high school, we were given sex-ed talks and relationship advice with the automatic assumption that all of us were “doing it”. Even in elementary school, students were blushing about their boyfriends and girlfriends.
I remember feeling hopelessly lost like I had missed an orientation and PowerPoint Presentation that delineated the rules and regulations about being young and in love. Suddenly, I was the only one who wanted to be friends with boys and not suck their faces off (not literally), and I felt immature and incomplete. To make matters worse, my friends would stop talking to me because I “didn’t get it” — I didn’t have anyone that I was dating/fawning over, so obviously I was too immature to understand their relationship troubles.
Being in a healthy, secure, and happy relationship can definitely be one of the best things to happen to people, but just because we are not in one doesn’t mean we are unlikable, crabby, irritable hermits with stunted emotional growth.
What Is True Love: We’re Not “Late-Bloomers”
While a first kiss or first relationship certainly is a milestone in life, those of us who haven’t experienced either yet are not “late bloomers” or lacking in mental development. I certainly am not waiting around for a kiss to catapult me into young adulthood. Many of my friends, along with this “relationship virgin”, felt the need to lose their virginity and “get it over with”. So many of us believe that crossing the sexual threshold implies that we have matured emotionally and physically, and we’re in a rush to do it as soon as possible. Being known as the 40-year old virgin has an awful connotation somehow.
Even in the aforementioned article, the author admits she has had sex with a “thank goodness” tacked on at the end, as though she would be lesser if she had not. It seems that everyone equates a lack of romance with being lame, lonely, and immature. When I asked my friends if having sex changed anything for them, they shrugged and said: “not really”. One revealed that she thought she’d feel different afterward, but she just “felt the same”. I’m not trying to diminish the benefits of sex and romance at all; we should just stop thinking of it as a prerequisite to growing up.
Our Lives Are Not Incomplete
Social media and pop culture would make it seem that not being in a relationship makes our lives empty and dull. This is not true at all. We, and only we, are responsible for making our lives vibrant and colorful, and while the people in our lives certainly play a part in that, we don’t need to have a significant other for life to feel full. Don’t tell me that because I’ve never been in a relationship, I don’t understand the love you have in your heart for another person. We all love as deeply and fully as the next person, whether that love is true for a partner, friend, family, or pet. Never ever doubt that you don’t know true love, that you have yet to experience “deep” emotion simply because you’re not in a relationship.
If you are feeling the pressure from friends, coworkers, family, or anyone else to be in a relationship, or if you feel like you are missing out and not living life to the fullest because you’re on a scavenger hunt for your other half, try to remember these things:
- You’re awesome 🙂 As in just you. You don’t need anyone else to make you better!
- You are complete and whole just the way you are. A romantic relationship cannot “complete” or “fix” you. You don’t need to be completed or fixed.
- Meaningful relationships don’t have to be romantic. Instead of trying to find “the one”, work on strengthening other relationships in your life — they are just as rich, fulfilling, and vibrant.
- Some things are just meant to be. Others, not so much. Don’t try to squeeze water from a stone; don’t try to force relationships just for the sake of it. Be comfortable in your own, independent skin.
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