"I saw a couple walking together, arms around each other, and for a split second, I thought to myself....I want what they have." "It's a sign," said my best friend Alanna.
"Are we sure about that?"
A report released by Bowling Green State University's National Center for Marriage and Family Research found that the marriage rate has been steadily declining in the last century. The average age for a woman to get married is at 27 years old, the highest point in over a century. While the rates for marriage couples are declining, the rates for cohabitation are rising. Okay, I know datas aren't the most amusing things on this planet, but it can definitely gives us some perspectives on the operation behind this millennial age. In summary, being single is actually the new norm.
In spite of this progression, I still find myself completely losing track of the number of times I've sat at a family dinner table and having to deal with my relatives bombarding me with questions such as, "When are you going to get a boyfriend?" "Why are you still single?" Even some of my friends are convinced that I would make the ultimate 'cat lady.' As if being a cat lady is that bad in the first place. If I wanted to live in my fancy shmancy studio apartment with a whole bunch of fluffy white cats then so be it. It's my life. It's my choice. I guess what I'm trying to say here is that I am sick and tired of having to explain myself and justify my current relationship status. How is it anybody's business that I have chosen to live out my early twenties as a single, independent, free-spirited women? When you see two couples who are together, people often respond with, "Omg you guys are so cute!" "I wish I'm that lucky!" "You two are just perfect!" Yes, great for them. I have plenty of friends who are in committed relationships right now and I commend them for that. They are cute. They're very lucky. And they may or may not be perfect for each other. As a committed girlfriend once-upon-a-time ago, I have experienced the pains and struggles of being someone else's other half. And that's the problem. I should haven't been someone's other half. I should have gone through life being my whole and complete self. But whatever, lesson learned. I guess it's just nice for me to fully admit that I have reached that stage in my life where I enjoy the casualness that comes with dating. No title. No silly Facebook status. No stress. No fights. I get to go through each day without constantly thinking, missing, loving, and wanting someone and it feels absolutely amazing.
I went holiday shopping with a girl friend yesterday and she asked me, "It has been six months now and he hasn't asked you to be his girlfriend yet?" Although I could understand her concern, I found it to be incredible hard to explain to her why we haven't made it official. Even now, I still don't have an answer for her. All I could say was, "I like what we have now, so why change it?"
And so for the longest time, I found myself feeling a great amount of guilty for wanting to get to know someone even though his friend had a mild crush on me or talking to two people who I found to be equally fascinating at the same time. That whole old-school mentality pushed me to focus on one person and one person only and that anything else would mean that I am being a bad person or a 'player' of some sort. Okay, yes...being a one-man woman is great, but dating in this generation is a whole other ballgame. It's as much about exploration as it is about commitment. It is as much about stability as it is about spontaneity. Overall, it requires a great level of risk and consumption of time, energy, and money. We're all aware of this and this why it is important to make smart choices when it comes to the men and women we want to spend time with. For starters, I like rational, self-aware, uninhibited men. That's why I tend to avoid the overly sassy, self depreciating clinger. We've only gone out on one dinner date. You should not be telling me that you want to introduce me to your mom, dad, brother, sister, and cousin. While I love being around other people's families, these type of steps is still a big deal to me, which explains why I've never introduced any of the guys I've dated to my friends. My romantic life and personal life stays separate until otherwise. I like looking back, looking forward, and looking at the current situation and feel at ease knowing that I have taken things slow. Though my parents and relatives will never understand it, in time, they will realize that I've gone about it it the right way.
I know very well that you can probably sense a little bit of my frustration as you are reading this because quite frankly, I am pretty frustrated. I have officially ran out of reasons to give to people whenever they ask me about my status so I'm going to answer it through this post and settle any curiosity that you or others may have. I am happy. I am not someone else's girl or girlfriend. I do have really amazing people in my life. If you want to know who they are, all you have to do is stalk me a little harder. I don't keep the people I care about a secret. And trust me, when the day comes when my attitude about all of this changes, you will know. Your friends will know. And maybe your cousins as well. But for the time being, let's just enjoy riding the waves together.