(Especially in your early 20s…)
Disclaimer: This is a THEORY I have, which I just recently formulated, so take what you want from it… or not.
So I imagine you guys already know that I’m a love/relationship junkie, and one of my favorite things to do is wonder and “research” about related issues and topics by reading books and articles and related watching videos. But perhaps the most interesting mode of research for me is talking to people (mostly friends and family), sharing ideas and experiences and asking their opinions on things.
A series of pretty interesting events that have taken place over the past few months to me and some of my friends really got me thinking about the intricacies of dating in your 20s, and given the similarities and patterns of our experiences, I came up with the theory that dating in your 20s is very likely a waste of your time, and this particularly holds true for girls as opposed to guys.
Firstly, I refer to it as a “waste of time” because in my opinion, relationships exist ultimately for the purpose of finding a life partner, i.e. they should ideally end in marriage; therefore, any relationship that does not end in marriage is a “waste of time” (note the air quotes). Obviously, it is not a total waste of your time or resources because there are a few things that these failed relationships can teach you about the other person, love, life, and more importantly about yourself. But since the ultimate end goal was not achieved then, you wasted your time.
Secondly, I think this applies more to girls than it does to guys because given our societal upbringing and conditioning, especially in this part of the world, girls are more likely than guys to want, hope, pray and put in the necessary effort to ensure that whatever relationship they get into would lead to a marriage (for the most part). In other words, marriage is usually somewhere at the back of our minds when we’re dating someone. Guys on the other hand, are very likely just looking to while away time, play around, enjoy the company and care (and sex) of whichever girl they are dating at that point, and then move on. And I don’t even think it’s conscious or intentional—I think it’s simply because a lot of guys in their twenties are not:
- emotionally mature enough to handle relationships
- looking for serious, long-term commitment
- anywhere close to thinking about marriage
So what ends up happening in a lot of cases is:
Boy meets girl. Boy and girl like each other. They start dating and might fall in love; everything’s going great until they start having some problems, big and small. Frustration sets in, communication and trust issues develop, and cheating may occur. “Breaks” are taken, one person asks for some “time” or “space” away from the other, they get back together, ride through the storm and… they eventually break up.
During this period, excuses are made for the other person, nasty things might be said about each other, trust is broken, countless tears are shed, there are feelings of betrayal, and eventually a heart or two get broken.
Now, if you’re lucky, all of this takes place in a matter of months, but if you’re not, this goes on for two, three, four years or even more! And you basically waste your entire youth on someone you won’t end up marrying. So, what has essentially happened is that you’ve helped prepare and groom this person into the perfect spouse for someone else out there to come and marry them “ready-made”, which sucks.
So what am I saying exactly? That no one should date in their twenties? Nope. All I’m saying is that if you happen to find yourself in a relationship at that stage of your life, then be prepared for the possibility of it not ending in marriage, especially if you’re looking for serious long term commitment and the person you’re dating is nowhere close to being on the same page with you. You’ll know the signs when you see them. If not, please have conversations about these things and then decide whether or not to proceed with the relationship. Obviously, there’s no hard and fast rules to these things, so there’s no guarantee that things will work out in your favor even if you do all the “right” things, so just remember that. Also, there are those cases of college or even high school sweethearts that date all through their late teens/early twenties and eventually get married. That could be your story, you never know.
Good luck out there as you traverse the realms of love, emotions and heart.
Previously published on BellaNaija