Written by Jasmin
It’s been a year since I broke up with my last boyfriend, and that anniversary of sorts has had me thinking lately about college relationships and their longevity. My boyfriend and I were the stereotypical “high school sweethearts.” We met for the first time in a Senior Theology class, fell in lust at first site (well, he did) and were a school power couple: the captain of the football team and the Spanish Honor Society vice president. Everyone talked about how “perfect” we were, and how we’d get married, have lots of kids, live happily ever after, the works. Of course we planned to keep dating in college, even though we were both going to out-of state universities.
We loved each other, and our relationship hadn’t really suffered any hardships. We didn’t, however, talk about the distant future. I once told him, “Don’t ever mention wanting to marry me unless you are about to get down on one knee!” It sounds harsh, but I’d had too many friends whose boyfriends wanted to be together forever—until another cute chick walked by. Hell, my best friend and her boyfriend always talked about getting married, and they broke up every other week! That was a pretty smart move on my part, because we broke up after 18 months, right before the end of Freshman year. Of course I look back at that relationship and cringe at some of the mistakes I made, but I’m really relieved that our parting was a breakup and not a broken engagement.
It turns out that my line of thinking isn’t too common among many of my friends. A quick browse through my Facebook friends yields plenty of profiles in which the relationship status is “Married,” though I only know one couple my age for which this is true. Some girls I know talk about their boyfriends and their “issues” as if they are already married with kids and a mortgage. And of course I have the friend (or 2 or 3) who is clinging to a dysfunctional relationship for dear life. I must give off a “Mama Bear” vibe, because I tend to be on the receiving end of long confessionals about relationship problems, and my shoulder is the substitute for Kleenex.
Don’t get me wrong, I like being there for my friends, but I’ve noticed a trend that makes me sad: So many women my age feel like their first serious relationship has to be their only serious relationship. Some to the point that they’ll put up with years of crap for it. I admit, this is one of my pet peeves (hence, why I had to jump off the Blair/Chuck Gossip Girl train), because I feel like the girl is most often the person who gets hurt in that situation, which doesn’t work out more often than not. If something goes wrong in the relationship, we put so much pressure on ourselves to fix it, to the point that we don’t recognize when the relationship is toxic or just not working.
At 20 years old, I don’t feel like I need to find the person I want to spend the rest of my life with right now, and I’m tired of young women putting up with verbal/physical abuse, infidelity, or just plain crap to salvage a relationship that’s probably run its course. Society tells us, “Hold on to that man; you may never find another one,” but college is a time to grow and change and live. So no, I won’t be planning our wedding, or naming our kids, or ditching my friends to do his laundry. I’ll be working on me, so I can be my best self when I meet him.