Why I Won't Marry My 2016 Boyfriend... And That's Okay

We collegiettes all have that one friend who is absolutely boy-crazy. I mean, everyone has those days where we watch The Notebook in awe wondering how men went from James Dean and Harrison Ford to aggressive meninists. However, I am talking about that one girl you know who is either plotting the marriage of her and the boy that sits next to her in class or sobbing grossly to Someone Like You. As her friend, you lend her a listening ear and feed her ice cream by the bucket, but in the back of your mind you know she’ll never take your advice. Your boy-crazy friend will date any type of guy for a handful of reasons, whether it is loneliness, boredom, societal expectations, pressure from her family, or because she thinks it is what you’re supposed to do in college. And it doesn’t matter what his personality is; your boy-crazy friend just seems to want a partner.

Before a few days ago, that is the stereotype I thought only did what transpired on a crisp December girls’ night in with a few friends I had met in my classes. We were sitting around my friend’s apartment expecting to have a good time, until the boy-crazy one of the group broke out in tears. She began to talk about her latest obsession – a guy from her hometown about to enlist in boot camp – and how he admitted he was seeing several other girls while leading her on. As her friend I felt awful, and the group was trying to console her, when she suddenly professed what her New Year’s resolution was going to be.

“I’m tired of going out with jerks,” she told us. “I start dating a guy I think is nice, and then he turns out to be someone he isn’t.” To this we all nodded, and expected her to say something along the lines of wanting to find who she is this year or taking time off from dating entirely. Instead, my friend finished with, “That’s why I am only going to start dating guys I see as seriously being my future husband.”

I couldn’t tell what was more painful: my jaw and stomach hitting the floor at the same time, or the fact that all the other girls cheered her on, and took up the declaration as well. They began to talk about how they needed to get more serious with their love lives, and if they couldn’t see themselves being with a guy in matrimony, they wouldn’t go on even the most casual of dates with them.

It wasn’t like my boy-crazy friend had ever taken my advice before (he’s not calling you over at his house this late because he misses you and it’s romantic, sweetie) so I felt compelled to stay silent. I figured that she would surely realize what a slippery slope that would take her down, so I assumed the ritual of putting on a chick flick and letting her vent about how her next boyfriend would be so different than her last.

Except to my surprise, my boy-crazy friend wasn’t backing down. Over the next few days she was posting more pictures than usual of happily ever after weddings and picturesque teens from the 50’s sharing malts with Marilyn Monroe quotes under them. I shrugged it off as her romanticizing whatever movie she may have just seen, until she posted something from Pinterest that attested just how genuine her New Year’s resolution truly was.

The picture (shown here) was a smiling couple with their arms wrapped around each other, and bold block letters across their torsos. The quote said: “If I date you, the goal is to marry you. Build with you. Grow with you. I’m not dating just to pass time, I see potential in you.”

I couldn’t hold back any longer. Apparently none of my friends saw the atrocious mindset that comes along with dating with the intent to marry them right off the bat and planning a forever-future at the ripe age of nineteen. Of course it is important to have moral standards when in a relationship, and you shouldn’t commit to anyone out of any reason other than you have genuine feelings for each other. However, it is unhealthy to willingly expect that level of commitment at the start of a new relationship. And for the sake of anyone else who has this ridiculous New Year’s resolution, I am here to feed you both ice cream and the truth.

Consider Past Relationships

If you’ve come to the point where you’ve decided to only date someone you want to one day settle down with, do not do it because all of your relationships have been short-lived. So often hopeless romantics meet someone and begin idealizing everything about them. Love truly is blind, and judgements are often clouded in the first few months of dating. The way he fumes whenever another guy stares at you in public may seem cute and protective at first, but could be an underlying streak of jealousy and narcissism.

When my boy-crazy friend said she dated men who ended up with a darker personality or different intentions, she forgot to weigh in the fact that she was getting serious with someone she didn’t fully know. Jumping in to a relationship comes with several drawbacks as opposed to waiting to commit to someone after a longer time, which mostly includes finding out certain pet-peeves and differences between you that are inconsolable.

In summation, if you think dating should include planning a future together, avoid so just because you haven’t planned for the future with past boyfriends. Adding even more commitment just creates pressure when you should be slowing down and taking the time to get to know this new person in your life.

You’re Probably Going to Change

One of my favorite Humans of New York posts is of a smiling elderly woman rocking a brown leather jacket adorned with pink carnations. Her hair is wild, her jewelry is loud, and she’s basically my #SeniorGoals. The caption under her free-spirited picture says: “When I was nineteen, my girlfriend and I were going to study in Paris. Our boyfriends came to the docks to see us off. Right as we were getting on the ship, my friend’s boyfriend said to her: ‘If you go, I won’t wait for you.’ So she turned around and decided to stay. My fiancé saw this and told me: 'I won’t wait for you either.’ I said: 'Don’t!’”

The lesson to be learned by this is that if she had chosen her boyfriend over the chance to further her education abroad, she would have missed out on those experiences. In college we as young adults are attempting to find our passions, interests, and even ourselves. We have our whole lives to settle down, but only these four brief years to live the student lifestyle.

I am sure that this woman became even more cultured than before she set sail abroad, which leaves me to my next point: in our early twenties, we are going to change as people. I am also sure your personality is not the same as it was beginning high school, nor is it the same when you began junior high. If you do not open yourself up to new opportunities and experiences like this Humans of New York woman’s friend did, you miss out on growing as an individual.

This is not to say that dating someone stunts being able to find yourself, but it may cause conflict when you’re viewing your relationship as some sort of long haul. If you applied for your masters and were accepted out of state, a partner that is looking to marry you one day may not want to move at all. But since you’re putting a boyfriend’s feelings ahead of furthering yourself, you might decline the school to stay closer to him.

Not only is planning to root yourself as one entity toxic to your personal growth, but you may not even like the person they have become after college. Investing emotional energy in picturing living forever with someone will only hurt you when your partner has developed in to someone you barely recognize after four years of a college experience. They may have taken up different hobbies, explored new religions, or majorly changed their career aspirations. And if you’ve been picturing moving in to a white picket fence with them after you’ve both thrown up your graduation caps, it will be difficult to decide if staying with them is beneficial.

The pressure to stay the kind of person they fell in love with doesn’t do any of you justice. As a young adult, one of your main focuses should be developing yourself as the best person you can be. Because of that, you shouldn’t feel guilty for drifting away from a boyfriend as you gain life experience and realize the two of you are not compatible. Assuming you were going to walk down the aisle towards him at one point only makes moving on more confusing and hurtful.

The Importance of Casual Dating

I’ve already explained that if you’ve resorted to husband-hunting, it may be because you’re relationships have been short-lived. I also pointed out that personal growth is important, and should not be stunted by wanting to spend a lifetime with a boyfriend you may not even recognize after graduation. However, this in no way means that you shouldn’t date! In fact, putting yourself out there is the best way to get to know what you like and dislike in potential partners.

Next time a guy asks you on a date, don’t consider whether or not you’d want to take his last name. The point of dating is finding compatibility, and you should save the heavy stuff for later. When you take the time to step back, alleviate the pressures of finding a relationship, and just go out to have fun with someone, you’ll realize a lot about the kind of people you want to get serious with. You will especially be glad that you didn’t jump right ahead to being Facebook official when you find out the two of you have irreconcilable differences.

And as always, stay true to yourself. You’d be surprised what waiting for the right person to come along will feel like.

Why I'm Not Planning on Marrying My 2016 Boyfriend

I have no plans on marrying my next boyfriend. It isn't because I won't care about him, or that I couldn't picture us living a life together after college. I won't make plans to marry anyone because the year of 2016 is the year I dedicate to myself. I want to join new clubs, make new friends, study abroad, and plan for my post-graduation career without compromises. 

This article definitely isn't bashing relationships or commitment, and I know that you can still live your own life while having a boyfriend. However, I think it's time the boy-crazy girls of the world realize that there is no reason to jump into a relationship and change their aspirations for someone they're expecting to never change.

If your New Years resolution was to get more serious about your dating life, I implore you to change it. 2016 should be the year you find yourself.

 

Photo credit: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4, Image 5, Image 6