A.L. wrote: “I wanted to get your opinion on the current dating scene for young adults. I’m a 19-year-old straight guy and a university student. As you may know, that’s a time and a place full of partying, one-nighters, casual sex and whatnot.
Problem is, I’m more of a romantic person. Most parties don’t interest me at all, for a few different reasons. First, I don’t like any of the music and just the concept of most parties in general. Second, and most important, the idea of staying with a bunch of different girls in the same night just doesn’t appeal to me in the slightest. It wouldn’t mean anything, in my perspective. Kind of like an empty act, without any real feeling to it. (Sounds really romantic, I know.)
Okay, I’m not saying I’ll never do these things. “Never” is a pretty strong word, but for now, I do feel a bit lost for wanting a serious relationship while surrounded by people who, as a general rule, don’t want that at all. What I’d really want is being with someone I can call my girlfriend, and make happy, and just be together and have a good, fun, meaningful time.
I do have some dating experience, but with a long-distance relationship. That’s an entirely different and complex matter on its own, so I won’t elaborate on it here.
So do you think this is only my perception, or most people my age and in my social circles really don’t want a serious relationship? What should I focus on then?”
Liz says: Once upon a time, young adults were expected to get married as soon as possible. If you reached your late twenties unmarried, your parents started worrying you’d be alone for the rest of your life and the neighbors started gossiping that maybe you were a “pervert”. But thankfully times have changed. Most of us wised up and realized our parents and grandparents got married too young, and twenty-somethings decided to spend their time getting an education, beginning careers, and having fun instead of “settling down”.
Your twenties are a great time to date without the pressure of finding “The One”. This is the time to learn more about yourself: your turn-offs, your life goals, whether or not it’s a deal-breaker if your S.O. hates thrill rides and scary movies. This is the time to learn how to be in a relationship: how to be part of a couple, how to listen better, how to fight better, how to spot Red Flags in someone’s character. But still, too many people marry the person who should’ve just been a lesson. There’s a reason the divorce rate is highest among people who got married in their late teens or early twenties.
Then there are the people who go too far the opposite direction of our grandparent’s days, equating commitment with the death of fun and having indiscriminate sex with practical strangers every weekend. Partying without commitment can be fun for a while, but usually with maturity it begins to feel empty and pointless. What’s interesting is that you’re already there.
I think a lot of your peers are somewhere in the middle. They know they aren’t ready for anything serious, but are open to a commitment if the right person comes along while they’re living it up. They’re hooking up until they find someone that makes them stop and say ‘Wait a minute here…this person is different from the rest…’
Bottom line: You be you and don’t do anything you don’t want to. Focus on your life goals, job, hobbies, and education and someone good for you will come along. I bet there are girls your age out there saying the same things you are, and you won’t find them at those parties you don’t like going to.