I am very happy with the man in my life. He ticks all the boxes, including a few I never thought about before. However, part of the total package is a little bit of baggage. And I haven’t packed light either.
This got me thinking … I am at an age where everyone around me is getting married. At the very least, my peers are in a relationship. And this got me thinking about something an ex said: as you get older, there is more of yourself to explain. It seems like everyone wants to couple up before they become even more fucked up, because, let’s be honest, a lot happens in around 30 years.
I don’t know what conditions us to seek out relationships. It manifests as early as our toddler years. Even if you claimed that boys/girls are gross and have germs, chances are that you had a secret crush. Inevitably, this resulted in serious rejection and cries of “Ewwww … You’re a girl!” or your hair being pulled, or maybe he really was a bad boy and pushed you into some mud. This is not a great start to romance.
Then, primary school and that most horrible of all occasions: Valentine’s Day. I’m pretty sure the flowers I got every year were sent by my mother and the boy I sent chocolates to never suspected it was me (I told him years later, but it was too late because he had moved to Australia). Sometimes children ‘date’. This involves sending letters to each other about how much you like each other. You never make eye contact, you never talk; you just send notes. But young love is fickle and an ex comes into the picture, wanting you back, or a new classmate takes your fancy. Now there is more rejection, someone probably feels jealous, there’s anger and disappointed tears.
A few years later, our hormones kick in and the desire to date becomes physical. Unfortunately, this is the same time that human beings go through an awkward stage, probably have pimples and little self-esteem. Teenagers not only have to figure out who they are, but also have a primal need to rub themselves against another teenager. Some manage to develop relationships (some even last a few months), others don’t (but crushes are almost as good). Any ‘love’ felt at this stage is hormone stew that somehow feels like heartache when the statistically probable breakup occurs.
So, the average person hasn’t even turned 18 yet and has had to go through all of the above. At least from 18 it becomes a little more fun. Booze is involved, lowering inhibitions. Granted it’s probably bad sex, but that doesn’t matter because you’re actually having sex. Some young adults go off to university or move out, so there is an added element of freedom. Others are still dating their highschool sweethearts. Most are dating anyone who says yes. Promiscuity (not necessarily sexual) and experimentation occur. Some ‘serious’ relationships develop and end and develop and end and develop and end.
By the time we turn 25, we’ve experienced a fair amount of drama. The urge to settle down kicks in. We become calmer and more mature. Couples celebrating their third and onwards anniversaries is as common as a white Toyota. People get married. The time is right. Life seems to be falling into place. Things don’t always work out, but that’s okay too.
Then you reach that next awkward phase. Your late 20s. A dating grey area. There is a lot of pressure to commit and be in a serious relationship. At the same time, the accumulated baggage makes it increasingly difficult to find a suitable person to date. You’re the odd one out at dinner parties, and, when you’re not, you find it challenging to explain yourself and at the same time appear to be sane (especially when you have no intention of ever getting married).
I guess the best you can hope for is finding someone who gets you and lets you be what you are, someone who isn’t terrified of your explanations or past experiences. So if my peers have that in their significant others, then it’s fine and I wish them all the best.