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the pressure to date

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Isn't it silly that if you're under 25, people will tell you that you're too young to get married, but if you go throughout high school and college without a relationship, they think something's wrong with you?

I'm not ashamed to admit, I've always been single. I'm happy that way right now. I don't even think it's a conscious decision; I just haven't run across a guy yet that knocks me off my feet and it seems silly to go on dates with fellows I'm only half or not at all interested in. An uncle once told me he could see me marrying the first or second guy I dated--not out of desperation, mind you, but because I'm not someone to invest in a relationship I don't see heading anywhere.

So why is it that high schoolers, particularly girls, feel obligated to dive into dating so early on? It seemed that when I was that age, all my friends had new relationships every other week. I only know of one that has continued into the present day. I'm not saying that you can't have fun, but are you doing it to satisfy social expectations? It feels like an unnecessary hurdle and I often felt embarrassed by the petty romantic squabbles that infiltrated the hallways. It actually put me off the idea of dating. What's interesting is how modern technology has changed the dynamic. I hate talking on the phone and generally can't be bothered to text. Yet half of relationships, particularly in high school and college, are halfway conducted on cell phones.

I get frustrated by the mentality of romance these days. When relationships become a requirement for social status, particularly among young adults, it demeans the value of the relationship itself. You're just going through the ritual of having a boyfriend. Waiting doesn't mean you're prudish or you haven't been asked out. I have been, I've just never said yes--but I did maintain friendships with the boys who asked. Isn't that important too? It's just dumb that dating is commonly taken to be a step towards maturity, and yet the act is so often conducted immaturely.

Media has a lot to do with it, pressuring kids to get in relationships prematurely. What do you think?

Edit: the more I think about it the more I figure that premature relationships are basically a vindication of desirability. Having a partner is taken by a large chunk of society to mean that you have attractive features, making you desirable, which is what most young girls want to be. Yet this drives them to jump into things early on and get into potentially damaging and usually pointless situations, just so they can feel wanted.

Sorry for ranting

Updated 03-27-2009 at 06:27 PM by higley

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  1. mtpspur's Avatar
    Well thought out and reasoned. To be honest I was very desperate when a young man to have a girl friend in High School (the one I could have had I did not want--at the time) and thougt that would validate my existance so your blog touched a nerve. I strongly believe you are on the right track about things. Stay on course.
  2. Dark Muse's Avatar
    I have never dated never had an inclination or desire to do so. The only relationships I have had have been long distance.
  3. a_little_wisp's Avatar
    I have dated twice.

    One guy for two days.
    Another for a month - though it was long distance. They were bad, and both times because I was under the pressure of friends and family to date.

    No, no, I'm done with that. It's all true, everything you say - it's scary, and it's wrong that it has become something that people should just 'do'. Teenagers today have forgotten to live for *themselves*. Every song on the radio is a love song or a really bad rap song about sex. People want love to be so much a part of their lives that they'll settle for the cheapest versions of it.

    My little sister would cry, in the early days of high school, when she couldn't wear the outfit she wanted because it was in the wash - image was THAT much to her.

    I have so many friends who, when they aren't dating, feel like they're completely lost. They *need* someone - and that stems from the inability to be comfortably alone with themselves.

    I don't want to date and - sorry for getting personal, I'm just way open - I really, really prize my innocence. Dating is pointless to me, unless I see that this man has intelligence, humor, has a goal for himself and love for life, unless I see that I could REALLY really make this last! I'm waiting for love that comes once in a lifetime - if I just dated for the fun of it, it wouldn't be real, and I'd be hurting the guy.

    As for cellphones: "Yet half of relationships, particularly in high school and college, are halfway conducted on cell phones." --- It's true. People hide behind text messaging nowadays, way too afraid of confrontation. It's all wrong. Nothing's as deep as it should be.

    Nice post!
  4. Virgil's Avatar
    A great blog Higley. I have told the young people here, especially the teen girls, many times to not get wrapped up in relationships. It will only complicate an already complicated and hormone intense youth. There will be plenty of time for dating later on. You girls that answered here each have a good head on your shoulders.
  5. higley's Avatar
    mtpspur: we all go through times when we figure we can only be validated by others, whether it's romantically or financially or whatever. It's a hard thing to shake! Relationships are only one venue, I'm beginning to realize. Thanks for your input

    Dark Muse: good for you, being confident in yourself.

    wisp: I admit to suffering image issues too. What's funny is that when I got confident and cared less about image, I actually looked a lot better. "People want love to be so much a part of their lives that they'll settle for the cheapest versions of it." Very well phrased. And it's great that you prize your innocence--if more people valued themselves like that things could be easier for them. The misconception is that valuing yourself is conceited; it's not, it's healthy to like yourself.
  6. higley's Avatar
    You've got your own head on straight, Virg What is interesting is, they know they have plenty of time--before they get married. But when it comes to dating, they're in a panic to start.
  7. skib's Avatar
    Couldn't have said it better myself, Virgil.
  8. motherhubbard's Avatar
    I have to agree with Virgil. The more I read your blog the cooler I think you are.
  9. Virgil's Avatar
    Higley, you are such a pretty young lady, there is no reason to not feel confident.
  10. Zee.'s Avatar
    Higley, though I understand where you are coming from I see your post is almost defensive.
    Almost like you're saying those who date at an early age are pressured in to it, influenced in to it, etc. While you have made your decision, they have made theirs. Everybody is different, Higley. For some it just means having a companion, a partner, whether that be simply out of loneliness or for enjoyment. Others choose to wait.

    Each to their own.
  11. jon1jt's Avatar
    And if you're not married long after you graduate college and still quite happy dating or having an open relationship, people will look at you as...well, strange. Oh you know what I mean, you're not like everybody else. Especially married couples, rarely will they tell you this openly. Rather, they'll make references. "Oh that's great for her, to each their own." They need fresh recruits to keep up the hoax. They've made great investments, ya know.

    Let us be kooky, then.
  12. 1n50mn14's Avatar
    I always wondered the same thing. I've always been a bit disgusted by the girls who took their two week relationships seriously, and went around the block more than a few times by the time high school was done. I've dated. One person. Since grade ten.
  13. NikolaiI's Avatar
    I agree with you Higley in the sense that... I think it is good to really know oneself before getting married. One should settle at least a little bit oneself before becoming attached, in the sense of a life-partner. Just my opinion. Of course it's not right for everyone. I guess I am sort of of Lima's opinion, early or later, whatever happens, you know. Whatever fate decides. I have a fiance. If I had fallen in love sooner I may have decided to get married sooner. I can't say how it would have gone. I do have faith in my fiance, and I think that a deep and meaningful relationship is quite necessary for a marriage to work. If that happens when one is young then so much the better, although I do think it is rare.
  14. jon1jt's Avatar
    It's bugging me a bit lately. The fact that in NYC they have the Puerto Rican Day Parade, the Veteran's Day Parade, the Macy's Day Parade, the St. Paddie's Parade, the African Parade. Gays have their own parade and even managed to find some space in the St. Paddie's parade and I still don't know why.

    Why doesn't any major US city have a parade that commemorates the single life??

    Single people of the world, unite!