Ready to talk about dating, relationships, and where I’m currently at in life? It’s a long one, so prepare yourself…
Growing up In New York City and going to school in Arlington, Virginia made me see two different outlooks on life when it comes to “settling down”. I’m not here to tell you what you should and shouldn’t be doing with you’re life. But I am going to share some things with you to show you why I feel a certain way about settling down and relationship thoughts.
Ever since I was young, there was never any pressure to get married and settle down at such a young age. My parents were totally okay with me having boyfriends (I was a serial dater. I think I had boyfriends from 8th grade-graduating college). But they never talked to me about marriage or settling down. They always simply said I was too young to think about these types of serious things. And in a way, I definitely thank them for that. I’m in NO way saying that anyone who gets married when they’re younger “did it wrong”, but this is simply part of my relationship thoughts and what has worked for me. This is how I’ve personally enjoyed living my life from a teenager through my early 20s.
When I went to college in Virginia, I was introduced to a new way of thinking. I was meeting more and more couples who were thinking about getting married right after college (many of them are happily married and some even have children, YAY!). It always made me question my own values and the relationship thoughts I had had and if this was something I was ready to do. Of course, when I was seriously dating my boyfriend from college, I was thinking about those “next steps”. We lived in two different states, and lived two completely different lives (even though I didn’t realize it at the time). But, I thought I wanted it to work, so I did whatever I could to do that. In the end, I’m SO happy it didn’t.
Let’s back up a bit.
When I graduated high school, I was dating a boy for about 3 years, before we broke up a few weeks into my freshman year of college. Shortly after, I started dating my ex-boyfriend. I consider this my first “real” relationship. We basically lived together since we were on the same campus and usually in the same building. Things moved more quickly than I thought, which was terrible for my social life. Before I knew it, I wasn’t having “the college experience” that I wanted. Yes, I hung out with my roommate and friends, but I rarely went to parties. My boyfriend was an RA, so it definitely wasn’t a good thing if we were seen at parties. So we just hung around. Before I knew it, we were in a terrible place and were on and off until I graduated from college. And even when I got home, we tried making things work. After being somewhat miserable (relatively speaking) for most of my college experience, I decided it was time to move on now that I was back home and about to start my career in the fashion industry.
And then something cool happened. I started having fun.
I was hanging out with my friends. I was talking to whatever boy I wanted to. I was going out, staying out late and just living my life. This is what I wanted to do in my early 20s. I was 22 years old and just loving my life. I had a job, great friends, and a supportive family. This was also the first time I was single for more than a week (LOL), so it was fun to just be Dana and not someone’s girlfriend. I didn’t have to worry about anyone but myself. It was so great.
Then it was Memorial Day Weekend of 2015.
My friends and I frequently visited the Jersey Shore (and yes, it’s exactly what it was like on the TV show). A few of them had gotten a shore house, so I headed down there with them on the kick off of the summer: MDW. And of course I met a boy within five minutes of walking into the girls’ house. Instant attraction. Almost too quickly. Long, long story short, it was NOT a good situation. We went from 0-100 real quick, without ever being in a real relationship. For a decent portion of the summer, I felt like I was going through another version of relationship hell…until a guy named Matt walked (well, drunkenly stumbled into my life). Suddenly my world changed.
I was 23 years old when Matt and I met/started dating, so I felt like I still needed to live it up. I think he did too. I was genuinely having the time of my life with both my friends and getting to know this cool guy. Before I knew it, Matt and I became inseparable. In a great way. Now, almost two years later (our anniversary is August 26th!), I feel like we’re in such a great place. But are we ready to get married?
I can’t even do my own laundry (thanks, mom), let alone take care of another human being the way a wife is supposed to. Matt and I have never even talked about the topic of marriage. And it’s fantastic. That makes me feel like we’re on the same page. I know how much we love and care for each other. I know how much we value our relationship, and I can say I don’t think it will end. He truly is a fantastic human being and I know how lucky I am. But, I’m still not ready to “rush” into things just because we’re getting older (Matt is 27). I know so many people my age are getting engaged and married, but I actually don’t have any close friends who are engaged. It’s almost weird that no one in my close friend group isn’t engaged. Obviously not in a bad way.
When I think about my life, I don’t automatically think about marriage. It’s just not what I’m looking for right now. I can’t say that I’m not having fun though. It’s just a “different” kind of fun. Which I think is a great thing. Matt and I spend a ton of time together, yet we still make time for our friends. To be honest this was one of the biggest reasons why I love Matt. He is a firm believer in making time for BOTH your significant other and your friends. Back in college, I definitely neglected my friendships because of a relationship.
Do I still go out with my girlfriends and stay out until 4AM? Yeah, occasionally. There are nights when Matt and I are in bed at 9:30 on a Friday with a bottle of wine and Netflix. I enjoy sitting at a bar with some of my friends and just having a conversation instead of a wild night. All three of these scenarios are perfection for me. It’s exactly how I want to be living my life right now.
All of us are different. I know there are so many of you who are married and are living life exactly the way YOU want to – which is amazing. I want everyone to be so happy. But that’s also the beauty of this: There is no right or wrong way to live life when it comes to relationships. If you’re single and living it up every single night, that’s awesome. If you’re married and loving your life with your husband, that’s probably so fun. And if you’re just having fun being in a relationship, that’s also great too. In any scenario, the only thing that matters is that YOU ARE HAPPY. You shouldn’t force yourself into happiness just because of the way society (or the area you live in) wants you to live your life. Also, no one should pressure you to do anything. When someone asks me when I’m getting married, I straight up tell them the truth about how it ain’t happening for a long time. I’m pretty sure my mother also has the same response. And mothers are always right, right?
If you’re still with me, PHEW. That was a lot. I went on a rant because I don’t think I’ve ever thoroughly explained where I’m at in life as far as relationship thoughts and dating. I always felt the need to be “private”, but I know there are so many of you reading from different part of the world and country. We all lead such different lives and I love hearing about what is working for you and your life. So if you’re willing to share a little more about your life, I’d LOVE to hear it!
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