In my experience, the end of college felt like closing time at a bar. All of a sudden it’s time to leave. You look around to find the people you came with so you don’t have to walk home alone. Let’s be honest, no one wants to walk home alone…. nor is it safe to do so, but that’s a topic for another post. It’s scary to have to go out into the real world, try to find a job, move to a new city, and become a “real person.” It’s also scary to think about dating after college. I remember having countless conversations with my friends where they expressed a fear that the dating pool basically closes up after graduation.
“I’d better meet someone now because after college it’s a lot more difficult,” they’d say. “You can’t just walk into a bar and know that everyone goes to your school, knows someone you know, and probably won’t kill you in your sleep.”
They would express worry that the only way to meet someone after college was through online dating or at your office (which can be risky). Combine the fear of not meeting someone with the fear of braving the Real World (not the TV show, unfortunately) alone and a few of my friends were questioning whether they should stay with their current boyfriends for comfort purposes. The Real World is scary and has a lot of unknowns. The Real World Dating Pool is even scarier and has even more unknowns. Therefore, if you’re dating someone semi-decent, it would be pretty easy to just stay with that person to avoid the awkwardness and discomfort caused by new situations.
A few weeks ago I had a really interesting conversation with one of my mentors. My mentor has been divorced once and has been with her current partner for ten years (she’s 40, so saying boyfriend “feels weird”). She was talking to me about people who get married just to get married, people who get married young, etc. She explained that she knew she shouldn’t have gotten married the first time around. She had this feeling in the pit of her stomach, but she ignored it because she was young and wanted to get married and have kids. Also, the guy she was marrying seemed like the “right” type of guy to marry. She explained that her divorce ended up being a positive thing because she was able to focus on herself and her career. It also allowed her to meet her current partner. She went on to say that now she just knows that her relationship is right. I asked her about how she knows this, because I think it’s something a lot of young women are curious about. How do you know when it’s right? How can you tell if he’s The One? A lot of times people answer this question by saying “It just feels right,” or “You just know.” While that does make sense, there has to be a less infuriating and more concrete answer.
My mentor explained, “When I see him (her partner) when I’m not expecting it, I still get excited and feel butterflies. If he walks into a room and I’m not expecting it, I get this happy, smiley feeling. When I’m gone on a trip for a few days, all I want to do is come home and see him. I just miss him. It’s been ten years, but I still feel that way.” She went on to say, “You know it’s right when you can literally lie around all day and do nothing together.” I thought this was really interesting. So many relationships are great when you’re out going to concerts, taking trips, going to parties, etc. But is the relationship still fun and exciting when it’s just the two of you, alone, in the house hanging out? If you can entertain each other and make each think, that probably means you have a good foundation. If you rely on outside sources of entertainment and outside people, that’s probably not a good sign. It means you don’t have a good connection.
I wanted to share these thoughts with you, because A.) I trust the source and B.) I think it’s great advice. Much better than ” you just know.” What do you guys think?
Photo found on http://a-perfect-day.tumblr.com/page/8