Is dating in your early twenties worth it?

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Carrie Bradshaw via Footwear News

My friend recently came to me crying, “he dumped me, it’s over. We booked Bali together”.

This isn’t the first time a dear friend of mine has come to me looking for answers to miraculously get their relationship up and running again. I don’t know why, but people assume I possess sound advice. Why? I don’t know. For some reason, people think I have the answers to love. It’s a classic case of the blind leading the blind, but hey if I can be a modern day Carrie Bradshaw, I’m here.

I don’t know why, but I attract meltdowns and I’ve seen a lot of them, and God forbid I’ve even been caught up in a few myself. A recent UK VICE article reported 42 percent of young people are most afraid of “never finding love”.

Despite this fear we carry, I’ve come to realise and hate to break it to you, but young love is a waste of invaluable time, that you can’t get back. 

Call me a pessimist, but I have too many things I need and want to do before I leave this earth to even really think about romance (guess that makes me an optimist as well?), and in my opinion everyone in their twenties should think alike. Unless you’re willing to drop your expectations then you might be happy, until you realise you’re kidding yourself.

So if you do decide to be in a relationship in your twenties because you just can’t fight the romance or find yourself like my friend going through a breakup because the chemistry is as dead as a doornail, or perhaps you have even settled for someone just to split the rent, whatever the circumstance, here are a few tips from yours truly.

  • CLICHÉ ALERT – Before you think about it, do realise that being in a relationship isn’t all fun and games. In fact, you literally will become a lot like the other person, subconsciously you’ll find you start to say the same things, think the same and even act the same, in extreme cases you may even find yourself wearing the same clothes on ‘Sundays’. Therefore it’s possible to lose yourself (exhibit A). I’ve seen this happen over and over again. So pick very wisely, and always be your own person and do your own thing (most of the time) even if you are ‘together’, live somewhat seperate lives. Spending less time together yet quality time is usually ideal so later on you don’t resent them for exhibit A – losing yourself.
  • NEVER beg – under no circumstance should you ever beg for a relationship, (really hope my friend reads this). Once it’s over, it’s over. Don’t forget this. Be cool. This is completely embarrassing and a lack of self-respect (I will get to that).
  • Do HAVE self respect – at all times. Accept defeat when warranted and be grateful it happened. One experience done and dusted, now on to the next. If anyone’s getting out of here alive at least let it be you, leave with your head held high and move on swiftly with your big exciting life. 
  • Know that you actually do have all the time in the world (like in your late twenties) and forcing something sub-par is not the answer anyway. Do you even like that person anyway or are you unfulfilled and bored? Spending time alone is crucial to self-development. Be patient and do your own thing, kick some goals, find fulfilment in purpose and eventually what’s meant to be for you will be.  

 

On the flip side, if you are indeed lucky in love like 26 year old Melbourne born Natalie Fraser who has been with her boyfriend Billy for over six years, being in a relationship for these two was drama-free and happened with ease, 

“Neither of us have really ‘dated’ or tried to meet people, we were lucky that we met and became besties first which then turned into a relationship after a year of friendship. Of course we’ve had chats about potentially “missing out” on our single years and we both went on solo Europe trips where we had an agreement we could be single, but neither of us met anyone worth it enough. I think it’s been so worth it because we’ve been able to share so many experiences and have so many memories together. I think being best friends first really helped us have a strong foundation and even though we have hard times too at the end of the day we know it would be pretty hard for someone else to compare to your bff, and there’s a lot more to lose so there’s more reason to stay and work through the hard times.”

Natalie and Billy together for six years / image used with permission

Melbourne male model/actor Drew Anthony 31 told me dating in his thirties is now a totally different experience to what he remembers the game being like in his twenties.

“We go to such great lengths not to interact unless we really want to. I guess I’ve stopped playing the games that I used to. I’m far more direct now. Personally, romance isn’t dead. I like dating, I like going for a drink with someone. I don’t miss meeting people in clubs though.”

Drew Anthony / used with permission

“Social media has changed dating. You can ‘research’ a person so I can probably figure out what you like to eat and do before the first date. Some might call it cheating, others may call it saving time. Tinder and other dating apps are a weird one, I never really got around them. Then again they can blur the line between dating and just looking to hook up.”

And that’s why you can wait and spare yourself a lot of the drama as it plays out in your twenties. In the meantime go have fun and relax, don’t over think things. Do all the things you used to dream of doing until you got distracted along the way by that boy (or girl) that you think is the be all or end all.

If you choose to ignore my advice, more power and respect to you, go out and live your best life anyway and see for yourself; for living is what we should all be doing, at least for the story later on. 

So if you do decide to work through the hard times it can definitely be worth it, otherwise as I told my friend, if you just can’t get over them and they’re well over you, make a list of all the things you dislike: ‘doesn’t brush teeth regularly, lives in a basement’. You get the idea.

“It doesn’t mean fuck-all to me until…until you live it. That’s why I never understood growing up with, ‘don’t do this, don’t do that,’ it’s all about don’ts, and I was like how the fuck do you know who you are and what works for you if you don’t find out where the edge is, where’s your line? You’ve got to step over it to know where it is.” – Brad Pitt via Nitch

Now I can’t get my friends or your relationship up and running again, but if you are thinking of trying that my best advice is to get your own life up and running, for it all starts with you, first and foremost. 

Your twenties is for experimenting with ideas, experiencing things and going through all your crazy phases. It’s pretty much the last hoorah before life gets extra, extra adult-like, so enjoy it and don’t stress the boy/girl troubles, because there is plenty of time for that. 

“I’m sorry, I can’t, don’t hate me.” via Daily Edge

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