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Everyone dreams of finding that person out there who is their soul mate: the person who finishes your sentences, knows your thoughts, and meets your every need. We call this person “the One.”
The process begins in high school. We start dating and have a few pitfalls which we call “relationships.” We make mistakes, we think we’ve got a grip on it, and then we go to college and know with absolute certainty that this time, we’re going to find the one. We’re convinced that we’ll soon be married and live happily ever after.
(CU Independent illustration/Robert R. Denton)
The pressure is on, but it shouldn’t have to be.
When you meet someone who has had two or three long relationships when you’ve only had short ones, I know that can make you feel jealous and panicked. I know that tightness in your chest when you get to college and wonder if you’ll finally meet someone who can level with you.
I’m not here to give you relationship advice. But realize that dating for the long term is not the only way. There are a thousand and one ways to have a relationship—why do you think so many people write self-help books about them?
Relationships are messy, complicated and completely individual to each and every person. Some people are just built for having two or three year relationships. Some of us aren’t. That’s okay. But that expectation can put a damper on some really great opportunities.
The most important thing you need to know is that dating around and being considered slutty is not the same thing. I know we learn in high school the relationship process is much like a recipe. Step one: have a crush. Step two: ask them out. Step three: do not stray. But this was because high school was a social fish bowl. We’re in the ocean now, and you’re going to be meeting lots of different kinds of fish. Feel free to test the waters and go on a date or two without committing to anything.
Think of college as a time to truly learn who you are, what you are capable of and what you want. We spend every day making connections. Start noticing the connections you are coming back to again and again. Note personality traits that you enjoy. Maybe he makes you laugh so hard you spit food all over the table, or maybe she challenges you to stay on your toes. Play around with variety. Sample people as you would sample wine or coffee, and savor each taste.
Remember to have fun. If being with someone isn’t fun, then it isn’t worth it. Be kind, be gracious, but don’t put yourself into a situation that makes you want to shoot yourself in the foot. Remember that you basically live on a town-sized campus full of people. You won’t meet them all, but you’ll meet a lot of them. Enjoy that.
Don’t be afraid to be brave, bold and maybe even a bit brazen. Put yourself out there. Climb out of your comfort zone. Go on adventures with people. Explore Boulder, and explore each other. Even if it doesn’t work, you can proudly say that you made an effort.
Remember that there are lots of first times out there: first dances, first kisses, first dates. Have as many of them as you can.
Above all, there is no rule that says you have to be married and settled by the time you’re 26. There is no minimum to the number of relationships you can have. And there is no limit to the amount of experiences you can have. I checked.
So get out there.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Hannah Morrison at Hannah.firstname.lastname@example.org.
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