“Wait, what?” I whisper-yell early on a Saturday morning while the three of my four roommates are sleeping. My fourth roommate had just told me that a friend of hers from home, another 20-year-old girl, had just gotten engaged to a boyfriend that she has had for about a year.
Relationships are great, and ones that turn serious enough to turn into marriages are even better. What I found to be the craziest part of what my roommate told me was not that her friend was engaged, but that her friend and her fiancé are 20 years old. I am also 20 years old, and all the guys that I know think that the word “commitment” is gag worthy and the word “marriage” isn’t even in their vocabulary.
Now, you may think that I am actually just jealous of these girls that are in awesome and committed relationships because I work hard every day to make sure the professor that I see in class three times a week remembers my name. I’m not jealous, though, I’m just critical. My problem does not lie in wishing that I was a girl still in college with a ring on my finger, my problem is that I personally think that young people are getting married so quickly because they feel that they need to.
I have friends who have been in committed relationships for extended periods of time; one friend is creeping up on her five-year anniversary with a boy she met when we were sophomores in high school. My point is that she has been in a relationship, a healthy and committed relationship, for far longer than my roommate’s friend who just got engaged.
The act of getting engaged so soon after the start of the relationship, to me, does not seem genuine. I do not mean any offense to anyone by saying this, but what I mean to say is that “putting a ring on it” will not fix your problems. If you are not in a healthy relationship, creating a stronger commitment to one another will not make it better. Pretending that you are happy, and thinking that you are happy in your relationship, will not inevitably make you happy.
I really am in no place to give relationship advice, but here it is: do not do anything before either of you are ready. Do not get engaged because you have been dating for five years and you think you should. In addition, do not keep trying to contact a boy or girl that doesn’t give you the time of day and makes no effort to contact you back. I have heard countless stories from my girl and guy friends about how terribly they get treated by the person they most wish to impress, only to continue in their pursuit. As a friend, I am there for support, but so often do I wish I could shake some sense into the people I know.
Sometimes, I think the pressures we feel influence us more than we want them to. When this happens, it may be beneficial to take a step back, whether physical or metaphorical, and have an honest talk with yourself, a friend, or your significant other about what you really want. The only person you really have to please in life is you.