• Caitlin Dunn

Are we too young to be in a long term relationship?

Let’s be real, you’re probably reading this because you’re seeking reassurance about your relationship (or you’re just aimlessly scrolling through the internet to kill some time and avoid doing something much more important- we’re here for you).

While some relationships in your twenties can most definitely work, the general consensus is that we are often too young to be tying ourselves down to one particular person. As selfish as it sounds, your twenties are all about exploring YOUR options. You get to make choices in your twenties and one of those major choices is if you choose to be in a relationship or a single pringle.

By no means are we trying to convince you to break it off with your long-term S/O. We’re just sayin’ going from an “I” to a “we” can be a tad daunting and maybe we, as 20-somethings, don’t yet have the readiness to deal with the commitment that goes along with being in a long term relationship.

While we can’t tell you if they’re the 'one' we can tell you that a relationship will consume a big part of your life. Your time, emotions and energy are all of a sudden split between two people, yourself and your main squeeze and while they can be extremely fulfilling and enjoyable, it can also be frustrating and painful but like anything you've got to take the good with the bad and weigh up what you're willing to sacrifice and what you're likely to gain.

Relationships in your twenties are kind of like having a lolly bag when you're a kid. The initial thought of it is really exciting and you hype yourself up with excitement because in your head what you’ve imagined seems amazing and super freakin’ tasty. The thought of that sweet, sweet sugar rush takes over and you’re left giddy and dazed. Then, as the sugar starts to wear off, you come to your senses and realise it just wasn’t that great . In fact, it kind of tasted like shit, pink chewy shit and now you've kind of got a stomach ache.

Your twenties aren’t always comfortable which means sometimes your relationships in your twenties won’t feel quite right. I think at this point in your life it’s easy to fall into what can only be described as a ‘quarter-life-crisis’. What you saw as the prime of your life, the pinnacle, your time to do you, is now time spent doing someone else (sometimes quite literally). It can start to feel like your independence is slipping away and maybe your relationship is to blame? You want to be free, young and liberated however quite often when you’re in a long term relationship you find yourself feeling committed, settled and dare I say, tied down.

Like the thought of long term monogamy isn’t daunting enough, your social media platforms seem to be overflowing with gag-worthy 'bae appreciation' posts that are pressuring you to validate your love through likes, shares and comments. This makes you feel nauseous and uneasy because you still refuse to admit that your relationship is past the 9-month mark. The idea of making life plans and future commitments with your partner ignites your inner-most fears; you can barely adult at this current point in time, how are you suppose to commit to another human being?

You try and avoid your hot single friend (HSF) and your right to do so. The HSF is virtually flawless. They appear to have their life in order and are the envy of every single one of their fifty-thousand Instagram followers. They make you feel inadequate, raise doubts and you feel as though you’re missing out on wild, fun, 'single person' activities.

They make out as if you’ve slaughtered the opportunity for potential mates and can’t deal with the fact that you don’t have Tinder. While they’re out ‘finding themselves’ you spend most of your time losing yourself in a tub of Ben & Jerry’s.

As the fear of feeling like you’re wasting your twenties on a relationship hits home and your plans for your single 20-something-self start to diminish, you realise that your expectations are far from met. You’re not unhappy and you are in love but you’ve become outstanding at denying your feelings. Perhaps it's best to take on some old-school, cliched advice and just "go with the flow" and let things play out because the reality of being in a long term relationship in your twenties is that you’re still insecure, because you’re still learning that 'love' is not quite as romanticised as your favourite piece of fiction.

Your wings are not clipped simply because you’ve chosen to love another individual in your twenties, as long as you choose to embrace every experience on offer to you. Coming to terms that you’re in it for the long run can be hard, but that decision ultimately rests with you. All you can do is go with your gut, even if your gut is telling you to eat the gross, chewy pink lolly. How will you know unless you give it a try?

Image: Loren Bousfield

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