As the dependable confidant among my friends, I'm often bombarded with pleas for relationship advice. I don't nessesarily have a wise answer, but my knack for listening and nodding slowly while people talk does seem to help them with their troubles.
One good friend of mine has been dating a guy for about 6 months. They've vacationed together, they practically live together, and they often go to events together. You know, DATING.
At least that's what my friend assumed they were doing until about a week ago when she realized they didn't share the same idea of what their relationship was. My friend wanted a commitment and the guy didn't.
It's familiar cry among my peers, something that is alarming. Many people searching for a serious relationship often find themselves, at some point in their life, attached to someone unattainable, unavailable, or, simply put, not looking for something serious.
What concerns me most about their situations is that it's not just a concern in my circle, it's an epidemic.
Emo rapper/singer Drake seemed to solidify this occurrence in his song titled "Doing it Wrong". The lyrics go something like this:
"We live in a generation of, not being in love and not being together, but we still want to pretend like we're together, 'cause we're scared to see each other with somebody else."
Though Drake's lyrics are idolized by love hungry teens, twenty-something women, Degrassi fans, and strippers, he may be on to something.
The lack of love is not just in music, but other media as well. Last year, two movies were released about non-committed relationships: Friends with Benefits and No Strings Attached.
Non-committed relationships are not a trend, but they are becoming embedded in our culture. And it's been happening for some time now.
Dr. Jeffrey Jensen Arnett, a sociology professor at Clark University in Massachusetts, explains that twenty-somethings often explore different career paths due to a stage called "emerging adulthood."
Emerging adulthood, Arnett explains, occurs between ages 18 and 29. During this period, this age group explores different career, relationship, and educational pursuits. We're taking longer to grow up, more confused about our decisions, and scared to move out of our parent's houses.
Sure that may keep us in school longer and away from choosing an actual career, but can this indecisiveness be spilling over into our view of relationships as well?
The majority of young people today are getting married later. With that in mind, delving into a relationship at 21 years old doesn't necessarily set one up with their lifetime partner. But why are we so scared? What is it about adding a title to a relationship with someone that makes it so daunting?
It's the state of confusion we've already placed ourselves in. The uncertainty of finding a good job after college, or even deciding what we want to major in, is daunting. Because we cannot make the larger decisions, we are not comfortable with the smaller ones either. It's almost a form of relationship procrastination. We wait comfortably with the other person, assuming that they will be there the next day, and the day after that, yet we never take any action.
And a large majority of the time, our significant other is still waiting. It has become the cultural standard.
Though I see the roles of the waiter as the woman and the naysayer as the man in these predicaments, it's not the same across the board.
The future of non-committed relationships is uncertain. Hopefully the trend will dissipate and the couple will become frustrated, and simply become tired of playing the waiting game with each other. As young people, I do believe it is good to date and keep our hearts open. But constanly hanging on the fence about titles is relationship leaves more emotional scars. Maybe we're not aware of the damage now, but it'll be evident soon enough.
— Victoria Wright is a junior in journalism and electronic media. She can be reached at email@example.com.