I was warned a few weeks before I left that first year/freshman college guys weren't really anything special; a lot of them are just out to get laid and don't want anything to get serious right away. I understood that, because when you're in a new place you don't want to necessarily focus on one thing, but be able to explore your options.
But on the other hand, all I keep hearing is how terrible guys are, or simply "they just suck!" Heck, I have friends that are considering becoming lesbians because they think relationships are easier that way (not sure if they're being serious or not, and I can't say whether or not there's any truth to that).
In the midst of all that, sometimes I would just like to scream "what in the world is with all this negativity?!?"
Up until a month ago, I could never quite grasp just how different the dating scene is around here. It's true that the quality may not really change (at least not at first), but the way of going about relationships does. Over time I've realized that you really should take into consideration the beliefs and values that a person has, the qualities that a person has (i.e. kindness doesn't always mean that they'll be a good boyfriend/girlfriend), and whether or not there is even a connection to be shared.
And perhaps the most important? That you have to set boundaries for yourself.
I've never been an official relationship before, so it might seem strange to some as to how I'm actually coming up with all of this. But I have had a lot of guys in my life; and although none of them ever became more, we did grow very close. I've observed what not to do through the relationships that my friends have had as well as lost. I've been given numerous pieces of advice from friends and family members that I am now just starting to take to heart.
So far, the biggest conclusion that I've come to is the reason why I never really dated anyone in high school: I always beat myself up whenever something didn't work out because I believed it was my fault. Had I gone about certain things differently, then maybe it would have worked out.
However, it dawned on me just recently that it wasn't about me. They liked me and cared for me; they just didn't understand me or the way I tend to view certain aspects of life. Essentially, they didn't know how to love me the way I wanted to be loved. The way I deserve to be loved.
I probably sound a little full of myself when I say that, but I personally believe that there's some truth to it. When you're in a certain age range, you can only grasp so much about relationships and loving another person. I'm not sure how to fully explain it, but lets just say that one's perspective might be somewhat limited.
The one thing that perplexes me the most is the whole concept of hooking up. Now let me just say that I'm not judging anyone in particular, as well as people that do it in general. I know that I don't like people telling me how to live my life, so I certainly won't go preaching to other people about what they should or shouldn't be doing with theirs. But I've taken a lot of time to be honest with myself, and I know now that I'm not very comfortable with that at all. Yes, I did consider it when I first got to campus; I was in a new place and at times it felt like the skies were the limit. I was just willing to have fun and see where it went afterward.
Yet, I could not ignore the confusion or the questions that I felt myself asking: is there another girl? does he actually care for me? Could this go somewhere if we actually allowed it to?
Truth is, I don't think I could handle it, even if we both agreed that it was just a one-time thing. I'm a very emotional personal, and having a physical connection with someone without any meaning would most likely eat away at me for a long time. I haven't had my first kiss yet, and I would prefer it to be with someone that I truly cared for and vice versa. I don't want to waste it on someone that doesn't feel the same way that I do.
When it all comes down to it, I can't share my body without sharing my heart. And if I can't do that, well then it just won't work.
The way I see it, it's like a microwave meal vs. something that's home cooked. When you make one of those boxed-up frozen dinners, you only have to cook it for five minutes and most, eat it quickly and then you're done. When you have something that's home-cooked, it takes a lot of preparation and time to get it ready; sometimes it has to sit for a few hours and then cook for a few more. But even though it takes awhile, it's delicious when you sit down and actually take the time to enjoy it. And in most cases, you're not hungry for more afterward.
Thats how I kind of view relationships these days, or real ones that is: they a lot of time, a lot of patience and a lot of effort. Pardon me for being crass, but I don't want the packaged, processed, get-it-quick-and-go bullshit. I want the real thing, dammit! Just because plenty of other people are doing something doesn't mean that I have to.
However, I do realize that I have to be realistic: love isn't all what it's portrayed to be, to put it simply.
But really, I don't want a love like the movies or a certain specific couple. I want something that the two of us can have all our own.
And I don't believe in prince charming, but I do believe that if you really take the time to get to know someone, you can find a little bit of that in every guy.
And despite what people say about true love being dead...I can't say that I believe that either. Love, in essence, will pop up when you least expect it. It will take you by surprise and maybe even take you on the ride of your life.
What I've said in this post might have seemed a little too honest. Some people might be reading this and wondering what in the world is wrong with me, saying things like that. But I'm tired of hiding...whether people lose or gain respect for me after reading this, then so be it. This is just me being who I am. And if there's one way you could lose out on a fully-lived life, it's by not being exactly who you are.