As a writer, I come across many articles written about relationships -- why certain relationships work, why some don't, why long distance relationships never end happily, why it's worth it to wait for the man of your dreams, why your first love won't be your last...
I've came to realize that these articles are unhealthy and mostly bullcrap.
Sure, some of these articles have good advice, but I find that most of them are toxic because they encourage you to mold your relationship the way that the author "tells" you too.
I, for one, have been in a wonderful relationship for the past four years. He is my first love. We started dating when I was 16 and he was 20. Now I'm almost finished with college, about to turn 21. He's 23 and we are still together and going strong.
Yet I see articles explaining to me why it's bad and boring to be "tied down" in your twenties and why your first boyfriend will never be "the one." I've seen articles attempt to give advice about relationships, like this bizarre article titled 12 Reasons Not to Marry The Only Guy You’ve Ever Datedon The Talko.
In the article, the author starts by comparing your first love to test driving a new car, apartment hunting and the struggles that women have choosing a cake cone or a waffle cone for their ice cream. Because men, humans —living, breathing creatures with one of the most complex brain structures existence who are capable of forming deep connections with others — can be so easily compared to waffle cones.
Aside from that, there's some advice in here that could be really, really bad.
Many of the author's points rely on comparing men to inanimate objects like how your first boyfriend is like your favorite gym bag —they're both reliable. You both like all the same things and you love each other, yet commitment is compared to laziness. Since when is committing to someone you feel comfortable with lazy? If anything, it's hard work!
Another tip the author gives that boggles my mind is that the author makes a connection between having kids with the person you first date is bad parenting advice. They indicate that because you choose to be with the person you dated before you learned to drive and end up in a happy marriage with them, you'll realize that only dating one person would be really bad advice to give to your teen -- no clear explanation why given.
I guess the writer thinks that being in a happy marriage with someone you love is bad for family life and will imprint negative ideas in your kids' heads, because I would rather my kid go through a divorce than learn that I married my first love.
I understand that some first boyfriends can be immature and not "the one," but what if they are? Then you're giving your teenager horrible advice to not commit to someone, or anything really, who might be a good husband because of what?
I could go on about this article, but I won't.
I find that many relationship advice articles are driven by heartbreak, bad experiences and sometimes amazing moments, but no matter how good or bad the experiences are, these articles should be read with a grain of salt. The person writing these types of articles is not you. Just because someone on the internet believes that being in a committed relationship at 21 is a mistake, doesn't mean that it is a mistake for you.
Because the human experience is an individual experience.
I've seen everything explaining how being in a serious relationship in your twenties won't allow me to grow as an individual woman, but why not? Since when did being committed to someone also mean that I can't know exactly who I am and what I want? I like to think that a woman in the 21st century can be their own person with someone they love and not be so swayed by their partner's wants that they can't make decisions for themselves.
For a solid two days, these kinds of articles made me second guess myself (not the waffle cone one). They made me think that I was missing out on the rite of passage that is "dating around" and "having fun," but in reality I don't want any of that. I don't want to date around and I certainly don't feel like I am missing out on anything just because I choose be in a committed relationship with the first person I fell in love with.
After those two days of sulking, I realized how stupid I was being and that I was lucky to have found someone so early on in the game. Because let's face it -- dating sucks, looking for "the one" can be stressful and I'm not going to let someone else's opinion of how 20-somethings should date affect me or my relationship.
So If you want to continue writing about the woes of millennial relationships and all their problems, go for it. I just won't be reading.