How The Fear of Commitment is Making Millennials Lonely

How The Fear of Commitment is Making Millennials Lonely

Non-relationships, non-breakups, and hook up culture are getting us nowhere.
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A few weeks ago, a close friend of mine went through a non-breakup. She wasn't in a relationship with the guy she had been seeing, but they had been "talking," if you will. It was a non-relationship that resulted in a non-breakup, but the pain and heartbreak she felt after were entirely real.

Our generation has started a culture of non-dating and stages of talking, where commitment is optional and relationships are fuzzy gray areas that are illegible, messy and confusing. We can't read into them, so we end up overanalyzing the little bit we know. Dating has turned into a hookup culture that is based on a series of games to determine who holds the control in the relationship.

The ideology has become such that whoever cares the least "wins."

We don't want to put a label on things. For a generation that is so advanced and open, commitment serves as one of our biggest fears. It's a combination of reducing the level of rejection and the liberty of having a quick escape route. No one wants to lose, no one wants to be rejected, no one wants to be stuck, no one wants to miss out on other options.

Yet no one wants to be alone.

The juxtaposition is stark. Why would anyone commit if they are already getting every benefit of being in a relationship with the additional liberty of having other options available? Why would they risk the embarrassment and awkwardness of being rejected if they can avoid it entirely? Instead, you hook up, you go out, and you assume there are no strings attached.

Unfortunately, there are always strings attached. Spending time with a person in this manner builds up your emotional ties. You may not see it as "love" but it's impossible to be immune to some feelings.

You can't avoid loving simply so you won't lose.

You can ignore feelings all you want, but refusing to identify them doesn't erase the fact that they exist. Then when one person confides in the other that they want something more and are instead rejected due to the commitment-phobia that is so pervasive in our generation, you end up with a sad, heartbroken individual who is suffering the very real effects of a non-breakup.

To get over the hurt caused by this one person, you go out to find a new distraction. We don't want to feel alone, so we settle for some half-hearted relationship for fulfillment. We distance ourselves from feeling what we do and ignoring the voice in our head that knows better. We build up more walls in the effort to not get hurt again but refuse to recognize we are hurting ourselves more in the long run. This perpetuates a cycle of hooking up, talking, and false intimacy. We close ourselves off and lose our ability to trust others a little more with each heartbreak we experience.

And in the midst of all this, we wonder why we still feel alone.

You have to let your walls down and allow yourself to be emotionally vulnerable. Hold yourself to the standards you desire and allow yourself to be alone for a while if that's what it takes. Happiness and fulfillment come from real relationships, where you are honest and open with each other about your feelings.

You might even find what you're missing out on.

Cover Image Credit: animeflipside.net

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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To The Friend I Rarely See Anymore

I wish you nothing but the best.

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When we graduated high school, we thought it was the end for us. The distance would ruin us and we wouldn't be able to call ourselves friends. Thankfully, you were my rock for the first year of school. You were the one I turned to when the adjustment was hard or when I needed someone to talk to and just listen. We never lost our connection for a whole year. We proved that nothing could pull us apart no matter how far the distance, no matter the different schedules. We were still best friends.

Another summer came and we only got stronger. We went on countless beach trips, late night hangouts, and Starbucks runs. I didn't even think it was possible to be this much closer to you than we already were. If we weren't together, we would Snapchat or text to never stop the conversation.

Now summer ended, we didn't think twice about losing our connection this time. We had a bond stronger than anyone could fathom. We once again went our separate ways and kept our texting and Snapchat habits.

But something changed.

It must've been the comfort level of sophomore year. It must've been all the new friends we got. It must have been the boys who entered our lives. We don't speak anymore. I haven't seen you since winter break. I haven't texted you since New Year's Eve. Our connection, one that was once thought to be indestructible, came crumbling down with sophomore year. I am not going to lie, sophomore year was the best of my life, but I knew you were missing the whole time. It wasn't the same without you.

I'm not upset you chose to focus your time and life on your new boyfriend. I am happy for you. I am not upset you spend more time with your school friends. I am happy for you. I am not upset you don't text me anymore and killed our streak. I know you're living a happy life. And I am too.

We may have gone our separate ways like we never imagined, but I am happy you are finally happy. Don't forget for one second that I will always be here for you. I will still always answer your text. I will still always be your shoulder to cry on even when no one else is there for you. I wish you nothing but the best, and I hope you're doing ok.

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