Dating.

It starts out as a casual thing. Meeting people, getting to like them, and then it gets really serious. We go from high school dating to college dating and then what? People start looking at you, wondering when you're going to finally start getting serious and find "the one".

All of this pressure and it doesn't start when you graduate college. This is only when people start openly talking about it. It starts well before then. In fact, it's shoved in our face.

Dating is never actually casual unless you are truly willing to ignore the impending altar in the future or choose maybe to not get married at all. However, if marriage is something you are seriously considering, even if you're in a causal relationship, it's always in the back of your mind. The media, family, and friends place the thought of marriage into your head several times every day throughout your entire life.

It's in movies, books, conversations, debates, art. It's embedded in the existence of humanity and that causes a heck of a lot of anxiety for someone who 1. Doesn't have much dating experience or 2. Isn't ready for that kind of commitment.

Mothers jokingly ask when they're getting grandkids, friends daydream of their weddings, and here we are just trying to find someone we tolerate enough to go on a date with and then maybe, MAYBE, a second date. Thinking of marriage every day is exhausting and takes the fun out of dating.

These thoughts, pressures, and expectations fill the act of dating someone with so much anxiety. When I think a guy is cute, I shouldn't have to immediately have the thought of marriage shoved into my head by someone. "Oh my god what if he's the one?" No, no. I do not need to be thinking of this.

Because if that's in my head, then on our first date, I'm going to be thinking of that and then I'll either clam up or he won't be good enough. It's just a date! It's not the rest of my life but these expectations and pressures from society and our circle of family and friends makes it so much harder.

Now instead of fun, dating is scary. And with how anonymous the dating world seems to be getting, the anxiety is rising. Now if a guy hits me up online, I not only have those marriage pressures lurking around the corner but now I have to worry if he's a huge creep or actually someone I could potentially have a great time with.

It's insane.

Stop with the pressure and start considering that maybe dating is scary enough without all of the additives. Let me enjoy it while it lasts and if it goes further, we'll talk about that then. Leave it be for now and let me and everyone else enjoy the romance, the newness of everything, and the nervous shyness.

Let me only possess the nerves of impressing someone new that I want to have a relationship with and don't let it go beyond that.