For a lot of people, there has always been a clear mental line between being in a relationship and being single, and obviously due to age, when you’re an adult being in a relationship often means marriage. But from what I have noticed, and I am not sure if others have experienced the same, is that for young people, the line is becoming more blurred; there are about ten different kinds of ‘relationship’ you could be in. A relationship could mean boyfriend/girlfriend, or it could be non-exclusive and just someone to ‘hook up with’ now and again. A relationship for some is even an arrangement where 2 people plan to ‘make out’ (or more) at any parties they go to together. ‘Seeing each other’ is one of teenager’s favourite phrases – this kind of relationship allows them to have a ‘hook up’, while their partner remains dispensable, and I know many couples that have split up over the debate of whether or not they were allowed to see other people at the same time.
The word ‘relationship’ itself is not used much anymore, and I’ve always wondered why? Is calling it something else a way of escaping full commitment?
Recently a rumor went around my year group that I was ‘seeing’ a guy, and what I found fascinating was that not ONCE was I asked if I was in a relationship with him, not ONCE was I asked if we were dating, or if he was my boyfriend, or even if I liked him, and was happy - instead I was asked over and over again, ‘Are you getting on him?’ That’s right – not ‘are you WITH him?’ but are you getting on him. The choice of words made me think just how often relationships are made solely about the physical – sex, kissing, ‘getting on each other’, and how unusual it is to either be simply friends with someone from the opposite gender or have a relationship that doesn’t include sex.
I took some time to think about this, and what occurred to me is that it is highly expected of you to ALWAYS either be ‘talking to someone’ (i.e. talking to a guy in a flirty way), ‘getting on someone’, or ‘with someone’, and if you’re not then – something is wrong.
Something else I’ve observed is that relationships are becoming a lot shorter – there are some that last a long time, but often girls and guys both jump from ‘talking to someone’ or ‘getting with someone’ one day to a completely different person the next. It is common for guys to talk to 6 or 7 girls at any one time just so they have a choice of who to ‘get with’ next, and so that once they are finished with one girl they can swiftly move onto the next.
So why is this? How come we feel the need to always be ‘getting on someone’, instead of being okay with either staying single or committing to a relationship in full?
I would say, well definitely for me in the past, if I don’t have a guy to talk to, or someone who’s messaging me all the time, I feel unwanted. Something I find difficult is watching another girl talk to 10 different guys in the space of an hour, because to me it’s a sign that I’m not worthy of anyone’s time… And by basing my worth on how many people I’m talking to or who I’m ‘getting with’ I am depreciating my value and putting my self-image in the hands of how many guys I can get attention from.
Everyone seems to be taking part in ‘casual flings’ rather than committed relationships, without much consideration of whether or not there may be a future. Saying things like, ‘we’re only young’ or ‘he’s just one guy’ are common ‘scape goat’ phrases that take all seriousness out of the relationship, and allow this pattern to continue of never settling down and moving on from person to person.
For me personally something I’ve always asked myself when I start ‘talking to someone’, is – ‘Is there any kind of future here?’ and ‘What would be the purpose if this became a relationship?’ Even if it means waiting for someone I’m genuinely interested in being with to come along, I would much rather fully commit and be with someone I love, than engage in several ‘hook ups’ that are just a way of letting guys check me off their list, and them off mine.
Of course I’m only talking from my experience – do you feel the same?
And what do you think it would it look like if young people started fully engaging and committing to relationships rather than just see them as a solution to self-worth problems, or a way to have sex?
These questions are HUGE, and topics like this I find are almost completely avoided by teenagers… Something I think needs to be changed.
All of the blogs on From Our Eyes have been written by young people. They are about the kind of issues and problems teenagers face on a constant basis, as well as worldwide epidemics that not only youth, but EVERYONE experiences day to day.