"Do you ever wonder what it would be like to be with someone else?" This is a question I have heard more times than I can count. When you're 23 and have been with your partner since you were 16, it's not that unusual. This question is usually prefaced with something along the lines of, "Can I ask you something without you getting mad," or "I'm just curious but..." In all honesty, I don't mind answering, but it makes me think about the current state of dating and relationships.
As a child, I grew up with my mom, dad, and younger brother. Without going into details, my parents always had a tumultuous relationship. I spent a lot of time wondering why they stayed together, and whether or not their "I love you's" would ever manifest into something tangible. Being a witness to that, and multiple other not-so-great examples of "love," I began wondering if this was what I was destined for when I grew up.
Flash forward to the present, and my partner and I have been together for almost eight years, and we've never been with anyone else. There's no hidden secret regarding how we make it work, it's simply that we continue to work on what we have. I'm a firm believer that love is not enough. If you want your relationship to work, you're gonna have to work on it every day for the rest of your lives. That being said, when people ask me if I wonder what it would be like to be with someone else, the short answer is, no. I watch my friends go on endless Tinder dates, and watch as yet another couple on Facebook breaks up only to be in a new relationship a week later, and I wonder, why? Why is it that all of my friends' grandparents are still together, yet my generation is constantly coming and going through the revolving door of dating?
In my non-expert opinion, I think it has to do with two things. One, the desire to find the "perfect" partner, and two, the rise of social media. I believe these two things intertwine. The reality is, you can search forever but you're never gonna find someone who ticks all your boxes. It isn't about settling, because quite frankly I don't believe in that. But I do believe that everyone is flawed, and when it comes to relationships, it's about recognising those flaws and learning how to be better together. Going back to my previous point, that love isn't enough, relationships are only gonna be what you put into them. So if you're gonna back out of every relationship because you're convinced your "prince charming" is still out there, you could be right, but focusing your time and attention and the relationship itself, and not solely the person, could be the key.
The second point I highlighted is the rise of social media. I don't wanna sound like your parents and rant about how social media is toxic and ruining your life, because I'm an avid social media user. That being said, I do think that social media has had both positive and negative impacts on relationships and dating. For the sake of this post, I wanna highlight the negative aspect that I believe has come out of social media. You've all seen the memes about "sliding into their DM's," and you've probably used more than one dating app, whether that's Tinder or Bumble, or Grindr. While all of this may work out great for some, I also think it makes it so much easier to wane. Not satisfied in your current relationship? All it takes is a couple of clicks and you're face to face with someone's highlight reel, or setting up a date with a random attractive stranger. Not a day goes by where I don't hear about another friend or acquaintance who's been cheated on or left for someone they've met online. I truly believe that all of this makes maintaining a long-term relationship just that much more difficult.
Ultimately, it interests me when people ask me if I've thought about being with someone else. I think it reflects our current society and its idea that you have to date around to know if you're meant to be with someone. Just because one thing works for some people, it doesn't mean it's going to work for everyone. I wonder if there will be a shift in dating and relationships in my children's generation, and I'm eager to continue exploring this topic in future pieces.
*NOTE* I write this free of judgement, solely based off my own experiences and perceptions. I pose this piece more as a question on current dating patterns and how relationships work in our current society.