This year I learnt how difficult adult life can be, and how hard it can be to sustain a romantic relationship whilst juggling the demands of our personal lives. The majority of my friends are still single, and although this may be upsetting for some, I really think our generation underestimates how big a commitment romantic relationships can be at our age. We’re so consumed by what we think a relationship will be like to really think about how much time and hard work it takes to sustain a successful relationship. These romantic fantasies we’re bombarded with in the media (and in our own imaginations) drive us to seek a partner, any partner, and start empty relationships with the wrong person. We’re quick to jump into relationships without understanding what this means, what’s expected of us and what we expect from our partner in order for it to work.
For the first time in my life I am in a healthy relationship, with an incredible man, who makes me happy in a way I never thought was possible. It’s surreal to me, how easy we fit together, how we can get along without much effort and how little we fight. It’s very different to my past relationships and I feel lucky to have him as my partner. We have our ups and downs, as do all relationships. When we fight, it’s over the silliest things – which I realised the other day is actually a blessing. We have no major problems, and so irritations occur but they’re not big enough to effect the foundations of our relationship.
Although things are as near to perfect as I can imagine, we still have our problems. When we met I was working part-time, I shortly became unemployed, and after months of job searching I finally secured a full-time job. I now work 9-5 whilst my partner works late nights, so finding time to meet can be a struggle and it is probably the biggest issue we have. Nevertheless we find ways to manage, and although it can be tough at times, we try to meet up at least once a week.
Although we see each other regularly, it’s not enough. The strains of work life keep us busy and tired, and trying to coordinate our work schedules is a mission. Don’t get me wrong, I’m so glad to have found a full-time job, but that doesn’t stop me from missing the late night chats, and day-long dates that were possible when I wasn’t working. We both work hard and have our own family and friend commitments to balance on top of everything else. As incredible as our relationship is, it has taught me just how difficult adult relationships can be, time-wise. I’m still adjusting to the demands of adult life, I took for granted the free time of my university days and honestly, I don’t know if I would be able to sustain an adult relationship if it wasn’t for him. He makes the struggle worthwhile.
But for anyone in their 20s complaining about being single, please stop. You don’t know how much of a commitment it is to love someone while you’re trying to build a career, pay bills, look after yourself, your family, have a social life and save money for the future. These demands stretch us enough as it is, if you haven’t met someone you really care about, then being single shouldn’t be such an issue.
Adult relationships are hard. That’s the simplest way I can put it. Sustaining a committed relationship is hard work and not everyone you meet will be willing to put in the effort that you deserve. Also not everyone you meet will be worth your time. Choose wisely how you spend it, put yourself first and stop stressing about being single. When you meet someone worth prioritising, you’ll know.