Auntie SparkNotes: Dating, Waiting
I'm an eighteen year old girl, in my first year of university, and a lot of different opinions and information are being thrown at me about dating. I know that you don't need to listen to and accept everything you're told, but I'm still struggling with this one issue. In one of my classes, we watched an interview in which one of the main messages was that the longer women wait, the harder it is to find 'good' guys - and especially after you've left university.
This is what I'm worried about. See, going into university, I promised myself I wouldn't date until I graduated from my four-year program, for a number of reasons. Mainly because I don't know how I would balance dating, along with studying, writing papers/essays, and maintaining my GPA. But now I'm worried that if I wait until then, it's going to be harder when I enter the dating world and have no experience, whereas (I'm assuming) majority of other girls my age will - and therefore this will hurt my chances of finding a good guy.
I know this may seem very trivial compared to a lot of other people's problems, but do you think this is a good plan - to postpone dating until I've graduated with the best possible marks, and will (hopefully) know how to balance things in my life better?
Er... no. I think that’s an awful plan.
But not for the reasons you think! And definitely not for the reason that if you wait ‘til after university to date, all the good guys will have been snapped up quicker than a plate of pigs-in-a-blanket at the Hot Dog Enthusiasts Convention. That idea, particularly in a world where most educated people are now waiting until their mid-twenties or later to even think about settling down, is a bunch of outdated bunk. (Even in my own experience, of all the happy couples I know—and there are lots of them!—I can think of exactly two who met each other in college. It’s the exception, not the rule.)
So don’t worry; if you don’t meet the man of your dreams during college, you are not automatically consigned to spending your life with the one leftover reject dude who has five teeth, one testicle, and a case of B.O. so terrible that it could fell a bison at three hundred yards.
But just because your long-term romantic prospects won’t be sabotaged by a bit of waiting, that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to cut yourself off from the mere possibility of romance for the next four years. Not least because if you don't learn how to balance your personal and professional life in college, there’s no way in hell that you’ll know how to do it at all—let alone do it better—when you get out.
Sorry, darling, but that’s the truth.
The good news: you don’t need to swear off romance in its entirety in order to get great marks at university. This isn’t a zero sum game; the all-or-nothing commitment isn’t necessary. And if your academic performance is what’s important to you, then by all means, make it your top priority—but please, don’t make it your only one. Not just because you need friends and fun and downtime in order to have a fulfilled and happy life (although you do!) and not just because dating is fun (although it is!), but because there’s nothing sweet about success that comes at the expense of your personal life. And because giving up human connection in pursuit of a professional goal is probably the best recipe for regret that there is.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that you need to do a 180 on your vow not to date and start hurling yourself at every likely-looking dude who crosses your path. (Although if you want to, by all means, enjoy!) But it does mean that you can, and should, take advantage of the next four years to learn the art of a well-balanced life. Even with your studies taking priority, you can still have room for friends, for fun, for flirting with the cute guy across the hall, and maybe even for falling in love. And the best part? If you find yourself stretched too thin, you can always take a step back, take a breath, and take a break—whether it’s from dating, or from doubling-up on study sessions, or from an extracurricular that’s turned into a joyless time-suck.
So, don’t wait four more years to find some balance; look for it now, work to maintain it, and watch how much your life can expand to make room for the things that make you happy. My guess is, you'll find more space there than you think.
Would you swear off dating for the entirety of college? Tell us in the comments! And to get advice from Auntie, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.