Absolutely normal. I’m 21, and I have a boyfriend, but I got pretty lucky. Many of my girlfriends are in school and don’t have a boyfriend. Some of them have never even kissed a boy before.
You need to figure out YOU right now. At this age, you’re still trying to figure out who you are. If you’re like me, you’re new to the idea of living alone, having a job or school, and learning all the new responsibilities that come with being an adult. There’s no need to introduce another human being in your life and turn your mind into a soup of emotions. And chances are, if you haven’t figured out who you are yet, the relationship will suffer at along the way.
Focus on developing your skills. Right now, you might have a pet or a plant, but nothing else is dependant on you. This gives you the time and energy to focus on your education and teach yourself skills like graphic design or photoshopping to make you a more employable person. I taught myself web development, and now I have a great job a week out of my undergrad.
Do you know what you want out of life? When I first met my boyfriend, I had no idea what I wanted out of life. Why would an 18 year old think about if she wants kids, where she wants to live, or what type of career she wants? I had to answer all of these questions along the way, and it made for some tension in the relationship. My boyfriend is a few years older, so he already knew what he wanted out of life. And if my goals didn’t match his, my relationship was doomed. Because of this, some of my “life goals” have been shaped because of what my partner wants – not what I want. My emotions told me I’d rather be with this guy than think for myself. Hopefully this doesn’t bite me in the butt in the long run.
Guys (and girls at this age). Let’s face it – a lot of people in their 20s are experimenting. So if you’re looking to start a long term relationship, make sure your boyfriend or girlfriend is not one of these “serial daters”. Don’t get yourself hurt.
Now, I’ve told you a whole bunch of reasons why you shouldn’t find a wonderful person to spend time with at such a young age. But, if you’re like me and you want companionship and a friend to help you along in life, maybe a relationship is right for you.
Becoming an adult is hard. It’s awesome to have a person to help you through it. Moving away from home and into residence was really hard for me. Learning how to cook, do laundry, and manage my time between work and school was stressful. My boyfriend really helped me through it. He’s a few years older than me and he’s a very skillful person. Whenever I needed to cry or talk to someone, he was there for me. He’s always honest with me and I can tell him anything. He’s my best friend.
Maybe you’re lonely. Coming to school was really lonely for me. I found it hard to make friends in a class full of computer science kids. The long nights of staying up and doing homework and then going to class in the morning with no one to talk to sucked. When I met my boyfriend, he gave me companionship and cuddles. Now we go out every week to do fun activities together and always have something to talk about.
Are you a person that wants to settle down? I knew one thing for sure: I didn’t want to date a guy for a month, break up, and find another guy the next week. Serial dating was not going to work for me. I wanted to find the love of my life. I now know that I want to spend the rest of my life with my boyfriend. And it makes me feel so happy that I don’t have to go on dating apps anymore or worry about if I’ll ever find someone.
My partner brings out the best in me. I think I would have grown up differently without my boyfriend. He’s taught me patience, mutual trust, and how to work hard. He’s also shown me how mean the world can be and taught me to not trust people right away. When I’m with my boyfriend, I’m always wanting to cook for him or show my love in other ways. Instead of eating ice cream and binge watching Netflix, I’m always working on developing my skills with him (dance, programming, and fixing things around the house). Without my partner, I don’t know what I would be do all day. Honesty, I’d probably be eating chocolate and watching Grey’s Anatomy.
It comes down to this: what do you want? Whether you’re 18 or 40, some people are just better off living the bachelor life. Some people are much happier when they have a special someone in their life. But don’t feel pressured to be in a relationship. Don’t just go on a dating app for the sake of it. Don’t just start a relationship because your friends all have one. Make this decision for yourself, and for the right reasons.