When you’re in your 20s, you’ll likely encounter the many stages of the dating scene. You’ve got everything from single folks looking for love, to those enjoying the bliss of the honeymoon phase. Some partners are moving in together, getting engaged, tying the knot, having kids, or even getting divorced.
Through all of this, I seem to be in the minority that has yet to take those next steps forward.
My most recent relationship spanned more than four and a half years.
Because of my long-term relationship, I frequently encountered questions from outside folks regarding my relationship’s future. Did it really matter why we hadn’t moved in by this year, or why we weren’t engaged by that year? These lingering questions pop up the longer you’re dating a person. I wanted to say it didn’t bug me at all, but that would have been a lie. The extra layer of pressure that came with “the status quo” was hard to ignore.
I’d often wonder to myself, “Is there a ticking time clock on when you must get married? Or a timer for everything in your relationship?” It shouldn’t be that big of a deal, but sometimes it feels impossible to fully escape this imaginary timeline.
When I saw other couples moving in or getting engaged after a short period of time, I felt like I was trailing behind in the slow lane. Everybody else sped past.
I had been with my significant other for just as long, if not longer — yet we had still not made that move together.
Looking back, it’s really a silly comparison to make because no relationship is ever the same. What can be right for one couple isn’t always going to be the case for another. Every couple has a different set of circumstances to deal with. It’s not fair to assume they’re always exactly the same in that instance.
Someone once told me I shouldn’t compare my life behind-the-scenes to somebody else’s highlight reel of greatest accomplishments. I often think about this quote, because I’ve been guilty of putting too much focus on things that really shouldn’t have mattered all along.
I was too concerned about where I thought my relationship should be, rather than just enjoying where it was.
All good things come in due time and fall into place eventually. At the end of the day, there’s really no point in rushing towards the finish line if you’re not ready to make it there in the first place.
I do dream of getting married one day. I want to have that ~happily ever after~ fairy tale ending. I just don’t feel any rush to make these life changes happen yet. I have no tentative date for when I think I need to be engaged. I haven’t picked an age for when I need to start having kids.
Currently, my main focus is to live the best life that I possibly can.
I no longer want to care about the imaginary timeline telling me where I’m “supposed” to be once I have been with someone for however many years.
It took me a long time to figure that out. I’ve learned that the extra pressure I felt by comparing myself to the social norm isn’t worth the added stress. If I move in with someone, get engaged, or take any other step forward in a relationship, then I trust that it will happen organically. What’s meant to be will ultimately happen on its own.
Instead, I will continue to grow and make memories surrounded by those I love the most. I will work to build a lasting career and continue to travel to new places.
Most of all, I know I’ll still have all of these things whether or not I get married one day.
For now, I know I’m not ready, and I’m okay with that. At this point, I’m happy with or without a ring on my finger.