The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Relationships Happen: Great expectations for love

By the time my mother was my age she had a husband, two small children and a full-time job. And while I can barely manage the stress of school and a social life, the idea of a husband and a family seem way off into the future.

I’m a 22-year-old single female college student who hasn’t had the best luck in relationships since I hit puberty, and I’m starting to wonder why.

Chipping away at all of the emotional scarring and baggage, I’ve discovered that what it all comes down to is expectations.

The truth is that my mother’s generation was expected to find someone early on in life to marry and start a family with. But these days there aren’t many men or women who follow the same creed.

Throughout the last few relationship columns I’ve written, I’ve noticed a trend was developing. I am constantly reverting back to my early relationship experiences, especially those from my high school years.

It’s been almost five years since I closed that chapter in my life, and yet there is something about my experiences that I am constantly pulled back to. The pull lies, I realized, in the simplicity of it all.

The birth of a high school romance usually follows a simple storyline: Girl and boy meet, butterflies ensue. Notes, er, texts are exchanged. Girl likes boy, boy likes girl. And as if some fairy godmother waved her magical wand, the girl and boy are instantaneously a couple.

In the end, if a boy and girl liked each other, then nothing really stood in their way. No unimaginably high expectations and standards were set. No worrying about what the future would hold. Just liking each other was enough.

The only thing a high school girl or guy had to really worry about was how well their prospective mate photographed.

Let’s face it: Back then, when we were all lost in ignorance-is-bliss adolescence, physical attraction usually accounted for at least 95 percent of what was sought after in the opposite sex. Personality, intelligence and sense of humor made up another four, and having a car/job or other made up the remaining one.
But for someone my age, is that enough? Hardly.

When I was in high school, I liked to think that I was ahead of my time, mentality wise, or maybe just old-fashioned. Back then I believed that looking for someone to be in a relationship with had deeper meaning than just having the title of girlfriend.

Much like a lot of women my age, I’ve finally started to really prioritize what I’m looking for in a potential boyfriend. Sure, good looks are always a plus, but good looks don’t ensure a good-looking future, or at the very least, a good-looking relationship.

Instead, I’ve started to look deeply into what a guy can bring into the relationship, and it’s much more complex than just what is on the surface.

Now I’m looking for someone who I can possibly spend an extended period of time with, not just a matter of weeks as was typical in high school. But rather time that could develop into something serious. Something with real substance.

Someone who I wouldn’t be ashamed to bring home to meet the family. Someone who has ambition as well as a plan. And someone who will make a good provider for me and our future 2.3 children.

Even knowing this, I am forced to ask myself if this is something that is personally based or socially influenced.

I mean, sure I’ve grown and matured as a person, and my values have definitely changed since I was a teenager. But how much of what I believe is because of what I am surrounded by?

Like most issues that revolve around relationships, it all comes down to the individual. I personally believe that it is a mixture both of personal and social factors that influence expectations.

Or maybe it’s all a matter of letting nature take its course.

Because isn’t the point of it all to find someone to mate with? Yes, as crude as it sounds, the purpose of all this relationship mumbo jumbo is ultimately to procreate, to ensure that the human race continues generation after generation. Thank you, biology.

Perhaps creating expectations is just a way to distract ourselves from the hold some higher power has over each and every one of us.

OK, so maybe I’m being a little extreme. Relationships are fun to be in, at least when they’re going well. And yes, it is also about companionship and having someone to spend quality/intimate time with.

The point is, expectations, whether personal or socially influenced, reflect what we value most. Expectations keep our standards in line and help to weed out what is undesirable. We create expectations based upon what we think we deserve.

But when it comes to relationships, expectations should remain realistic.

We should all think about what we really want from another person and then work from there. I’m not saying to abandon all expectations. Instead, expectations shouldn’t dictate every little detail of a relationship. If things don’t work out the way you planned, it’s not the end of the world. Live and learn.

I know that if I didn’t let my expectations get out of control, then I wouldn’t be single.

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