In high school, I had a voice teacher that I was very close with, and he would give me a ton of advice about life. One day after a bad heartbreak, he informed me that all boys are pigs until they become men. Let’s just say, I did not realize that college would be a pig farm. If college dating was closely examined, people would find that this statement is not only true, but it is staggering what women choose to put up with for the sake of a partner.
Throughout my time either dating in college or listening to other people’s horror stories as they date in college, I have realized that most individuals can be categorized into one of five groups when dating someone who they will probably not end up with. In these desperate times, when everyone is seeking either a casual hook-up or a life partner with nothing in-between, I have compiled a list of the most curious cases of college dating.
1. the one that stays because of their partner’s money
A tale as old as time, the person stays with someone they truly do not want because of their love for money. It is a sad fact that dating has become so commercialized that individuals stay with someone that they are not compatible with to save face and make their Instagram story truly remarkable when showing the presents they receive on birthdays, anniversaries and holidays.
In all reality, people with this little respect for a dating partner should probably reevaluate their reasons for being in a relationship in the first place. Truthfully, the rules of dating have become murky at best in recent years due to the emergence of casual dating culture, social media tokenism of relationships and the gradual movement to condone cheating under the right circumstances.
The real question for a person that is acting in this way should be whether or not they believe that their actions are fair. Is it fair to stay with a person that is treating me so well when I am gradually losing feelings for them? Going beyond that, would I want to be treated this way if I were so invested in a relationship and the other person was staying with me for the money? There is a fine line between being appreciative of the gifts that a partner offers willingly and taking advantage of their kindness. Every gift received should, in theory, be reciprocated by some form of effort in the relationship. If not, then the relationship is truly one-sided, and it will most likely end in tragedy.
2. the one that stays because they “can change them”
Despite all of the movies and novels that fill young people with the notion that the morally gray, brooding and dark love interest can be changed for the better, the harsh reality is that no one is going to change unless it is of their own volition. Even if someone does attempt to change their behavior and demonstrates tangible results, a person that does not want to be better for their own good will inevitably fall back into their old ways. It could take a week or a month or their good behavior could even last for a majority of the relationship, but the fact remains that they are not fully expressing themselves because they are molding themselves into the person they believe that you want them to be.
There are certain things that can be changed after dating a person for a while. Haircuts, facial hair and various other small changes can be discussed with a partner, and mutual decisions can be made about those topics. However, personality and beliefs are an entirely different ball game when considering a relationship. These aspects of a person are derived from experiences, which makes each person unique and is part of the beauty of dating people.
It is both degrading and insensitive to expect a person to conform to an idealistic standard that you have set for your future partner. Each person has developed a personal identity for themselves that deserves to be respected and cherished, especially in the confines of a committed relationship. Beyond the point that you probably will not ever change the person that you are dating or pining after, you would be disrespecting their entire identity if you forced them to.
3. The one that stays because they think they are the exception
This point became popularized in the early 2000’s movie “He’s Just Not That Into You,” but this perception of dating has existed for hundreds of years and resulted in multiple heartbreaks. It truly is not the fault of individuals though. Like so many other ideas, we are ingrained with the thought that if we are different enough, likable enough or pretty enough that we will not have to bow to societal norms. The formation of these thoughts begins in childhood through the movies that we watch and progresses as we begin to read romance novels that portray the same thoughts until we start noticing the practice in real life.
Despite understanding why this concept is widely believed due to its common practices and mainstream nature, there is also the flip side of the coin where we all know that a relationship founded on the hope that the other person won’t leave because you are the exception is complete hogwash. While chances like these sometimes pay off, as I am sure at least one friend of each person reading this can testify to, there are at least a hundred other people that would be willing to say that their attempt to be the exception was nothing but a waste of time.
With this in mind, my answer to this predicament is simple: realize I am not the exception but the rule. If the rule of a notorious player is that they will stay with a person for a few months before growing tired of them, then I do not pursue them like I pursue the house with a white-picket fence that I would like in the near future. Also, if I am staying with a person because I believe in the hope that I may actually be the exception but am unsure, I would leave and truly test the theory that I am the exception. Because if I am, that person will follow me.
4. the one that stays because they don’t think they can do better
Unfortunately, there are people that stay with someone that they truly do not want to be with for reasons that cannot be immediately chalked up to selfishness. While insecurity is something that everyone struggles with, when it becomes the basis of the reason that a relationship continues, it can be devastating to all parties involved.
For starters, every person is worthy of a brilliant relationship. In the words of Stephen Chbosky’s novel, “Perks of Being a Wallflower,” you are accepting the love that you think you deserve, especially when you believe that you cannot achieve better. The reality is that settling will never be better than being alone—take it from someone who has been through both. You can leave, and you will be able to find better. Even if you don’t find someone worthy of you, isn’t knowing your value much better than settling for someone that is not what you actually want for the rest of your life?
5. The one that stays because they don’t want to be lonely
Let me begin by saying that everyone is worthy of love. That being said, this statement still applies to the person that is in a relationship with a person that truly does not appreciate him or her. Even though everyone can agree that they would rather have someone than no one, it is unfair to the partner for one person to be completely uncommitted to the relationship.
The best way to overcome the fear of loneliness and overcome the comfort of complacency in a relationship is to rip the band-aid off. Neither you or your partner deserves a mediocre relationship experience based on the fear of not finding anyone else. One of the first steps in recovering from this type of relationship is by beginning to love yourself.
All of these relationship issues can be overcome by loving yourself more than you love the image of yourself that is perceived by others. Placing yourself above others’ opinions of you will never be wrong, and it will keep you from falling into these relationships that are not worth the emotional strain that they place on you or your partner.