Generation Y: Why Are We So Afraid of Commitment?
Last year, I read articles concerning Generation Y (also known as Millennials) and the lack of commitment in relationships, jobs, tasks, hobbies, and everything else you could think of. I didn’t think anything of it until I had a dream last night; in fact, I thought the whole theory was ludicrous. It was a total nightmare– I actually accepted my high school sweetheart’s proposal and actually reciprocated those three words. In reality, I definitely did not tell him I loved him or yes to his proposal. I woke up sweating. Maybe we really are afraid of being tied down and monogamy.
One of the main factors supposedly affecting our ability to commit is the glamorization of Friends with Benefits or FWB. Movies and books have flirted with the idea that FWB relationships will be perfect because there is no heartbreak involved. Well, we all know people like to catch this contagious phenomenon called feelings. Then someone wants to claim the other’s genitalia and mark his or her territory. Plus, I feel like a lot of girls (at least from my friends’ experiences) commit to these relationships because they are interested romantically and hope to eventually further their relationship with their friend. Exceptions always exist and one of you may have a success story. Congrats!
Another factor is that our generation is used to immediate gratification thanks to Angry Birds and Flappy Bird and all the other freaking birds. We want it and we want it now. College is an atmosphere that condones hook-ups and one night stands, and it is almost odd to not do this in the modern world. Yep, I get the “is she broken look” when people don’t understand why I don’t drink or am promiscuous. I’m just weird. Be it due to society and media or the alcohol, hook-ups are bound to happen. Insert “Blame It on the Alcohol” joke. Beer goggles is a normal term thrown around campus; perhaps it isn’t our fiery hormones that make us suck face and grind with no pants– it’s that silly little ethanol, C2H6O. We don’t care who we pursue or seduce as long as we get something out of it. We need it.
To go along with immediate gratification, not being tied down is significant for the mere sake of convenience. Well, if we only have one week left of school, why get into a relationship? He lives down the hall, so why not hook-up? Summer is a time for me to see my ex who I still have feelings for, so why not breakup with my significant other? Convenience is just so… easy. Relationships take work, but many of us are too lazy or tired from class to sit down and have a conversation about things like this. Guys are known to say less things than girls, but both sexes say equally the same intimate, personal declarations. We need to converse to know one another.
Maybe relationships could be a distraction from scholastics or other dreams. I’ve always sworn to get married after college and after any extra schooling I want to attend (med school, pretty please) because I don’t want to have to worry about another human being to make sure I meet his needs. People can finish college married– some of my close friends are married and are getting married. It’s odd that I can’t even maintain my own needs, but they can even fulfill the other’s. Makes me feel like an infant sometimes! However, this is totally fine. To each his own, and marriage is a HUGE commitment.
I joke around with my mother that once my husband is attached like a freaking fetus, I’m really going to let my bat-craziness really bloom. He’s so fucked.
It’s harder to singe off a marriage, and sometimes goals change during career and educational development. My friend actually got a divorce at 19 because her husband didn’t feel like she paid enough attention to him as she continued being a full-time student and then a high school soccer coach. Careers last life-times, and one in a million relationships will last until death.
Let’s face it. We all haven’t had the best influences to portray what a great relationship really is. Two out of three marriages fail. And I feel like three out of three Hollywood marriages also fail. We don’t know many people who withheld the vows said in marriage or the unspoken rule of parenthood from a bastard child. Literally all of my best friends’ parents are divorced or are in the process of divorcing. I was afraid my parents would when I was in kindergarten. We don’t have the Leave It to Beaver life or even fashion of life. The world changes. See how marriage was once just a statement of status, or an elevation of economics, or property expansion. Now it consists of love. The world never stops metamorphosing. And we change with it, and so should our connotations and denotations of “commitment.”
And then we use the excuse that we don’t want our hearts broken again. I’m definitely not going to rag on this one either because I’m guilty of using it. I was in a bad relationship in the beginning of high school that still affects me; I don’t trust people who dress similar to him or say the same jokes he said. He literally hurt me and emotionally abused me and put some of my best friends against me, and that definitely affected my relationship with “Left with a Ring Boy.” I didn’t want to get close to him, and I hated that he said, “I love you.” Immediately after he said that, I thought I was going to puke. How romantic, right? Sometimes we have to analyze this new person or relationship and realize he isn’t HIM (she isn’t HER). I became emotionally wrecked again my freshman year of college as he didn’t like my personality or my morals, but liked the physical attraction. Our relationship broke off because I wouldn’t put out, but he tells other people a different story to preserve his “God’s Humble Servant” persona. Heartbreak happens. He didn’t do that to you, or she wasn’t the girl who broke your heart. People are different, and there will be people like him or her that break you and your heart. You just have to find out who you want to take the risk with.
Failure is one of my biggest fears, and many people assimilate failure to divorce. That definitely isn’t the case anymore, but old-fashioned individuals may think that. Sometimes it is a noble thing to get a divorce, and then there are personal reasons. You do it for a reason, and it shouldn’t be seen as such an awful thing. My father was married before he married my mother, and they have been together for over twenty years (holy crap, right?). My friend’s father has been married five times. Who cares? Imperfections go beyond just personality and sometimes come into relationships. If someone criticizes someone for a divorce, please show me his or her all-around perfection, the pretentious prick.
All in all, success stories do exist within Generation Y. You live with them, and we are them. My ex broke off our relationship because I wouldn’t marry him before he went into the Army and I wouldn’t leave my athletic and academic scholarships for him. My friends have dated since high school and are getting married this summer. Commitment isn’t an issue for Generation Y; our perception of commitment is totally our own. The commitment issues actually are from our predecessors as they question more of our actions more than their own.