Is It Okay To Not Know What You Want?
Not every love story is like Cinderella, 10 Things I Hate About You, or High School Musical. We know that. But who said we wanted a whirlwind romance in the first place?
It’s a commonly held contingency in any rom-com that the main character is looking for love, or was and coincidentally gave up just before they found someone. But, what if Cinderella didn’t know if she liked Prince Charming? What if Romeo was never in love with Rosaline in the first place? What if he saw Juliet and just said “Eh, okay”? It’s probably not the perfect popcorn ending we look for.
Not everyone is looking for a relationship. We see that a lot in real life and in college where one-night stands and casual hookups are trendier than high-waisted mom jeans. The expression of independence is a growing narrative within society, with more and more people owning their sexuality and pleasure. It’s liberating, but it also creates two poles of relationships: the casual and the serious. This liberation gives way for sexual freedom, but not everybody knows what they want in a relationship.
That’s the question I think many of us ask ourselves as we get over the freshman frat party phase and grow as adults: What do I even want out of a relationship? Figuring out what you want out of your love life—or any relationship—is never easy. It takes a lot more looking into yourself than looking into the other person.
“To some extent, all relationships are exploratory—you’re feeling each other out and creating a connection that is unique to you both,” dating coach Laurie Davis told Elite Daily in “If You’re Dating But Not Sure If You Want a Relationship, Here’s What To Do.”
“I started a relationship, originally not wanting a relationship, and then changed what I wanted based on what the other person wanted,” said journalism major Julia Christian ‘21. “I feel like if you’re going to do something like that, you have to be okay with changing what you initially wanted.”
“I’ve had enough bad relationships that now, pretty much, I know,” laughed Julia Stanton ‘21, a political communications major..
All relationships are multifaceted. Even with strictly platonic companionships relationships can vary between different people—it depends on how close you are, where you hang out, what you enjoy doing together. That’s why people usually have multiple friend groups, even if they overlap sometimes. Different people like different things. It’s the same with more romantically leaning relationships. There’s physical touch and human connection, deep conversation, the feeling of home, domestic compatibility, sexual expression, and more. Craft the relationship (or lack thereof) with your partner according to what both of you like. It’s a partnership either way. Act that way and check in with each other. Communication is always key.
“If you start a relationship with someone…and you aren’t sure what you want, it could end badly, or it could end well,” Christian said. “You don’t know. But everyone dies alone anyways.”
Just as with everything else in life, it’s trial and error. If you don’t know what you want, try something out and see how it makes you feel. Never lose the component of yourself. Take time off when needed.
There is never anything wrong with you. It’s always okay to not know what you want out of life. That just means you have more room to grow and change.