Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The Waiting, Not Dating Narrative

I was taught not to chase boys, but to wait for the "right one." I heard it from my family and some from my church as a teenager and have carried it with me into my young adult years. It's a passive waiting. I say, "I'm waiting for my future husband" to cover up the fact I'm not making much of an effort to meet men. I'm not dating anyone. I wait for them to come to me, but they don't.
From what I've learned this semester through hearing a speaker's story, that's not realistic.

Is there a solution? Is it a problem that leaders assure teens that they will find Mr. or Miss Right? Should they change the narrative? As one who grew up on Disney movies and rom-coms, is it possible for my siblings' kids to grow up with another narrative? It will take a conscious effort on the part of those who interact with children to change this. It could be difficult, but it's better for them than being blindsided later in life with the possibility that they may not ever get married.
Is my personality a part of this? Absolutely. I'm introverted, which means I have to push myself to make friends. Not everyone who grows up with this narrative will have the same struggles as me. However, young girls in Christian communities who hear this could carry it with them longer than anyone expects. I appreciate the aspect of waiting in a physical sense, but not the aspect of waiting in a relational sense.

2 comments:

  1. (part 1)
    While I do appreciate your approach on the subject, I just have a few questions while reading this article. First, I would like to give a bit of background on myself to maybe lighten up some questions that may be brought up on my rebuttal. I am a female and in my early 20’s. I grew up in a very conservative Christian household that held a similar narrative when it came to relationships. I too constantly heard the typical “wait for the right guy”. However, I am curious as to the specific point of view the speaker you heard took on the subject as it’s not clearly stated in your post. Some more detail into what the speaker spoke about and what points she made during the convocation would maybe help clear up some ambiguity I found.

    I digress. I also grew up on a lot of Disney movies and rom-coms where the same scenario seemed to play out. While I agree that the media does not help change this narrative, we as a populace need to understand that the stories told in these movies and TV shows are just that, stories. While I understand young minds are quite impressionable when it comes to the public viewing and exposure to certain content, we have to question whether we can truly just blame the media, or whether we should be blaming parents or adult figures for not explaining to their children that stories are just stories and don’t always fully translate to real life. I’m not saying to blame parents completely, but you are right in stating that a conversation change needs to take place, and, with children, it generally starts with the adult figures in their life. I will agree with you that with growing up we do tend to be blindsided by a lot of things, relationship stuff included. That is a part of growing up though. Parents tend to want to shield their children from the harsh realities that the world holds, which no one can really blame them for. I think adults around these children need to recognize when they are growing up and learn how to properly adjust the conversation as to not completely destroy their innocence on the subject. I do believe children should believe in some forms of romance, but maybe not the “can't-eat, can't-sleep, reach-for-the-stars, over-the-fence, World Series kind of stuff”. If you’re asking for a change in the conversation, what kind of changes are you specifically asking for?

    While I agree with you that personality does play a part, we can’t solely blame personality on such an issue. I too am quite an introvert as well as my friends. It does take added effort for me to make friends as well as meet new people. However, I don’t blame my lack of relationship solely on that. I would say I do lack effort in attempting to enter new relationships, especially with the opposite sex. My lack of effort tends to be blamed mostly on my busy schedule and my focus on school. I struggle with social anxiety as well, so it is harder for me to converse with people and meet new people. That pools over generally in my dating life also. However, this hasn’t stopped me from going on dates with people or stopping myself from getting to know new people.

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  2. (part 2)
    What I think needs to be realized by women is that dating isn’t always finding the “right” guy the very first try. Dating is getting to know a lot of people without necessarily pursuing a more serious relationship. I think a lot of the time, we are hesitant to accept dates because our brain thinks “this could be the one”, and we put so much pressure on ourselves and maybe convince ourselves to back out. Alternately, we may think “this is definitely not the one” and do just the same. This shouldn’t always be the case. In fact, after freshman year of college, I made the rule to always accept first dates that I was asked on because then I didn’t restrict myself to thinking I needed one type of guy that fit in my mold of the “perfect” type. By accepting that first date, I not only give that person the opportunity to get to know me, but it also gives me the opportunity to get to know them and choose whether I wish to further pursue a relationship with that individual. A majority of these individuals have become more of my really good friends as opposed to my boyfriend, and almost none have progressed to anything physical which has been my choice in the matter. However, that does not stop me from further pursuing future relationships.

    Once more, I do agree with your stance on changing the conversation, but I also think we should take responsibility in ourselves to actively make this change in our own lives first. This way, we can be an example for those children in the next generation. Yes, some of us do face the reality of potentially never getting married which seems to have a bad connotation to it (this is another conversation I would like to change, but that’s for another time). However, I think that just because you may not have potentially met the person you will spend the rest of your life with now, that does not mean you won’t meet them later. People have told stories of meeting their “one true love” in their 20s, 30, and even 80s. I don’t think we as individuals should be discouraged if we don’t meet our “one true love” in our early 20s. With the average life expectancy being around 78.94 (found with a quick Google search), we as individuals have long lives to find that person we may choose to spend the rest of our lives with.

    In conclusion, yes, I do agree the conversation should be changed, but we as individuals really need to think about how we want that conversation to change and in what aspects. That I think is the most important takeaway from this discussion.

    Sincerely,
    C

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