I never had a boyfriend in high school. There were plenty of crushes, but never anything official. I’ve never gone to dinner and a movie, hoping someone will take the hint and hold my hand. I didn’t take a date to prom. (I went with my best friend and had the best time, but you know what I mean).
Coming to college, I thought everything would change. I moved across the country and to attend a school with 51,000 students in a city of 8.6 million people.
I was bound to find someone, right?
I’ve met a ton of new people and it’s not even the end of my first year. But just like in high school, nothing has been official. Most people I’ve met were in long-term relationships in high school. They don’t share the same “can’t wait for my first big, magical, romance” mindset.
They already found that and just want to “have fun.” Fun in college means hooking up with someone new every weekend and moving on like nothing happened.
I get it. When you spent so much time with one person, you want to try something (someone) new. And you want to see what’s out there.
My mom described the whole thing to me in terms of breakfast cereals. Imagine you’ve eaten one cereal your entire life. Every morning you wake up, get the same bowl out of the cupboard, the same milk out of the fridge and the same box of cereal from the pantry. It gets boring after a while.
Most people don’t eat just one cereal. Maybe when you’re older, after you’ve tried a few, you feel ready to commit to buying one cereal every time you go to the store. But by then, you’ve tried enough to know that Special K with Red Berries is your favorite cereal. No other cereal will ever make you as a happy. But to figure that out, you need to try other cereals. Everyone is just trying cereals.
But here’s the thing: I don’t want to try a cereal for just one morning, forget about it and move on to another box tomorrow. I want to conduct a long-term experiment on just one cereal and really see if I like it.
Do you see my problem?
It feels awkward and uncomfortable to seem ten steps behind all your friends. You don’t really know what to do with yourself when everyone is with everyone and you’re not. It even feels embarrassing. You feel like you’re the last person on the planet who has yet to have their first kiss at 19.
But all you can really do is wait for people to move past it. The ones going to clubs and parties looking for their latest one-night-stand want to feel loved just as much the ones claiming celibacy while they get over their high school sweetheart. They want to feel loved just as much as you, the one who’s never had a boyfriend and is starting to wonder if it’s ever going to happen.
We all grow and change in different ways and directions but at the end of the day we all want the same thing: to feel loved and wanted, and feel a good about those things.
There will come a day when all the one-cereal-wonders will want to eat the same bowl more than once. A time will come when it’s more common to go out on a real date rather than just make out on your friend’s couch.