I think that’s one of my least favorite phrases in the English language. It declares defeat before you’ve even tried to succeed. And very rarely, if ever, do we manage not to hope. Even in the most terrible situations, or when the odds are truly stacked against us—we hope.
Unfortunately, many of us are surrounded by cynicism and negativity. We turn on the television, pick up the newspaper, or even when we read a book, everything points in one direction—the world is a bad place. If you expect too much out of it, you’re bound to be disappointed.
Don’t get your hopes up.
Unfortunately, the same idea exists when talking about relationships, romance, and love. Even if you’re just talking about what you hope to find in a potential boyfriend, people do not hesitate to shoot you down before you have a chance to even daydream a little about what he might look like and where you’ll meet.
Seemingly innocent statements like, “I want to find a nice guy, who treats me well and has a nice sense of humor,” is often met by rebuttals of “Good luck with that, honey,” “Keep dreaming,” and the ever cryptic, “That’s what every woman says she wants—but girls never actually go after nice guys.”
So not only will I never find that nice, well-mannered guy who can crack a joke, but I’m also a liar for saying that that’s what I want in the first place.
No wonder no one knows what the hell they want. As soon as you express your opinion, everyone tells you that you’re wrong.
Romance, it seems, is simply unattainable. The very idea that a guy, or a girl, would admire you from afar, strike up the courage to ask you out, and the two of you would get together and develop a healthy, long lasting relationship just doesn’t seem to hold weight anymore. It belongs in Fairy Tales and books—sometimes to me it feels as if it’s gained a kind of mythical status unto itself.
I think that’s due to our somewhat jaded culture, fed by reality shows filled with trashy people doing terrible things to one another; using sex as nothing more than a tool for pleasure and manipulation. In conjunction with a media that finds glory in divorces and break-ups, one can’t help but just feel sad…and it makes you think, well, maybe that’s just how it is.
And if you don’t accept that, you’ll have no one else but yourself to blame.
I’m young. I’m a college aged girl who is still financially dependent on her folks. I’m supposed to be wide-eyed and naïve. My rose colored glasses ought to be intact at least until my first year of grad school.
Yet, I dread the idea of a relationship; because in my mind it encompasses all things negative. A loss of freedom, a loss of self, stress, worry, fear, rejection, disappointment…
But when you vocalize these fears and worries that have been so graciously bestowed upon you by seemingly everything you see and everyone you talk to (I do enjoy the frequent relationship horror stories some are so eager to share), people either agree with you, or are very very angry with you. “How could you say that? It’s not that bad! Don’t you want to find a boyfriend? Or have a big white wedding? And make lots and lots of babies?”
And yet when you tell them of your hopes and dreams, what you’d maybe like to find in a future spouse, they shake their head and pity you like you’re some kind of fool. I don’t understand. I’m supposed to fall in love without romance, with and marry a man who might have a good sense of humor but doesn’t treat me well?
That is the message I feel as though has been communicated to me since I started dating. Find a guy. Date for a while. Move in together. Get married. Have kids. But don’t get your hopes up. Not for anything special.
Because that’s the way it’s supposed to be.
And when you demand more than that, you’re foolish, you’re unrealistic, and you are bound to be disappointed. After all, who knows how many husbands you turned away on your mystic quest to find romance and true love?
So…what the hell is a girl supposed to do?
On one hand, I dread relationships because of how they are made out to be so very often; shallow, painful, a mere shell of what the famous love stories and poems make them out to be. And on the other hand,
I can’t help but hold onto this perhaps foolish hope that someday, I will find someone good, someone kind, someone who I might just want to share my life with, for however long that may be.
It’s a conflict that I think a lot of people my age are facing right now as they are constantly witnessing failed marriages juxtaposed side by side with an entire television line up of wedding shows on TLC.
What the hell am I supposed to want?
There are no simple solutions. I can think of only one right now.
Even though it might get me absolutely nowhere, I’m going to do my damnedest to pursue my ideal. Not just of love, but of life. Everyone has this notion that what’s best for most is best for all, or what’s enough for most is enough for all. That’s simply not true.
And by thinking that there’s something wrong with us because we want more, because we might want a romance, or god forbid, a life on our own—that is how we truly set ourselves up for disappointment and failure.
I’m determined to not lose my faith in romance, or in love, or in the idea that there is so much more in life than either of those things. I’m not going to compromise. I’d rather be alone than compromise my ideals, my hopes, and my dreams. Perhaps that’s foolish, or naïve, or idealistic, but I’d much rather look at life with a sense of magic and wonder than simply go through the motions.
I understand you have to work for what you want. And I plan on doing that. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect a fairy tale out of life, I don’t expect a soul mate, or a prince or anything like that—but I do expect great things. It’s not so black and white—I just want something more than what they’re selling on television and movies.
I want something real. I want something meaningful. From both love and life. And I think, if we all raise our standards in others, and in ourselves we might just find that.
It might not be easy, it might not even be possible—but in my mind, it’s worth it.
Romance isn’t too much to ask for. We just don’t feel like we should ask.