Are Your Twenties for Being Single?
Recently, a friend of mine and her boyfriend of six years decided to end their happy relationship. Anyone who knew them together was completely shocked and taken by surprise – we had all expected them to tie the knot at some point soon, and here they were splitting up! My friend and her partner were still very much in love, there was no anger between them, they were looking back onto six years of beautiful memories with each other – and yet, they had decided to part ways.
This decision, as my friend told me later, was not easily made; it had been preceded by months and months of heartbreaking, tearful conversations, and always the eventual holding on. As you may be able to imagine, six years, for our age, are a very long time to have been with the same person. You have shared intense periods of change, the highs and the lows, and you have grown together.
The latter point is the reason why they broke up: My friend explained to me that she and her partner had agreed to grow as individuals as opposed to as a couple.
According to generic bubblegum-coloured posters, your one friend who is single out of conviction, and just about any meme on Reddit, your twenties are for being selfish: You are supposed to try out anything and everything that sparks your interest, find your calling and passion, build a successful career, and, most importantly and threateningly, find yourself (why does everyone assume that you have lost or never even gotten to know yourself? I’m not on board with this).
But what if you already are with that special someone that makes your heart beat just a little bit faster? Should you push aside a relationship with the potential of bringing a lot of joy into your life in order to ensure that it won’t limit you in any way later on?
After six years of answering this question with a very decisive no, my friend and her now ex-boyfriend eventually nodded affirmingly. They are confident to have made the right decision for both of them, and they want to give each other the chance to experience being single in your twenties – but they also firmly believe that they will find each other again when the timing will be simply right.
In the end, my initial question has as many valid answers as there are people on this planet. The third decade of your life is for finding your feet, making experiences and mistakes, learning from them, and growing as an individual. In truth – unless you really don’t feel like limiting the scope of your sexual encounters to one or more specific people you are dating – a relationship, if healthy, will not hinder you from progressing with any of these processes. You will grow as a human being, and whether you would like to do it by yourself, or hand in hand with someone else, is entirely up to you.