In last week’s issue, an article in the Opinion section focused on the writer’s feelings towards serious relationships in college, and I couldn’t help but take exception to the article.
As I begin my senior year here at Oswego State, I cannot help but reminisce over the time I have spent here. Since my first year, I have been dating the same woman and after two years of dating, we finally tied the knot. However, I do not find myself missing the single life of stumbling incoherently down Bridge Street. You may call me a liar, but I truly believe it is possible to have a fun and fulfilling life without drinking yourself into a stupor and winding up in a stranger’s bed.
To address the first point, just because I am in a committed relationship does not mean I do not hang out with friends or my college experience is a bore. Perhaps the reason for our disagreement is that we view the college experience differently. Some see these four years as a time to go completely wild, sleep with random people and destroy your liver with alcohol. If you find time between drinking, partying, and sex, maybe you will do a little schoolwork. For me, the college experience is about becoming the adult you want to be. Personally, I do not want to be the kind of adult that is not capable of having fun without large quantities of alcohol.
I take particular offense to her assertion that all college relationships will end in disaster. As a statistician would point out, her anecdotal evidence is clearly biased. I should point out that the people such as me that are in healthy long-term committed relationships generally don’t spend a lot of time with people who like to get “fishbowl-wasted.” In a healthy relationship, trust and understanding are inherent; therefore, doubt and suspicion are minimal. However, you cannot build trust overnight, so in newer relationships you will often see a lot of suspicion and doubt. As your relationship ages, though, and you get to know each other better, your trust and love for each other begins to grow. Therefore, I would assert that her claim that only new relationships are truly fulfilling is entirely backward. It is only in old relationships where we can trust each other that we can rid ourselves of suspicion.
We also seem to disagree as to our definition of “freedom.” The writer believed that freedom means drinking yourself blind, having sex with total strangers and doing completely idiotic things because your parents cannot stop you anymore.
Consider instead the vital freedoms that college provides that are seemingly overlooked in the article. Consider the freedom to realize your life’s goals and build your own identity. Consider the freedom to engage yourself fully in a relationship with someone you love, without the restrictions that parents would impose. Personally, I enjoy the freedom of being able to have normal and professional relationships with any person regardless of gender without having to worry about “Does she like me? Do I like her?”
Perhaps what I enjoy most about being in a long-term relationship is how I always have someone to talk to, relate to, and love. Even more importantly, I gain fulfillment by knowing that I am important to her too. To have someone there for you constantly to care for you and for you to care for is worth more than all the “fishbowls” in the world. After all, as one of my favorite playwrights, Thornton Wilder, once wrote, “People are meant to go through life two by two.”