Growing up, I had trouble trying to figure out why it’s okay to start dating later. It seemed as if everyone who reached 13 or 14 was in a relationship, and I felt like I was the only one left out. And I kept trying to figure out what was wrong with me. But the older I got, the less I blamed myself. I realized that it wasn’t me, but perhaps I just wasn’t ready yet. It’s so different for everyone, and here's why it’s okay to start dating later.
1. The Older, the Wiser
I sometimes wonder how it would be if I had entered a relationship at a younger age, instead of at 19. What would I have done differently? To be honest, I knew nothing about relationships, so I’m guessing it probably would not have been satisfying – probably even traumatizing. The older people get, the more serious they are about relationships. In second grade, a Valentine’s candy gram equals a proposal. People learn to communicate as they get older, and that’s the key to maintaining a strong relationship. We learn so much as we grow, which is why it’s okay to start dating later.
2. Love Takes Time
Do you believe that love will come around? Because I do. But it took a good 19 years! I thought it would never come around. It’s hard to hold yourself back from diving into relationships that seem appealing, but don’t. You’ll only end up wasting time and maybe even getting hurt. Instead, wait. Trust me, it’ll be worth the wait.
3. Young Love Might Not Last
Now, I’m not saying that middle school or high school love isn’t long lasting, but for the most part, it really isn’t. Every once in a while, a lucky couple does end up making it work, and that’s great! But from what I’ve seen, those just tend to be flings or last a few years, tops. However, I’m sure these young loves carry sweet and innocent memories.
4. You Find and Love Yourself
Growing up, I struggled with my identity. But as I’ve grown older, my purposes and goals in life have become clearer. I’ve learned a lot about myself, and most importantly, I’ve learned to love myself and others. And if my partner can’t do the same, then that’s too bad.
5. You Know What You Want
If you had asked me at 12 what I looked for in a boyfriend, I would’ve blushed and said "a cute guy." Now, I can provide a solid answer: a fun, smart, kind, and thoughtful gentleman who loves his family (and me). I’ve learned to narrow down what I want, and I’ve learned not to settle. Upon entering college, there were so many (tempting) instances when I just immediately fell for a guy, but there were so many qualities that they were lacking. I would have to constantly remind myself of what I wanted in a guy and in a relationship, and that steered me away from those guys. Just remember, ladies: you are beautiful and special, and you should never settle for any guy who can’t appreciate and love you for that.
6. You’re More Stable
Have you noticed that time seems to slow down the older you get? With time, people get more serious about things, especially relationships. I can almost guarantee you that a 30 year-old man will approach a relationship differently than a college freshman. And that can be a good thing for some people. I would much rather enter a relationship later in life, knowing that it’ll be meaningful, rather than just a college hookup.
7. You’ll Respect and Appreciate
Relationships are two-sided, and it’s really important to respect and appreciate your partner. This is a skill that we learn as we get older. Our partners are special, and they should be loved and respected for that. And I’ve realized that day-by-day, I appreciate my partner’s presence in my life more and more. That’s something that I think kids understand, but won’t be able to grasp until later in life.
Just remember, that getting into a relationship isn’t a race. You should do it when you’re ready and when you find a good guy! When did you have your first relationship? What are some reasons why it’s okay to start dating later?