You aren't the only thing changing as you get older. So are relationships, and the attitudes people have towards them.
I realize I've thought very differently about relationships over the course of my life. Here's how my attitudes (and maybe yours too) have changed over time.
Boys? More like COOTIES. EW EW EW EW EWWWWW.
Still not all that interested in boys. I thought the people who were 'dating' were wasting their time – it doesn't count as a relationship if you're just holding hands under the lunch table for 3 weeks then breaking up!!
Middle school relationships were all about trying to fit in with the cool kids, dating someone who would raise your social standing, and realizing after a couple days you didn't really like them that much anyway.
Suddenly, I really wanted a boyfriend. I don't remember exactly when, but boys became powerfully interesting.
Still, I thought many high school relationships were kind of... shallow. People would date for a few months and that'd be it. And to me, that was way brief to qualify as real love.
When I did date a boy my senior year, it was really sweet and young and immature. High school relationships were all about those first kisses, discovering romance, going on nervous dates, meeting someone else's family. We went to the beach, the movies, cafés, and school. We listened to tons of music and felt things way too deeply. That breakup was one of the more emotionally challenging things I had ever experienced – it's hard when you fall (and fall hard) at a young age.
I started dating, but never for the right reasons. I wanted to be noticed, have fun, fall in love – but the love part didn't come. It was less feelings, and more feeling. If that makes sense.
College relationships consisted of learning new things together; experimenting; going to parties, the library, bars, restaurants, the cafeteria, concerts, class. All your friends knew everything about your life, romantic and otherwise. Life was messy.
So many wrong relationships finally, eventually, lead to something right. Only after much searching and crying and #foreveralone-ing, of course.
A relationship means finding someone you can imagine being with forever. Or at least for a very long time. Someone who's a partner and a best friend and an adorable baby puppy you never want to stop snuggling, all in one. And with the promise of a long future together came love, finally. Actual real love.
I don't know if you guys agree with these relationship "states of being," but I'd love to hear your take on it. What did "relationship" mean to you in middle school, high school, college? Or after?