The Thing About “Things”

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The Thing About “Things”

illustration by Melina Bowser

illustration by Melina Bowser

illustration by Melina Bowser

Cassidy Kufner, Reporter

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The feeling is all too familiar. After talking to someone for a while now, you have no doubt developed some form of attachment. You’ve been out on dates, and you know you genuinely care. Everything is great, except for the fact that you aren’t actually together.

Whether this person is someone you have just met, or someone you’ve known for years, it sadly seems this phenomenon occurs too frequently. Blurred lines, messy emotions, and lives riddled with event have always made relationships difficult. With that said, it seems that nowadays there is nearly a total lack of actual teenage relationships altogether.

I completely understand, even appreciate, the desire for self-advancement. Sometimes there is a need to focus on your own life, to thrive in an undertaking, or simply to revel in the joys of being alone. But an undefined relationship becomes even more complicated as you spend an increasing amount of time with one another. Your lives inevitably become intertwined, yet a lingering uncertainty persists.  

This uncertainty comes in many forms, namely the unknown nature of your togetherness. There is jealousy, there are days spent together, and there are talks of feelings, but you still do not have a name for what is really going on. The frustration that follows is known to cause introspection, perhaps raising the question: what do I even want?

As you question your own emotions and desires, you become even more self-conscious of what the other person could want. The difficulty of not knowing whether someone truly wants to be with you is disheartening. Emotion runs high, leading to irrational thoughts, broken communication, and possibly even self-esteem issues. Of all of the frustrating elements of a “relationship” among our age group, the worst part is arguably the tendency to ignore each other. Instead of making fools out of ourselves and delving into raw emotion, gladly ignorant to the feelings of the other party, we more easily decide to simply not communicate at all. Ignoring not only your own emotions, but the emotions of the other involved is extremely unhealthy, however. In some cases, one decidedly cuts off all communication with no warning at all, in the infamous act of “ghosting”.

As our lives become busier, it is not uncommon for interpersonal relationships to lack or even fail. Of course no one can be completely dedicated — it would be ill-advised to allow one to completely absorb your life. That said, the lack of an official relationship often adds unnecessary stress to at least one of those involved. No matter how much convincing there is to be done, how much you believe you’re okay with simply having a “thing”, changing your mind at any point could very well affect one deeply. Life is far too complicated to spend time worrying about what may never come to fruition.

When feelings get hurt, it is so easy to be regretful and wish you could take back every minute. The truth is that being hurt isn’t always the worst thing in the world. Sometimes there’s necessary growth — emotional, communicative, or even simply growth in maturity. There is a difficult balance between holding yourself back and being smartly cautious.

The fix to many of these problems could come from just defining what it is this “relationship” is. If everything were out in the open, and both parties were honest, it seems life would suddenly become much easier.

I get that relationships are scary and that we are young. But what is undesirable about support? The thought of one person to confide in, to go back to, and to be reassured of seems to take away the majority of these qualms. So why is it that hookup culture persists?