College Crisis: Relationship Deal-Breakers

Our college years are full of dramatic “I’m not a grown up!” moments- mostly unexpected, and typically unwanted. Anonymous Valley writers discuss it all, from avoiding basic responsibilities to dealing with the big, bad future. Let’s talk about it.

ShantelleWilliams.CollegeCrisis (2)2I used to think I had relationship experience. That is, until I contemplated the current state of my relationship. Which is none.

Like any other girl, my heart is set on finding my prince charming. I like to imagine that our connection will be chemical – some form of crazy, can’t-eat-can’t-sleep kind of love. We’ll take walks around campus, study breaks in the HUB and make pancakes on Sunday mornings. He’ll challenge my opinions but respect my intelligence and most importantly, will have a sense of humor that’s borderline inappropriate.

To some, this description may sound like the boy you sit next to in economics. But, to most, my prince charming is merely a character straight out of a romantic comedy – a seemingly impossible creation of the female psycheSo what’s a girl to do when she finds herself in my situation? Do we lower our standards and accept the reality of the college dating scene? Or do we create, what I like to call, “relationship deal breakers” to narrow down the search for our prince charming?

“Relationship deal breakers” work by determining the red-flag characteristics in men to eliminate the frogs we know we would never date. Just to name a few, being rude to my friends, partaking in unusual body grooming habits and failing to follow up after a date are some of my personal “deal breakers”. While I admit to making a few exceptions every once in a while, I’ve found that the majority of boys at Penn State fail to meet my expectations before I even really get to know them.

After years of trying to solve my single-girl woes I’ve got to ask myself, who’s to blame? Perhaps, what’s standing in the way of my fairytale romance isn’t the lack of available bachelors, but my standards, which are impossibly high. It recently occurred to me that maybe the reason so many of us are still single is that we’re all just being too quick to find flaws in one another.

Ironically, the only person I have ever loved so far in my life had more flaws than I could count on one hand. You could even go as far as to say he was a walking deal-breaker. The first six months of our relationship, I hated everything about him from his voice to the way he wore his clothes. It wasn’t until I let my guard down and accepted his quirks that I realized these were the very things that made him so special.

Before I knew it I couldn’t imagine what my life would have been like if I hadn’t given him a chance. We ended up dating for three years. If I had let the deal breakers stand in the way, I may have missed out on one of the greatest friendships and loves of my life.

To take my own advice, it seems that the secret to finding prince charming isn’t imposing a list of deal breakers, but it’s to reject the notion of them entirely. It’s time that we put away the storybooks and focus on reality. Behind the very obvious deal breakers, what are the deal sealers? If we look a bit closer at what’s in front of our eyes, perhaps we’ll be lucky enough to find that our happily ever after has been there all along.

Photo by Shantelle Williams

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