This generation isn’t quite cut out for marriage. We care more about instant gratification than we do anything else. The thrill has always been in the courtship and the wedding ceremony. Many millennials don’t care about going the distance like the older generation. We are quick to admit “Till death us do part” is an idealistic concept because we are not willing to give it what it takes. We are too busy shopping for the perfect partner like an Ajah property. We size worthy candidates in relation to our expectations. The bearded Ralph Lauren adonis of our fantasies. Chiselled features, sole heir to a billion naira conglomerate, PHD holder with a green card and eight inches of … achievements, who sends you flowers at work and whose sexual prowess is on par with a Russian porn star or Lira Galore or the busty Instagram model whose culinary/bedroom skills surpasses all your exes.
We keep spinning these trivialities until we find a “perfect” partner that will meet our honestly-acknowledged standards. We rarely marry out of love, mostly convenience. This nonchalant attitude toward love and relationships make millennials more liberated but less stable. When things go awry, We are quick to head for the door in the wake of liberation and the hope of finding fulfilment in singledom. A second chance can impale itself on a pike.
It is not your fault that you have your heart set on love and fulfilment in your twenties. Few realize it is more about communication and understanding their partners, even when they clearly owe you an apology. Profound companionship is the mark of a great marriage, and the couples who have that, in all honesty, have sacrificed a lot to get to that point.
I ponder the issue regularly. My greatest worry is our generation will be looked at as the generation that sucked at love. Most young people have never had a good understanding of love, just a poor interpretation of it. This generation seems to be moving away from the example laid by our parents.
Instant gratification has become addictive, thanks to a technology that allows instant access to just about anything. We forget that love isn’t meant to be experienced in an instant, but in a lifetime. It is obvious that a lot can be learnt from our parents—well, the ones that are still together.
We’ve built a culture that thrives on entertainment. We look to social media as our one stop shop for escapism and entertainment. A break from the demands and pressures of work, family and society. When we are stressed or our emotions are spiralling out of control after an heated argument with a colleague or friend, we turn to gossip and chit chats with our virtual acquaintances. When we are sad or bored, we fiddle with our phones. Social media gives us the illusion of reality, a form of escapism.
Love is hard work. It is confusing and incredibly idealistic. On some days, it is just an excuse to have sex on good conscience, or just a published misconception. We have successfully intellectualized it to our chagrin. It is not the stuff of Walt Disney classics. Pocahontas has clearly done more harm than good, because of the expectations of fairy tale endings or everlasting love. Unfortunately, what all this does is confuse us, making us believe love should be like a visit to the tailor – vital stats and measurements should produce what fits. Maybe it is not entirely our fault. As millennials, we have to deal with the societal pressure, the current economic turmoil and staying afloat.
Who has time for love, really?
We indulge in sex a lot. I am not judging anyone or trying to come off as moral, but sleeping around ends up leaving you feeling alone and empty.
Explain the spate of carefully filtered photos on social media. Attention is the new drug, it is exciting and somewhat gratifying to feel appreciated, like a piece of graffiti or a portrait at an art gallery.
Worse yet, finding someone to love and spend your life with has become more difficult. You are wasting your best years with people who mean nothing to you. You are emotionally spent and, to top it all off, you are likely to turn sex into a sport. When that becomes the case, good luck trying to make love. Good luck enjoying sex when sex is no longer a special or unique experience, but just another evening of grunts and “testosteronal action.”
We have become too intellectual for our own good. As human beings, we have no choice but to live and function within the society, within communities of different sizes. Relationships are really nothing more than granular communities. When we focus on only ourselves in a relationship, it all begins to fall apart .
We date because it is exciting, and the prospect of meeting someone new or starting another torrid affair is exhausting. The concept of finding someone to fall in love and spend the rest of our lives with has become too much to bear. It is backward logic evident by the high rate of divorces and relationships that seem to be heading nowhere. We are not fans of making compromises and we have created impossible expectations — expectations that always leave us disappointed in the end, not to mention confused.
When we are a part of a relationship, we are only a piece of a greater whole. What we want and need is not nearly as important as what the relationship needs. And what the relationship often needs is for you to compromise. But, nah, you are egocentric. It is beneath you to compromise. Once we no longer accept compromise as a necessity, we will lose the ability to create loving relationships.
But why compromise, you ask. If perfection is attainable, why the track record of broken relationships? Why haven’t you had a stable relationship in years? The “ideal” partners you come across at social events, restaurants and all the hangouts you frequent are also looking for that perfect individual without looking to become that perfect individual, same as you. Sadly, no matter how unrealistic our expectations are, the disappointment we feel when they are not achieved is very real, due to our ignorance of how things are meant to be. The grass always seems greener on the other side, meaning the picture perfect photos of couples on your timeline who are still in their “honeymoon phase” is what tugs your heartstrings. Okay, continue.
Most of us put off finding someone to love until after we get our life together. A lot of people simply haven’t been able to get a grasp of it. It is nothing to be ashamed of, but it is a reason to worry. The real question is: Are we getting better or worse at loving? That’s a question I’m not able to answer, but I fear it maybe the latter. Of course, each individual is different in his or her understanding, but many seem to be incredibly lost. The issue is if we don’t come to understand love better — its purpose, its boundaries and its shortcomings — we will never be happy. That’s nothing short of fact. Take it or leave it.