In Defense Of Young Love

Like Crazy

Like Crazy (2011)

As a twenty-two year old millennial there are a lot of things I am tired of being told and called. I’m bored of the lazy and entitled trope that has become so overused that it is almost ironic. I am done with the social media bashing. I am over the abstract molds we’re suppose to fit within, and finished with the overgeneralizing and the stereotyping. I’m tired of being a millennial, not because I believe I was born in the wrong era–which I do but that’s for another time–but because I’m tired of being told I’m doing it wrong.

And in particular, I am tired of being told I am wrong about love. I am twenty-two and I am in a truly wonderful relationship with a man whom I couldn’t adore more. And if someone isn’t telling me that I am too young to be in love and that your twenties aren’t the time for a relationship and that I need to give myself a chance to meet other people, then they are nodding their heads silently and thinking it.

More often than not, someone who knows neither myself nor my boyfriend well, let alone our relationship, has told me upon finding out my current relationship status that I shouldn’t be in a relationship right now-–that I am too young and have too much to experience in the way of new people and places.

Putting aside the fact that they are suggesting that my path toward self-actualization and maturation is at all associated with how many people I’ve been with romantically, and that in order to experiences new places that I must be unattached and single, they are making a generalization about what is probably the most personal and unique feeling that humans have the capacity for: love.

I have been with my boyfriend for almost two years now. The way he never forgets to take my earrings out before I fall asleep, and brings over a new book when I’ve had a horrible day, or shares his hash browns after I insisted on substituting mine with tomatoes, or drafts countless cover letters with me at 3 in the morning, or calls my mom on her birthday and just to say hi, or who reads over every article I write, or who makes me laugh without words and dance without music, and who really truly understands my particular brand of crazy–that all feels a lot like love to me.

And let’s be honest–being twenty-two isn’t exactly easy. So why would anyone want to end something that not only makes the banalities of day-to-day life tolerable, but enjoyable? Like the age-old adage goes: if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. And my relationship is not broken, so why would I would change or fix it? He makes me inexorably happy and that alone is enough to convince me that we are partaking in a good thing.

I am not saying that I personally am ready to tie the metaphorical knot, but let me be the last to judge someone at any age who is ready. Love looks, feels, acts, functions, and appears differently to everyone. And I strongly believe that love doesn’t become any more or less legitimate or real at a certain age. Sure, it grows and evolves and is strengthened with time, but there is no minimum age from which it can begin.

Right now, I couldn’t be happier with where I am in love. My boyfriend challenges me everyday to be the best iteration of myself, and he is my champion when being my best self is trying. He supports my ambition to be a writer, appreciates my hopes to move to Paris, understands my unstable odd demeanor, and accepts all my anxieties and idiosyncrasies. And so far, going through the ups and downs has taught me more about life than a million dates with a million different men in, yes, a million different places.

And at twenty-two who could ask for more? But that’s my experience and my relationship, as aforementioned I understand that mine is wildly different from those of others. I am merely defending the young love as I’ve come to know it.

You can reach this post's author, Tara Dalbow, on twitter.
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    • CMc

      As a fellow millennial, I completely agree with you. I’m 30, but when I was in my early 20s I heard the same thing. “You’re young. Have fun! Don’t settle down. Party it up! Travel everywhere because your life is OVER when you have kids. Enjoy yourself now because once you hit 30 it’s aaaallll downhill.” There is validity to what people say. BUT that doesn’t mean life is one size fits all. You can have great experiences while also being in a meaningful relationship. I’ve always had a desire to live somewhere else and explore a new town. I didn’t do that while single and in my 20s and after I got married I thought my chance for adventure was gone. Because you know I’m 30 and it’s all down hill now. Well my husband and I are moving to a new state next month. We’re going to adventure together which makes it so much more fun for me.

      You’ve got to just take comments and learn to laugh about them because they will never end. Once you’re with your boyfriend a few more years, people will start questioning why you aren’t married. Then once you get married it will be why you don’t have kids yet. Then if you have one kid it will be when are you having another. And when are you getting a dog because all kids must have a dog. But if you have a dog before you have a kid then you must get rid of that dog because he apparently might try to eat the baby out of doggie jealousy. It’s. Never. Ending.

      And to all the older generations who continuously criticize millennials for being the worst people ever, I just stop and look at them with a look of incredulity. If millennials are such abominations, what does that make them since they birthed us, raised us, and taught us how to be human beings? Some people are bad eggs from the start, but most are not and learn their bad habits from the environment they grow up in.

    • Amanda

      My boyfriend & I fell in love at 15. If I had a nickel for every time someone told us we were too young or didn’t know what love was, I’d be filthy rich. But alas, five years later, we have had a much better relationship than any of those adults could ever dream of.

      • wannabevenus

        my husband and I fell in love at 14. were engaged twice in high school and went our separate ways when I quit high school to go to college. We had other marriages and children, but never forgot each other, nor did our feelings for each other ever diminish. 30 years later, we found ourselves single at the same time and got married. Never let anyone say that teenagers can’t truly love because we never stopped. Just because it may not be as seasoned or long lasting in some cases, doesn’t make it less valid.

    • riotersbloc

      My husband and I met at 20, and were married 2.5 years later. Now we’re 27 and are even happier and more in love than when we were in the honeymoon stage. We’ve been through a lot together, both difficult times and exuberant times. We have traveled to 15 countries together and are planning to move to another country next year. Not all relationships entered into at a young age are happy and successful, but then the same can be said for relationships at any age. We got a lot of flack for getting married so early, but now those same people tell us how envious they are of our relationship.

      Just do you! :) Everyone else can shut it!

    • Heather Hindle

      Aw, you’re fine. My husband and I met in 1991 when he was twenty and I was twenty-one. He’s still my favorite deputy. FWIW, no matter what you do, people will give you crap. Everybody has an opinion and the more obnoxious it is, they more they feel compelled to share it. It generally only gets worse when you have kids or wait longer to have kids than people think you should or choose to be child-free! Try not to let it get to you too much.

    • Samantha_Escobar

      I think it’s easier for people to be upset about other people’s relationships, to judge them and to critique them, than to examine their own romantic lives. I’m not saying it’s a “they’re just jealouzzz” situation, but I do think that’s only natural to assume that anybody younger than you is naive and people older than you know better, especially if you personally weren’t great at relationships when you were young so you project onto others.

      That said, it’s fucking annoying to have people laugh off your relationship as though it’s a passing phase simply because their relationships at 21 might have been. I’ve known you and your dude since the very, very beginning of your relationship and I know for a fact you’re f’ing amazing together.