When you can’t even find time between classes, the internship that pads your resume and the waitressing gig that pads your wallet to take a 20-minute power-nap, how can you be expected to keep up with a normal, 24-7, all-inclusive and ever-stressful romantic relationship?
We’ve moved on from the idea that a significant other is a must to be a complete and functioning adult. After our parents’ divorces and one failed, bullshit relationship after another, Gen Y kids know better. Through inhabiting the world we do, we know that our careers are more important to our livelihoods now than romance is. None of us is looking to get married or find a life partner until we’re settled, career-wise.
But where does that leave us? Friends with benefits agreements? Open relationships? We know better than that too. The only logical thing left to do, since we’re all human and we all crave that most basic of human cravings (no, not food or water), is to take a lover.
A lover is not a boyfriend. A lover is not a friend with benefits. A lover is a person you meet who you maybe go out with once or twice, but, let’s face it, you don’t have time to devote yourself to. A lover is more than a booty call, and although they do serve a similar purpose, a lover is more than just sex.
The best kinds of lovers are the ones who have respect for each other, genuinely like each other, but don’t feel pressured to be together all the time or introduce each other to parents or friends. The best kinds of lovers are the ones you only see every week or so. Or maybe less than that – when you have time to chill out with someone after writing papers, having drinks with your friends, and showing your bosses that you really are the most brilliant intern they’ve ever seen.
A lover is a necessary 21st century accessory, like a MacBook or iPhone, but a lover also serves a much more important function, one that’s even more important than Facebook mobile: relaxation.
We live in such a high-stress, fast-paced world now that it really is impossible to juggle everything happily without being on serious mood-enhancing drugs or ADHD pills. A lover is that one person in your life that isn’t stressful. A lover is stress-relief. There’s nothing more relaxing than a good screw followed by a glass of wine, a movie in bed with someone you can laugh with, and a slow walk home with a smile on your face and Coldplay pumping through your headphones.
The trick, though, is how to alter the romantic relationship values system we were brought up with: either you’re a monogamist or you’re a whore. You’re dating to find someone to date or you’re dating to get laid. But these aren’t the only two choices available now. Some people simply aren’t able to commit themselves in a way that is positive to another person while they’re still trying to work out their own lives – and such lives we have now. How can we expect ourselves to be happy in such a limited sphere of acceptable relationship rules?
Taking a lover is not the same as sleeping or dating around – sex with one person is complicated enough, there’s no need to add drama to an already hectic lifestyle. But it does necessitate a certain amount of maturity. The only way to be comfortable in a sexual relationship is to be comfortable with every aspect of that relationship, and if it isn’t right, it isn’t right.
We are such scattered individuals, with so many broad and far-reaching interests, activities, hobbies and ideas that make up our daily lives that for Gen Y, its close to absurd to assume that we will find one person to be all the interpersonal relationship we need. Thus, with friends to confide in, classmates and colleagues to talk to and debate with and roommates (because who can afford to live alone in 2010) to hang out with on weeknights, all we need to add to our Rolodex of people we have relationships with is a lover to support us sexually and intimately – whenever we feel like it.
Photo Credit: mikebaird
Author: Alex Pearlman – blog – I’m a 23-year-old journalism and philosophy student, I love the John Adams miniseries, Aaron Sorkin, and reading Time magazine in bed with a glass of red wine. I work for GlobalPost.com and I’m the Editor in Chief of The Suffolk Journal, Suffolk University’s student newspaper. My interests range from libertarianism to beer bongs to the New York Times crossword puzzle. Hopefully, this box will one day read: Alex Pearlman, Pulitzer Prize-winning foreign correspondent.