Every social media feed we scroll through these days is chock-full of couple photos and gag-worthy captions. In between the edgy memes and unrealistic mug cake recipes lie a slew of affectionate posts shared only because renting a billboard to share a kissing photo is economically infeasible. The level of cheese on Instagram alone is enough to put us all in a lactose-induced coma.
The couples that interrupt our steady stream of dog videos on Facebook seem to share a level of commitment that should only be reserved for second slices of pizza. The lovebirds featured in these social media invasions rave about how they’ve found the one true love of their life. They proclaim their undying passion from the figurative online mountaintop with no regard for how nutty their situation really is. They’re so enraptured in romance that the idea of forever is exciting rather than terrifying. They are willing to commit everything between now and forever to this one person that they’ve known for a mere nanosecond in the grand scheme of their lifetime.
It seems unlikely that anyone could meet “the one” this early on in the game. In a world so massive and a population so large, knowing that you’ve met the person you’re meant to share your life with at the ripe old age of 19 is statistically unlikely. But beyond the quantitative anomaly, the idea of a college relationship being so definite is what blows my mind.
Most of us operate solely with the immediate future in mind, and even in that regard, we’re indecisive. According to the never-wrong and always-reliable internet, the average college student changes their major three times. We’re unsure of what classes we intend to take next semester, and the idea of what we’re going to do after graduation has us breathing deeply into a brown paper bag. Similarly to our Snapchats and changing of majors, most everything that we do today is fleeting. This lack of permanency makes serious college relationships something of an oxymoron. You mean to tell me that in a sea of students subsisting off of frozen pizza who struggle to settle on a single set of pre-reqs lie teenagers ready to take on lifelong commitment?
The idea of a soul mate is both comforting and terrifying. On the one hand, it’s nice to know that somewhere out there exists one person that you’re meant to be with. Although it seems hopelessly romantic to believe that we all have one person we’re supposed to share our soul with, it’s a relief that the memes of being forever alone no longer apply. On the other hand, the fact that there’s only one fish in this ocean of 7.3 billion is quite daunting. By these numbers, you could catch a new fish every minute of every day for the next 150 lifetimes and never even come close to hooking the guppy that you’re destined for. This rapid speed dating is tragically idealistic in its own right, considering the fact that it took us well over 15 minutes to draft a flirtatious text Tuesday night.
Based on our track record, we couldn’t manage to hook our destined catch if the sea were the size of a puddle.
A quick and in no way scientifically backed or well-conducted survey indicates that most people do not believe in soul mates. Rather, they see lifelong relationships as ones that people grow into. This idea gets us out of our lifelong fishing mission but presents the slightly uncomfortable reality that our dear loved one isn’t quite so dear. While it’s nice to believe that the person you love is special, this concept of developable matches vastly widens the pool of acceptable candidates. If all it takes is a decent background to start true love, it shouldn’t be too hard to accomplish this gag-worthy couple status that surrounds us.
Rather than looking for “the one,” we should be seeking a significant other who is willing to apply suggested edits. It would be in our best interest put out an ad on Craigslist for the bare minimum requirements of a partner we’re looking for and tack on “willing to take and apply constructive criticism.” After we’ve found someone who meets all our basic requirements, we should be able to just grow them like a Chia pet.
Forgive me if I sound like a Scrooge with my skepticism. I’m not a big fan of commitment. The most prominent moment of commitment in my life has been when I SIR’d to Berkeley, and everything since then has been a wild flurry of uncertainty. From brunch orders to summer plans, nothing is safe from my hurricane of timid indecision. Perhaps I’m just jealous that people can be so confident in their decisions while it took me 25 minutes to decide between French toast or waffles last Sunday. Maybe these people know what they’re talking about. For their sake, I hope they’re right.