Love cannot be scheduled
“Why do I have to rush into marriage? Why didn’t I just find a boyfriend in college?” Those are the questions my friend Linda often asks me. At 28, she is considered “too old” to be single by her parents, who constantly arrange dates for her.
Linda appreciates her parents’ help, and she does hope to find true love one day. But the real problem is that she has never been in a relationship before and has no idea how to get along with men or what she really wants in a relationship. She finds it hard to keep the conversation going during a date, and she gets confused when a man confesses his feelings to her after only a few dates.
“How can he say he likes me when we barely know each other?” she would ask.
Most of Linda’s dates are older than her and are in a rush to get married due to pressure from their family and peers. She doesn’t want a relationship just for the sake of marriage, but it seems that it’s too late for her to find love in her parents’ eyes.
Sometimes she feels pathetic. She hasn’t experienced love before, and while marriage seems more practical, it is more about economic stability and less about romance or passion.
“I think I might have missed out on the most beautiful and pure period of my life by not finding love on campus,” Linda sighed heavily over the phone.
She is sad, but I cannot help feeling angry at this whole practice and value system. It’s Linda’s parents who persuaded her not to date boys and to focus on her studies when she was at university, and it’s them again that have been pushing her to build a relationship and rush into marriage right after she started to work.
Humans are not machines that can be pushed into different modes according to a precise schedule, and love takes time.
Linda’s case is quite common in the post-80s and early 90s generations. Falling in love in high school was strictly forbidden. Parents and teachers always told you to focus on your studies and stay away from love.
I remember my high school even had a “discipline team” to monitor students and any form of intimacy between boys and girls. Holding hands or even walking too closely together would have been reported to parents.
For many students, dating was not what a “good student” was supposed to do. That ideology carried over into college, and some parents, including mine, still reminded their children to stay focused on academics and not to spend time on romantic relationships.
The practice killed every possibility for the young to learn about and enjoy love. If someone has no idea what a relationship is, how can he or she make the right choice in marriage?
I can tell Linda is still a baby in relationships. But whose fault is it?