How The Current Hook-Up Culture Has Fallen Victim To Peter Pan Syndrome

by Ashley Massis

Peter Pan Syndrome occurs when a male or female does not grow emotionally. Although he or she may appear to be old physically, he or she is probably still young in terms of maturation.

In most cases, these individuals appear to have it together, but ultimately, they have many issues to handle internally. Thus, they can seem emotionally stunted.

Why does this happen? Sometimes, something emotionally traumatic happens amidst one’s years of youth that stunts growth. If someone chooses to ignore said trauma, they may subject themselves to be frozen in time.

An unfortunate other reason for this can be linked to how new social media platforms and the recession continue to affect our generation.

Many of us ran from our hometowns to take job offers elsewhere out of fear of unemployment. Rather than taking the time to truly grow and mature professionally, we indulged opportunities and worked all hours to maintain these jobs.

Five or seven or however many years later, we will wake up in our 30s with higher-level jobs (which we didn’t necessarily want) and our biological clocks banging on our doors louder and louder.

Instead of looking like Robin Williams in “Jack,” we will appear to be emotionally older and ready for life’s responsibilities, yet here we are, having breakdowns and possible quarter-life crises.

Our parents’ generation married, had kids and maintained jobs by the average age of 25. The American Dream used to encompass a white picket fence, two-and-a-half kids and a 401(k).

Our generation has a quarter-life crisis by age 25 and is crippled by fears of debt associated with buying cars and houses. We’re still supposed to be figuring out our lives by our mid 30s, with roommates and a lack of responsibility.

If you've gotten involved with someone who has Peter Pan Syndrome, run. You can’t change him or her. Sure, it’s easy to get caught up with someone who seems fun and exciting, but if you get attached to someone of this sort, you’ll likely get sick of playing in Neverland sooner rather than later.

If your relationship becomes hot and heavy quickly, chances are, it’ll cool and freeze quickly, as well. Your special someone does not want to look into the future, but rather, into the past -- back to a time when he or she missed out on an emotional slumber.

Yes, I am a believer that there is always an exception to the rule. But still, this is the rule. If someone can’t take care of him or herself, the last thing the person wants is another suitcase of baggage in the shape of you. If you’re able to shut off your emotions and have fun, I say, do it.

Dating those who have Peter Pan Syndrome is a great experience and you’ll enjoy seeing life through someone who “lives on the edge.” It’s still a dangerous game to play with your heart, especially if you give it to someone who can’t locate his or her own heart.

If you’re looking for a romantic, fairytale ending, remember this: Even Wendy Darling had to leave Peter Pan at the end of the story. There are only so many nights of staying out partying and emotional un-attachment a girl can take.

Ladies and gentlemen of this generation, focus on yourself and get your lives together. We only have one chance to do it right. Don’t be tricked by the Peter Pans of the world.