Once upon a time (or, like, four years ago), I was 21 years old, fresh out of a relationship and enjoying all the aspects of single-hood with my other single friends.
We spent our weekends downing mimosas during bottomless brunch, scouting the cheapest happy hours and — if we were feeling "rich" — heading out of town for a girls trip.
While I did sneak in a date here and there (but only on weekdays because I didn't want to waste my weekends on a pointless date), the last thing on my mind was getting serious with a guy.
And then, I turned 25.
Being single was never a big deal to me, but when all your friends (IRL and on Facebook) slowly start flashing their shiny engagement rings, 0r a "Say Yes to the Dress" marathon comes on, you start to think a relationship may not be such a bad thing.
Not to mention, there's the bogus pressure of society reminding you that you're not getting any younger, and if you don't find a boyfriend RIGHT NOW, you're destined to die alone.
At 25, your expectations on dating and relationships begin to change. Your standards will get higher and your priorities will shift as things like "tall, dark and handsome" just don't make the cut for long-term success.
You'll crave for something more — dare I say it— serious.
Here's how being 25 and single changes everything you knew about relationships.
1. All your friends start coupling up, and it'll feel like everyone is in a relationship.
Your ride-or-die happy hour buddy is trading $5 margaritas for some Netflix and bae, and your weekend plans will cease to exist because your friends have other plans with their SO.
2. And you realize that these relationships aren't meaningless hookups that your friends are participating in (more on that later).
They're getting serious. They're having better sex, they're shacking up, talking marriage; a few of them might be already engaged. They're also making everything a "we."
Case in point: Every time you see your BFF, she strings her BF along, making you the designated third wheel.
3. Valentine's Day, NYE and all those other couple-y holidays used to be a blast when you and your girlfriends were all single because it was just another excuse to get drunk.
But as all your friends opt for more romantic plans with their SO (and Instagramming the whole thing), you're trying to avoid social media as much as possible. The FOMO is real.
4. ALL THOSE ENGAGEMENT PICS!
But instead of ranting with your BFF about how 23 is way too young to get engaged, you've stopped because well, you're 25, and it's a pretty normal thing to do at that age.
It's way easier to click "Like" and move on.
5. But, you still can't get over babies.
Sorry parents, your kids are cute and all, but the fact that you're responsible for tiny lives is just mind-blowing.
Like, just a few short years ago, we were playing flip cup at a frat house basement and now you spend your weekends chasing your rugrats at Sesame Place.
6. Weddings will dominate your summers and your Facebook feed.
But hey, I'm a sucker for wedding pics so that's OK.
7. When it comes to dating, and just about everything in your life, your gut is never wrong.
If you're feeling uneasy about your Tinder date, cancel.
8. If you don't feel sparks by the second date, it's not going to happen during the third, fourth or while you're making out with him on his couch.
Don't waste his time or your time, no matter how much of a “catch” your friends say he is.
9. You realize that those casual, spontaneous hookups you loved during college and post-grad are actually lackluster and, in most cases, drunk-fueled.
Good sex requires intimacy, a strong connection and a partner who is willing to go above and beyond in the sheets to make you happy.
And you can't get all of that without being in a relationship.
10. PLEASE THROW OUT THAT FIVE YEAR PLAN!
You know, the one you cultivated in college that told you to get married now? Holding yourself accountable to a “plan” of any sort is only going to stress you out even more when you don't achieve it.
Besides, it's more fun when you don't live life by the book, in my opinion.
11. Although you enjoy the perks to being single, you won't lie, sometimes it sucks.
Like I said, it sucks to be the odd one out of your friend. But, being solo gives me time to focus on the things that I want to achieve, like building an awesome career, spending my money the way I want to and travel, travel, travel.
Plus, accomplishing your life goals will make you way more interesting during dates.
12. Like getting a job and building Ikea furniture, finding and maintaining a relationship takes work.
And a lot of it.
There's the whole swiping, making conversation, making time to meet, then keeping contact. While it would be amazing for Mr. Right to come knocking on your door, you need to do your fair share of digging to find him and get him to make the move.
13. Everyone will be asking about your love life.
But hopefully, you'll be a pro at coming up with quippy remarks.
14. Hate to break it to you, but dating apps are no longer fun anymore.
Honestly, were they ever really?
15. Which also means you're going to swap Tinder for a more "serious and sophisticated" dating app.
Like Bumble or Coffee Meets Bagel.
16. Dry spells aren't the end of the world.
Yeah, they suck, but is it worth putting your best foot forward for a whiskey-fueled guy that will finish in two minutes? No. It's not.
17. By 25, you pretty much have come into your own as a person and love every bit of it.
You've grown to love the nose you hated in high school, and are unapologetic about your annoying habits and quirks (like being super indecisive about lunch).
Anyone who comes into your life is going to have to accept it.
18. And just like you're so set in your own ways, whomever you date will be set in their own ways.
Please, don't think you're going to be the one that will change his fuckboy ways. Please, just no.
19. If he's not who you want, he never will be.
Like I said, your dating standards will be higher. You have a good idea what your idea of Mr. Right will look like. Meaning you're not going to waste your time on guys who don't fit the bill.
If you don't see a long-term thing with him, why are you giving him your time?
20. Sparks alone don't make him relationship material.
Don't get me wrong, they're are great and important, but to an extent. There has to be something more — a common interest — to make him relationship material.
Do you have a career you're obsessed with? Do we have similar hobbies or interest? Do you want to live in a Brownstone in Brooklyn like I do? THESE THINGS MATTER, PEOPLE!
21. You'll stop obsessing over ghosters, fuckboys, and other guys who love stringing you along, but don't want to commit to an actual relationship.
Please, I have other things to do then to sit around all day wondering why he never texted me back. Make like a ghost and leave.
22. Self-love (cough, cough masturbation) can be just as pleasurable as plain ol' sex.
There's nothing like some one-on-one time with your own body to learn what gets you off.
23. Dating is not just about finding someone who holds doors or offers to pick up the check at dinner.
It's about someone who's genuinely excited about your plans and personal goals, whether it'd be your career or your dream to run a marathon.
Call me crazy, but I find that incredibly sexy.
24. You also want someone with his shit together in both life and career.
Like that wise Facebook meme once said, having "swag" doesn't pay the bills.
25. And most importantly, you stop giving a fuck about what other people think.
This is probably the best thing that'll ever happen to you because you can go about your life living your unapologetic, authentic self. When you stop comparing yourself to your friends, you'll be so feel happier and free, and have way less negativity in your life.
So, until that Mr. Right comes around, do you, boo.