Defending The Millennial Relationship: 20 Signs There Is Hope For Your Relationship In Your 20s

by Greg Dybec

Relationships are difficult at any age, though no relationship has been scrutinized, analyzed and judged more than a serious relationship someone has while in their twenties.

We get it, being tied down in your twenties goes against the grain of the generic principles of what should be your best, more self-exploratory years: travel alone, make tons of mistakes, sleep with a lot of people, etc.

Sure, when it comes to personal self-discovery, people are attracted to the freedom that comes with having zero commitments to another person. Flexibility is great, and as the “Me Me Me Generation,” it’s no surprise that so many of us would want to avoid the pressures of a relationship while eagerly chasing meaning and purpose.

We’re a generation that has witnessed divorces become common and the power of technology explode before our eyes, so it makes sense that we’d be apprehensive about the idea of settling and spending years with someone we may not end up with in the end.

A generalized media portrayal would paint us as lost and struggling, inching at a snail’s pace closer and closer to the day we’ll be able to move out of our parents' home and own something for ourselves. Maintaining a serious relationship on top of such existential crises almost doesn’t seem feasible.

Yet, many of us still do it. And we do it well. For some, the commitments that come with a relationship do not have to slow down personal progress or stifle life goals.

For many of today’s go-getters, a healthy relationship in your twenties can provide a sense of support and motivation that would otherwise not exist.

We’ve all witnessed the disaster stories. The relationships that crash and burn. The ones that started for all the wrong reasons.

We get that our fast-paced lifestyle tends to breed overprotective partners and jealous lovers-turned-spies. We all have friends crippled by the fear of change, refusing to leave an obviously failing relationship.

And while the reasons to avoid relationships in your twenties altogether are passed around the Internet like the breadbasket at dinner, a defense of the healthy, functional, Gen-Y relationship is in order.

For the Millennials that do maintain strong, positive relationships, the freedoms of exploration and discovery are by no means off limits. Progress does not have to be slowed down, goals do not have to be put aside and the pleasures of the world are far from prohibited.

Sure, monogamy is the general agreement in most relationships, and the problem for most people when it comes to commitment is the fear of losing the ability to have sex with multiple people. Though, for some, the true perks of intimacy come with time and devotion to one person, allowing passion and pleasure to evolve and enhance throughout the span of a lifetime.

A healthy relationship in one’s twenties should be fun and as lighthearted as possible, even when the love is real and overwhelmingly strong. To say that selfishness isn’t required to attain your goals is a lie. And understanding that truth, along with a genuine support of each other’s "selfishness" is, in fact, a great act of selflessness that so many relationships lack.

If you are a 20-something in a relationship, despite the warnings against it, here are 20 signs that it’s not detrimental to your personal growth:

Sex is an ever-evolving process of exploration that feels more fulfilling than conquering the desire to have one-night stands.

Neither person is dependent on the other financially.

The relationship isn’t a detriment to your savings accounts.

Time apart is both accepted and encouraged so that neither person feels smothered or incapable of taking on a personal journey alone.

Even if you don't have the same food preferences, there’s no judgment if one person eats pizza and the other eats kale chips.

Constant check-ins and updates are not required when you are apart doing other things.

You can travel together as if you were traveling with a friend.

You’ve developed genuine affection for his or her family.

You both understand what it means to relax when relaxation is needed.

You both understand the importance of enjoying the present, and the relationship isn’t oversaturated with talk of the future.

Arguments are natural and unavoidable, but you’ve developed a level of communication in which problems are solved and no feelings are repressed.

Your partner’s support is genuine and known, because part of finding your own self-worth is being able to see the worth in others.

You feel proud of his or her accomplishments, and not a sense of fear that he or she may outgrow you or move on to something better.

Going out with your partner's friends doesn’t feel like a chore.

You have the constant urge to impress him or her, and he or she motivates you to progress and succeed as an individual.

You possess the desire to experience new things with your partner, from seeing new places, to trying new foods, because you are most interested in his or her reactions and feelings.

You share a similar enough idea of cleanliness and organization as to not drive the other person crazy.

The attraction you have for your partner is real and goes beyond just looks.

Neither of you are judgmental when it comes to each other’s taste in music, movies, literature and other general interests.

You can get a good night’s sleep while sharing the same bed.

Photo credit: We Heart It