Why Our Generation is Forgetting to be Faithful

by Sam Maracic

There is no party like a Gen-Y party, and as a firm believer in the ‘work hard, play hard’ mentality, I'd have to agree that enjoying our youth while it is upon us is the only way to go. In fact, if there is one thing our generation is good at, it's mastering this mindset. But as we stumble our way through bars and music festivals, keeping in touch with the notion of a relationship can be a challenge.

Our actions always seem a bit more sensible when accompanied by a shot...or four, and whether we want to acknowledge it or not, throw the notion of commitment into the mix, and it's got self-sabotage written all over it.

As a generation, we've allowed our enjoyment of life to morph into an excuse for careless treatment of one another. But let's face it: no matter how good that bottle of tequila may look tonight, it’s not going to have the same appeal ten years from now. Or at least, let’s hope not.

While innocent missteps are necessary for growth, one has to wonder if we’re simply using those decisions as justification for skimping out on our commitments to each other.

We're certainly not all meant for relationships in our 20s, and for some, the idea of a relationship may never feel right. But for those of us who have navigated the ins and outs of the 20-something dating pool, the question remains: Why is our generation forgetting to be faithful?

All About Immediacy

Well, for starters, we’re junkies for immediate. In a constantly progressing world filled with instant gratification, rapid turn around has become the name of the game. Whether we're talking online shopping or casual encounters at a bar, we are a culture consumed by “the now.”

Sometimes it seems like we’ve become so used to the immediacies of modern life that even relationships need to come and go within five to seven business days -- throw in the right bar crawl and they usually do.

We’ve made it impossible for commitment to compete with the instant indulgence and nonexistent responsibility of casual encounters, and somewhere along the way, there appeared a disconnect in the conscience of our culture when it comes to the treatment of those we “date.”

So, let’s clarify: If you choose to be in a relationship, that decision doesn't subsist in a time-warped vortex where Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights simply don’t count. Relationships require effort, and frankly, that doesn’t seem to interest us.

Keeping It Casual…Permanently

Revolutionizing everything from the work place to the dating world, redefining the outdated has become customary for our generation, especially when it comes to matters of the heart. We’ve replaced actual relationships with the murky waters of everything but the definable.

Whether you’re friends with benefits, hooking up, sort of dating or some other adjective for really complicated, us 20-somethings have done a great job at keeping the lines blurred. Combine our enjoyment of youth with an unwillingness to label and you’ve got an infallible "get out of jail free card."

With nothing to call a relationship, the idea of loyalty seems just a bit out of the ordinary. Well played on our part? Probably not.

The truth is, a lack of responsibility does not necessitate a lack of emotion. We still get attached, we still get confused, and we still get hurt. The only difference being, we have no one to blame but ourselves.

One day, the Rolodex of easy-come easy-go scenarios isn’t going to exist, and we’re going to be left with nothing more than an inability to trust or be trusted by one another. The illusions of partying and self indulgence will inevitably wear off, and our need for the immediate and undefined will leave us realizing that the decisions were making now do actually have consequences.

Being a culture defined by what’s different is great. It has set us apart from the 20-somethings before us and enabled us to make a place in the world in our own way, on our own terms. But there is something to be said for certain traditions, and maybe loyalty is one of those we should consider hanging on to.

At the end of the day, growing up is about maturity, and I’d like to think if we’re mature enough to hold down jobs and vote in political elections, we’re mature enough to understand that hurting people in the name of fun is really never a good look.

Top Photo Courtesy: We Heart It