I have lived through two divorces. I have seen love — or maybe, what I thought was love — go to shambles and tarnish.
I think everyone can agree that seeing your parents fight (not argue or complain, but really get into it) is literally the worst feeling in the world.
This may sound absolutely horrible, but I learned to appreciate the divorces. I don't appreciate that they left my parents feeling hurt, but I do appreciate that they taught me what marriage and love should feel like.
I’m 21 years old and it seems like a lot of my similarly aged peers are in love. I'm not talking about middle school love or high school love, but sincere, true, head-over-heels love.
There are still men out there who don't know how to treat women and there are still women who believe getting likes on their selfies and getting drunk at the bar is the best way to lead fulfilling lives.
Those people are the exceptions, and until they mature mentally, they will never find the love for which they are so desperately searching.
I never really dated in high school -- not because I was afraid, but because I felt that I should only date someone if I felt an instant connection.
It had to be someone with whom I truly felt that the relationship could have some serious potential to blossom into something meaningful.
I'm not the casual, one-night stand sort of guy, never have been and probably never will be. Furthermore, I feel like this trend of being the stud at the bar and landing women is slowly dying down. The new trend is being a true and sincere gentleman who honors and respects women.
I believe that my generation is learning to appreciate true love due in part to the high proportion of failed marriages we witnessed when we were growing up.
Here are some reasons why I believe the love in contemporary young relationships can, in fact, be real and genuine.
1. We all have friends who have had the same sh*tty relationships over and over again.
We learn from these friends. We learn the warning signs for a poor significant other and also learn what we should look for. We learn what turns us on and we learn what completely turns us off.
2. We are at the age in which dates can become more serious.
It's not high school anymore -- we can go to nice restaurants and classy restaurants. Dates can be more romantic.
We can still have fun and do simple things, but we can also just hop in the car and randomly go places, anywhere from mini golf to a weekend getaway.
3. We understand what we want now.
We grow more mature with each day and as we mature, we learn more and more about who we are and what we want in our other halves. It's not all about physical attractiveness anymore; we want our partners to have goals and ambitions.
Whether they are big or small, goals are important. We want our partners to know what they want out of life and we want to be able to dream together.
4. We are appreciative.
I tell my girlfriend that I appreciate her every day. It's an amazing feeling to wake up and know that there is someone in the world who is crazy about the person you are.
This person accepts your flaws and understands that you might grow a bit grumpy when you're hungry. This person loves you because you make him or her feel something unique to any other feeling from before.
5. We refuse to give up.
I believe that seeing either our parents, or maybe our friends’ parents, split up sort of teaches us what we shouldn't do in a relationship.
Granted, some people are simply not meant for each other, but I believe that the majority of divorces happen because someone gave up.
Couples get tired of arguing and would rather throw it all away instead of try to fix what’s broken. It sucks, but it's the truth.
My generation has learned that communication and trying to put yourself in the other person's shoes is more important than saying, “screw you” and breaking it off. We refuse to give up because we realize that we're human.
We bicker and get annoyed with each other, but no matter how mad or frustrated we become, at the end of the night, that person is the only person we want to kiss goodnight.
6. We have learned to love the little things.
Relationships aren't just about gifts or showboating your love for someone through jewelry boxes. Huge materialistic objects only mean so much.
There's a time and a place for those things, but they can't be the basis of a relationship. It’s the little things that count, like remembering your significant other’s favorite Chapstick is the candy cane limited edition or how much she loves cinnamon jolly ranchers.
The fact that we care enough to remember these things because they make our partners happy is just another example of our unconditional love that we desperately want to embrace.
7. We are still innocent.
We are at that perfect point in life in which we aren't little children anymore and we also aren't fully-grown. We don't find going out the bar every weekend as amusing as we once did, but we also still search for excitement.
We're past the "YOLO" stage, yet we still believe in having no regrets and taking chances. We think about the future, but not so much that it gets in the way of today.
We want to save money, but we also want to go to Six Flags and make awesome memories with our best friend, the love of our life.
8. We live by the 95-5 percent rule.
You'll never find a relationship in which arguments don't exist.
Sometimes, the fights can be over something completely idiotic that you both regret 48 hours later.
Sometimes, we can see our significant other a few too many times in a given week or maybe, we didn't sleep so well the night before and we start to bicker.
Arguments are inevitable, but what's more important is that 95 percent or so of your relationship is full of happiness and love.
That other 5 percent can be about arguments, name-calling and other points of contention, but what matters is that the positives vastly outweigh the negatives.
So, don't let anyone tell you that you're too young to be in love. Love doesn’t require a baseline age and doesn't become an option only after you snag a full-time career and a 401(k).
If you still feel those butterflies whenever you pick her up from her house to go to eat, or if he still makes you smile whenever he calls you beautiful, you have something special.
You have something that so many people are dying to find, so don’t ever let it go.
Photo Courtesy: We Heart It