How Your Idea Of Romance Will Change From College To The Real World

Your perspective should constantly be changing and evolving.

How you feel about life -- and yourself -- today shouldn’t necessarily resemble your feelings, say, two years from now.

At the end of the day, life is just experience -- the more you gain, the more influence that experience should have in your decision-making and specific desires. As you continue to mature, your outlook should, too.

Those same fantasies about what the future will hold that you might’ve clung on to when you were younger, you’ll begin to let go as you gain more real life experience. Some of that youthful naivety will begin to fade, and you’ll start to formulate your own attitudes toward matters of life.

You’ll find out for yourself where your passions truly lie and pursue them, whether that deals with your career or your ambitions or your love life.

Personally, my perspective on what I look for in a woman might be the one that’s constantly changing. For example, in college, my impression of romance was completely different from how I view it now.

College, for many students, is a self-sustaining environment. You know, everything you need is kind of already there waiting for you. If you need to tackle some academic affairs, the library is there awaiting your arrival.

When you’re hungry, the dining hall is only a short walk away -- with a meal plan likely already paid for. You’ve got your laundry downstairs, your friends in the dorm room across the hall, and your family is usually never more than a phone call away.

See, in college, everything’s laid out for you -- there really isn’t much to worry about outside of getting your degree. It’s the perfect opportunity for you to go out and meet new people. And for that reason, it’s the perfect opportunity to play the field and kick-start your dating life.

The more people you meet at college, the better sense you’ll have of what you care to look for in a significant other. Maybe you’ll spend a little time messing around with one girl, only to notice that some aspect of her personality tended to tick you off.

Then again, you might discover certain traits in one woman you were previously involved with that you will choose to seek out in other future girlfriends. Like you’ve probably been told before: dating is a process. It’s not meant to be a one-stop shop, so to speak.

And college allows you the freedom to explore your own wants and needs. If you want to spend the next few months “playing things out” with a lady, you probably won’t feel much pressure about doing so. It’s college -- the four years of life when you’re almost given the luxury of being able to mess up (just a little bit).

As you continue to grow up, however, your perspective on romance will likely mature.

Suddenly, after you graduate, you’ll begin to feel a greater sense of importance with regard to the way you handle your affairs. It's not so readily accessible, anymore.

Back at school, you probably didn’t think twice about being “exclusive” with some girl you “sort of” liked. In college, romance is sort of convenient -- for both members involved.

When two people go to the same classes, live in the same city and hit the same bars every weekend -- relationships at school require more of a label than a commitment.

Relationships outside of college, on the other hand, require far more effort. After you graduate, it’s likely you’ll be scrambling for a little bit -- trying to get your career off the ground.

Entering the real life is a bit of a shock – suddenly, you’ll start to notice things aren’t handed to you like they may have once been in college.

To eat, you’ll need to go food shopping -- and learn how to cook. There is no dining hall in the real world (unless you consider ‘Essen a dining hall, that is).

All of the little things that might’ve been easy for you to keep track of in college, you’ll be forced to pay attention to once you graduate.

And, subsequently, it becomes increasingly difficult to tend to your dating life, when you’re scrambling around trying to make heads or tails of your life, in general.

In effect, you’ll need to be more careful about which type of people deserve your love and attention.

For me, personally, since graduating, I think the biggest difference in my view of romance revolves around the notion of opportunity cost. That’s not to sound crass or inhumane, but in a practical sense, if I can’t see myself living the rest of my life with some woman, I can’t see the principle in delaying the inevitable.

Just like college, your early 20s represent a time in your life you’ll never be able to have back. Although there might come times when I wish I had a girlfriend to just relax with, I also understand I’m at a point in my life where “relaxing” might not be the best plan of action.

Unless I’ve found a woman I’m confident is the absolute one, I’d rather expend my resources focusing on myself, while I can. I'm trying to chase certain goals right now, and I don't care if it's selfish.

I've always been told my early 20s were a time to be selfish. And I’m sure as I continue to mature -- into my late 20s, maybe -- that my perspective on romance will follow suit.

Perhaps after I’ve made a bit of progress with respect to my own aspirations, I’ll be more willing to proactively search for love. But, for now, I’m not forcing anything. When you try to force things, that’s when you start to make mistakes.

For now, I don’t see the rush to find love.