Four college students share their perspectives on modern love

I would consider myself a romantic, a sucker for a good love story. I’m hoping to someday walk down the aisle and say my “I dos.” To me, marriage signifies a rebirth of self — who you once were as an individual and who you will become with your partner. 

However, a typical marriage is not everyone’s vision of rebirth or a happily ever after fairytale. Others may find rebirth in independence, a happy dating life, a solid group of friends, etc. 

I interviewed four individuals about their love journey, their outlook on marriage and what they have learned through the process. 



What does your love life look like right now?

S: I downloaded Tinder last year because it was popular, and I wanted to gain the validation that Tinder sometimes provides. Soon after, I wanted to actually start dating but found out that [Tinder] is mostly used for hook-ups. At the time I didn’t know that because I hadn’t dated at all. I met up with this boy from Tinder; We didn’t know what we wanted from each other at that point. We continued to see each other and it remained complicated. Now nine months later, we are still together and things are still complicated. We just don’t know what we are to each other. 

Where do you see your relationship going in the future?

S: It’s sad because I don’t want to say break up, but I know he’s not endgame. I think for experience he is someone that is going to be a big part of my dating life. In the future, I think we are going to probably end up breaking up from growing apart because I am young still.

What do you hope to gain from this?

S: I think it is important for me to see how I am in a relationship; how I treat another person, be in union with someone else, take care of another person and how I prioritize them. It’s more for learning about myself — how I love and want to be loved.

What are your views on marriage? Do you hope to get married?

S: I hope to get married but I just don’t know if I’ll find someone perfect for me.

Will you be okay if you don’t get married?

S: If I don’t find my person, I think I’ll settle for somebody. There’s no way I would want to be alone. You can have a lot of lovers throughout your life, but I think there comes a point where you just don’t want to do things alone anymore. So, if I didn’t get married to the person I love, I would settle for someone good enough. I’m satisfied for now … I think. It’s fine for the experience and for what I need right now. Do I wish it would be a little bit better? Yes. I know he can’t change though, so there’s no way we would ever get married.



What does your love life look like right now?

Z: I just got out of a summer fling, if you will. And then there was a dry spell. Nothing. Single pringle. No big deal. Then all of a sudden, I met a boy on Tinder and we went on a few dates. He’s in love with me. He’s cool. 

Where do you see the relationship progressing?

Z: This is so bad because I don’t think he’s endgame and I am kind of just dating him for the experience because it’s fun at the moment. He doesn’t know how I feel. 

What would it take for someone to change your perspective? 

Z: That’s the kicker! I would like to see endgame with somebody — I don’t think it’s going to happen, but I am open to the idea. I definitely want to get married, but who can handle me? I don’t know! 

When you were young, did you picture yourself getting married?

Z: No. Never.

When did that change?

Z: It was a little interesting for me because when I was 18 I was basically told that I can’t get married. When I turned 21, I said screw that. Then I started dating and thought, “I’m definitely getting married because I don’t want to be alone.” So it shifted when I actually started dating.

Are you satisfied with your dating life?

Z: Yes, because I feel like I pick [partners] correctly. They’ve pretty much always been on the same page with me. I don’t date duds. If I get a whiff of dudness, I peace out. So, at the moment I am satisfied.

If you don’t find someone who can “handle you,” what will you do?

Z: Great question. I think I’ll just get a dog or something.



What does your love life look like right now?

A: My love life is 100% nonexistent right now, and I kind of like it that way. I’ve honestly been working through a lot of my own stuff and been doing a lot of personal growth, and I think I have just not been in the place to be able to try to date. Dating has never really been a huge desire of mine.

Do you see yourself getting married at some point? Why or why not?

A: I’ll never say never, but I don’t see myself getting married, at least not any time in the near future.

I think that my feelings about marriage and dating were really influenced by me growing up in the church. From junior high through high school, I remember that our youth groups really preached that dating was to be exclusively for marriage. They also really emphasized purity, saying that sex/intimacy outside of marriage is a sin. I was terrified of making a mistake or “sinning” against God, so I really feared any form of intimacy. I told myself I wouldn’t date until I was “ready,” and put it off for a long time. Even when I did date, I always would end up getting nervous that it was getting too serious, and would break it off before we ever became official, so I’ve never actually been in a relationship. My mindset was that I wasn’t planning on getting married anytime soon, so why even date? Now, I recognize that the messages I got from the church may not have been the healthiest. The messages I received is that I should not be attracted to anyone, and I honestly think this caused me to become completely emotionally unavailable to relationships. Sometimes, I do hope that I find someone that I feel like is “my person,” but I think I have things to work through before I get there. 

Do you plan on having children? 

A: No. I really don’t want children. I can see myself possibly getting married, but I definitely don’t want kids. I really just don’t like kids! I’ll take a dog. 

Are you satisfied?

A: Yes. I’m very satisfied with being single. I’m not in a rush to change things. I’m still figuring out who I am, and I’m just enjoying “dating myself” and getting to know me.

How do you see your future progressing?

C: If there’s anything I’ve learned in my college experience, it’s this: I can plan and envision my future as much as I want, but it will turn out so much different than I plan for it to. So I’ve learned to have a looser idea of what my future will be. Currently, I don’t know what my future is going to look like. As of now, I see myself working in a cool job and living in LA. Hopefully, on the side, I’ll get to travel the world and be an advocate for causes that I’m really passionate about. 

What does your “happily ever after” look like?

A: My happily ever after looks like me finding and pursuing my purpose. I want to travel, have a fulfilling job, enact change in the world. If someone comes into my life that wants to come along for the ride, then cool. If not, that’s cool too.



What does your love life look like right now?

Cam: I’ll start with how [my fiance and I] met. We were both 16 years old in a musical theater show for the summer. We were paired up as dance partners because he was the only one tall enough to suit me. We were together all summer, all the time. We quickly became really close friends and were obviously crushing. 

Towards the end of the summer, there came a point when he attempted to ask me to be his girlfriend, but I ghosted him because I was scared of boys and intimidated. From then on we just stayed friends but with a funny, sweet, romantic undertone. 

Eventually he got a girlfriend, we both graduated and I went to college. I dated a few boys there but we remained friends all the while. I think both of us tried to suppress how much we still felt for each other all of those years. I always trusted him so much and told him everything. He was such a good listener and I really appreciated his similar views to life, and friendship, and love.

When I graduated from Azusa Pacific and came home, he had broken up with his girlfriend and we started hanging out. This time it was different because we were both in a stage of our lives where we were single and able to see each other a lot more. And we did. We realized how compatible we were. He’d always be one of my best friends, but I started to feel that “pull” romantically that I always felt and I really, really wanted to act on it. 

At one point I told him I really needed to kiss him. He always appreciated my forwardness. From then on, we’ve been inseparable. It’s felt like the most natural, “how did we not do this before,” feeling ever. 

It was important that we had different relationships and spent so much time apart in order to grow, earn and find independence. 

We dated for four months, and I continue to be the happiest I’ve ever been since we’ve been together. He proposed to me on our four month anniversary! That sounds quick and that sounds fast, but that’s okay to us. There is something we felt between each other that was the most sure we have felt about anything. I know for a fact that we are meant for each other. As someone who is unsure about a lot of things, I am so sure about Caleb and our life together. 

Were you faced with any backlash for getting married at a young age?

C: I think we got some natural varied responses to our engagement but I wouldn’t say we got any malicious backlash. We got engaged on our four month anniversary. That’s quick and we both know that, but it doesn’t come from a place of rushing anything. To be honest, I thought I would get married in my 30’s. As much as I love love and romance, I didn’t feel like I needed to be married so young to find those things. I think that some of the main concerns we have gotten was financial or career based. For me, I feel like Caleb and I are so much of a team and support system for one another that it would be silly to go through the hardships of early adulthood separately. I want him to be alongside me when I am struggling and I want to be there for him as well. 

Can you offer any advice?

C: I think the concept of our generation — being scared of commitment — is interesting. I think my main advice is that it’s normal to be scared of commitment. Yet, I think the only reason it’s such a widespread fear is because most people haven’t found the person they want to be committed to yet. I th ink once you do find a person that you trust completely and want to be with forever, it doesn’t feel like a choice to be committed. It feels like a natural shift in the relationship.

When I dated in college, I dated knowing that the boys I was with weren’t going to be the ones for me. It was more I liked them and wanted to fulfill a fun chapter in my life, which may not be the healthiest choice. After dating Caleb, I didn’t want him to be another chapter in my life. I had some crazy, spiritual shift in the way I viewed him and I knew for a fact that I wanted to be with him forever and marry him. It wasn’t a choice, it was a need.