I refer to the interesting read “Waiting for a love that never comes” by one of StarLifestyle‘s assistant editors in the Touche column. I take my hat off to Tan Shiow Chin for being so frank and open in her revelations that love and relationships don’t automatically happen for everyone. But I would like to ask Tan what she was doing when she was in college or university.
Susan Patton, in her book Marry Smart highlights that the most opportune time to find a mate is at college or university because that’s when women have a large pool of intellectually equal age-appropriate and single men to choose from.
If a woman has not been “hooked” by graduation day, I agree with Patton that it would be much more challenging to find a soul mate or boyfriend from then on. Why? Because the woman’s outlook keeps changing as she becomes more successful in her profession. And to pursue her career to greater heights, she works diligently (beyond office hours) – social activities and getting a boyfriend takes a back seat or is given very low priority. She justifies her action by saying “I’m not hard up for a boyfriend”.
Let’s analyse the situation from a young undergraduate’s perspective during her university days. She meets a guy she likes and gets into a relationship. Although they may seem to “click” right away, there will still be a process of adjustment and modification of behaviour, for instance, adjusting to each other’s idiosyncrasies, habits and way of doing things, akin to a newly-married couple who have never been together previously.
They love each other’s company, which keeps the relationship going. Their backgrounds matter little as they are in the same university pursuing the same goal.
Being away from home can sometimes be lonely as college can be hectic, trying and frustrating at times. Hence, when someone shows love and affection, the natural thing to do is to reciprocate even though one never intended it to be a long-term relationship.
At this stage in their lives, both don’t know how far they will go in life in terms of their career and future wellbeing. Therefore, they are not so concerned about status or their future but more focused on doing well and graduating. Money, intellect and marriage are far from their minds.
Their love and understanding as well as tolerance for each other increase. This is the key. If the guy smokes, so what? She can voice her concern but it is not a factor that will drive them apart.
But as mentioned earlier, when a single woman advances in her career, the scenario changes.
Inevitably, her standards and preferences in life change while her tolerance level in terms of imperfections narrows.
She is looking for Mr Right who matches her standing and credentials and perhaps earns as much as she does. To top that off, she would prefer him to be a non-smoker and a non-drinker. She is looking for the fairly good-looking, smart, knowledgeable and witty guy with a sense of humour who loves the outdoors and is able to win her heart by sweeping her off her feet. In short she becomes more choosy without realising it!
But the irony of this is that she doesn’t realise she too has many imperfections and hardly considers this factor in the scheme of things.
I’m sorry ladies, you can dream on; your dreams will never materialise simply because there are not many such guys with such cool attributes who fall from the sky; if there are, they have already been taken. Much as women want to be a wife and mother, their ever high standards and criteria stand in the way of finding a mate which inevitably results in them remaining single.
My view is that these women take the path suggested by Patton by not merely focusing on their studies but also actively seeking a companion at the university or college by being more open and aware that this is their best chance to meet as many men of their age as possible.
In this way they get to enjoy university life both academically and socially.
Of course not all will be successful and as they enter the job market and pursue their climb up the corporate ladder, they have to be realistic and mindful not to raise their standards higher.
More importantly, you have to come to terms and live with your own imperfections.
To sum up, this quotation from an unknown source explains why relationships which start at the university or college are more enduring.
“The best relationship is not the one that brings together perfect people, but when each individual learns to live with the imperfections of others and can admire the other person’s good qualities.”
Note: The writer met his wife while studying at Universiti Malaya.