By Megan Tullos |

Walking around Baylor’s campus, it’s not unusual to overhear conversations between students pining over cute couple photos on Instagram, complaining about their lack of a date for take-a-date and insisting to their friends that if only they had a boyfriend /girlfriend /significant other, they would be so much happier. Coming from a high school that emphasized academics and involvement over romantic relationships (a teacher flat out told me that high school relationships never last), to the Baylor culture of serial commitment was an adjustment, to say the least. 

I don’t think relationships are a bad thing or that it’s unreasonable to want one, quite the opposite actually. I’ve been in a relationship for nine months now, and I won’t lie, it’s been amazing. But what really shocks me is how much of their own happiness and self-worth Baylor students continue to root in the idea of romantic relationships. 

My first serious relationship consumed everything in my life. My friends, hobbies, and independence were invaded by this other person. I let this happen because I thought that being in a relationship would make me happy. My (very smart) mom warned me that I needed to be happy on my own before I was happy with someone else, but I didn’t listen. However, as per usual, my mom was right. Putting that much pressure on one singular connection turns things sour quickly and easily. 

After that relationship ended, I found things that made me feel fulfilled outside of a romantic partner. For me, that came in the form of setting aside girl-time with close friends, joining student organizations on my own and even just taking time every once in a while to watch Grey’s Anatomy alone in my room.  

When I started dating again, I didn’t stop prioritizing those things, I just added my relationship to the mix. I don’t want to undermine the importance of having shared habits and friends that make you both happy, but say that you should have those things in addition to people and hobbies that are yours. 

When relationships are starting, it makes things easier on you both knowing that you can each be in charge of your own happiness. In my relationship, my boyfriend and I can both have bad days and try new things because we know that even if one of us isn’t present physically or emotionally once in a while, the other has other people and things they love to sustain them. I love finding happiness in my boyfriend, but it’s not the only place I can find it.

So the next time you find yourself “hate-liking” a cute couple’s photo on Instagram, remember that things happen when they’re supposed to, and until then focus on things that make you happy. I’m thankful for my relationship, but I’m also thankful for the people and things that support me outside of it.