Not dating, but not opposed

Photo illustration by Gracie Fleischman

As the youngest in a close-knit family of seven, Paul Vasquez has many worries when it comes to the prospect of entering a romantic relationship: “What would my mom think of this person? What would my twin sister say about this? What would happen if I put an outsider in this ring?”

Vasquez said he feels that the bigger the family, the more critical the relationship is.

The junior business administration major has never been in a relationship, he said, and joins 64 percent of 18- 29-year-olds who were “single and not living with someone” in 2014, according to a Gallup study. This was a 12 percent increase from a decade earlier. Vasquez said that he is not opposed to being in a relationship in the future, but in the meantime, his focus is on his family and his schoolwork.

“I’m so close to my family. That’s a major part in relationships,” Vasquez said. “If the opportunity was there in front of me, sure, I would take it, but as far as taking time away from either school, work or family life to actively hit up Tinder, that’s wasted time.”

Freshman television writing and production major Jack Ruhl has never been in a relationship either. Ruhl moved several times while growing up and said that he didn’t have much time to think about relationships. Now, he is focused on filmmaking – a passion he said he has had since he was 11 years old – not relationships.

“You can either invest in a relationship and spend time on it, or you can invest time in your career,” Ruhl said. “One day I want to win an Oscar; that’s pretty much what I’m focused on right now.”

Ruhl said that he doesn’t think there is much pressure to be in a relationship in college.

“I think most people are open-minded,” Ruhl said. “It’s great if you are (in a relationship), and it’s great if you’re not. It all just depends on the person.”

Juliana Tarallo, a freshman English major who also has never been in a relationship, said that she feels it is important to be true to who she is – relationship or no relationship.

Graphic by Lorig Yaghsezian

But in today’s generation, Tarallo said she finds that people don’t always view relationships this way.

“There are certain aspects to your life that people expect you to check off,” Tarallo said. “Nowadays, it’s like your
life can’t really be complete unless you have a significant other.”

However, undeclared freshman Darina Litvina, who has not been in a relationship, said that she doesn’t feel much pressure to pursue romantic relationships, despite the fact that the conversation comes up regularly.

“Everyone asks you about it, but to me, I just say ‘no’ and move on,” Litvina said. “I don’t think about it a lot.”

Tarallo went to an intensely academic all-girls Catholic high school, she said, and added that because she was so focused on school and extracurriculars, dating was never a concern.

“I was never sitting around on my social media like, ‘Oh, I’m not out on a date,’” Tarallo said. “I always kept myself busy.”

However, Tarallo said that she sometimes wants to contribute to conversations about the subject of relationships.

“I wish I could relate to people when they talk about it,” Tarallo said. “It doesn’t affect me on the day-to-day, but every once in awhile, it’ll hit me.”
Similarly, Vasquez said that the thought of dating comes up when he hears about others’ relationships.

“There’s a little voice in the back (of my head) like, ‘What if that was me?’ or ‘Could that be me?’” Vasquez said.

However, Vasquez said that this summer, he took time to self-reflect and realize that he is happy with his life right now.

“I just took a breather for a minute, and I’m like, ‘You know what? I’m happy where I am, I’m not really looking for a relationship,” Vasquez said.

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