Should young people focus on matters of career development and financial stability before getting into serious relationships after college?

Conversations about life are good especially when you have friends who look at things realistically with an open mind. I am lucky to have such good friends whom we converse with about a variety of topics. These conversations normally take place during our normal evening walks. We are all fresh from college and life is really hitting us from right, left and center. In one of our conversations during the walks, a conversation was brought out about life and relationships after campus. After years of study, we are out here trying to establish ourselves. Erick Erickson would classify us in the intimacy vs. Isolation in his psycho-social stages of development. Finding a life partner, seeking financial stability and career establishment took a center stage in the conversations. At this point, most people say that they want to work on themselves than committing to intimate relationships. From these lenses through which my friends and I are seeing life, finances have a great influence on young hopeful relationships of guys our age (between 24 -30yrs). This conversation triggered a million-dollar question, should young people work on themselves in matters of career development and financial stability before figuring engaging in serious relationships?

Some were of the popular opinion that life starts at forty and hence, young people should take their time, invest in themselves to build value and become financially stable then at this point think of getting into a serious relationship. Others agreed to this notion but had a problem with staying single with the raging hormones and sexual desires. To support this idea, it was argued that one can’t put the material factor away from a relationship. Money sometimes enables an individual to express love through material things such as gifts, dates, and vacations among other things.

This challenge seemed to lean more on the men due to the societal expectation of men as sole providers and breadwinners (I really don’t know the origin of this perspective). Several questions emerged like, why would a lady my age expect me to be financially stable when she is also broke? Times have changed but still, this notion is still in existence. At this point, we had to engage our lady friends to get their view so that we tackle the question objectively with minimal bias. We asked Oprah if she can date a broke man her age and she said that she has no problem with that. Her justification made us wish that all women were like her. She said, “I don’t have expectations for myself and I live taking one day at a time, what comes comes. I don’t have my own money, how I’m I supposed to ask for something from my partner that I don’t have? The best thing for us at this time is to focus on ourselves, take life slowly as we transition from the life we once knew while in school to now being jobless and need for independence. Work on that and what is meant for you, be it in relationships, job or whatever, will find you as you are on your way. No pressure. Relationships and success do not have a deadline. Maybe you will even discover the course you did in college is not for you along the way.” This was like the best advice we needed to hear.

Another beautiful and brilliant lady by the name Tunu contributed to the conversation by saying, “Imagine for some women it’s the effort of trying to do better that counts.” She added that you need to work on more than finances to be ready for a relationship. She slumped us to our faces by adding that, “if young men go with the attitude of I have nothing therefore I can attract no one you will attract no one even when you have.” She had a point here, the power of positive thinking. The men were keenly following the discussion.

Delvine, with her nice English, was not left out of the conversation. She agreed that men have heavier burdens when it comes to starting a family than women and thus it is important to be the kind of man that can provide for his family. However, she encouraged us to get women who can support us as the saying goes, behind every successful man there is a woman.

Ronald Kiprono (not his real name. we have given him a million nicknames until knowing his real name is hard) also contributed to the conversation. He is a kind of guy who prepares long paragraphs of responses with scholarly arguments. I will try to summarize his thoughts. He agrees it is possible but uncommon for young men and women to start successful relationships at this stage of life with no job and money. He argues that the reason why most relationships don’t work out is that we’ve bought the wrong ideas of relationships from social media such as through movies and songs which doesn’t much reality. He advised young men to be patient since financial stability is never achieved immediately after campus. He points out to ladies that jumping from one relationship to another in search of someone financially stable will to emotional damage that’s hard to fix. He continues to say that two broke humans in love immediately after campus can support each other towards financial and emotional stability as their companionship enables them to become more focused. He borrowed the Biblical analogy that “two heads are better than one”. He warns that relationships are not easy. There is nothing easy about fighting in a relationship. There is nothing easy about resisting the temptation to have an affair. There is nothing easy about staying in a boring relationship and looking for a way to spice it up. In his own words, he adds that “ finances matter and a couple can decide to settle down once they become financially stable but there is another road that involves working from the ground up through its not an easy one because the capacity to bring in the cash has doubled as well as the challenges to be faced.”

This is not a conversation that can come to an end but we wrapped it up at that point until another opportune time.