[TT] A Sheltered Life: Finding you and finding love.

When pursuing love, people can do the craziest things. Our actions are fueled by the feelings we have for another person and we want to be with them all the time. When entering into a relationship, you want to experience new things and see new sights. "Youth in love" is a very powerful notion because youth signifies vitality and eagerness. Love is the energy that drives us forward. Together, they are the plot lines for classic love stories such as Romeo and Juliet and Pride and Prejudice. But what if the desire to explore every part of love's great waters is blocked by one's home? The shelter that nurtured you and taught you good and evil?

Tonight, I had a long conversation with a woman, who had recently gotten engaged and had been living with her fiance for about two years. We discussed the difficulties of growing up and pursuing our relationships with conservative parents. My parents were generally very strict about my relationships. They didn't believe in the idea of having a boyfriend cause they thought I was too young to allow any guy to have that exclusive title. Whenever boys were over, all room doors had to stay open and they weren't allowed in my bedroom.

As I grew older, my parents thought they needed to lay down the law when it came to "doing it" and pass down any relationship knowledge they believed I needed to know. I was never given the full formal birds and the bees talk, but it was generally understood that I was not to do it. As I grew older, that rule became, "If you do it, you must use protection because accidents can happen." My folks were definitely fulfilling their role and obligation to educate their daughter about safe "hanky panky" and the dangers of trusting bad men.

Marriage is the only goal of any relationship. Although I would never start a relationship without bearing that in mind, my parents and I clash on the ideas of steps leading to eternity. My parents believed that engagements hold little weight in terms of commitment. To me, an engagement should only occur when you're sure that you want to spend the rest of your life with another person. There is a saying that, "It is easy spending time together but it's hard to live together." The biggest horror would be to invest in so much time and energy, only to realize that you can't the sustain the most fundamental thing about being in a marriage...living together. I do not see anything wrong with living together until the actual marriage because engagement is not the end all. Wedding planning would definitely be easier. To my parents, however, living together outside of marriage will ultimately end in common law or the guy not wanting to marry you at all. I hardly have the heart to tell them that I rather know of these facts sooner rather than later, but they would bring up the whole idea of a foreseen reputation as an easy woman.

I digress to my conversation companion. She had learned early on that her parents' belief and her desire to experience the flowers of youth did not align. At a young age, she had started to perfect the "ignorance is bliss" doctrine on her parents. What do I mean? You know when you want to spend a night with that someone special but your parents say you can't so you lie and say you're sleeping over at a friend's house? Yep. We've all done it. But that was only the beginning. She saved up her money and travelled a LOT. Her parents were kept in the dark about her every so often escapades abroad. In comparison to some people she knew, she said, her overnights and travels were tame. She trusted herself to know what she wanted and what she needed to do.

She contributed her age to the reason why her and her fiance were able to live together with her parents' consent. I sat quietly as she began to tell me how she didn't regret living with her then boyfriend (now fiance) because there was no place to hide. They learned to get past the initial "omg was that your fart? that stinks so bad" and "is that what you look like on a bad day?" to learn to love each other completely...flaws and all.

Nobody can really measure the extent of love's power. We are compelled by the feeling to do many things we never thought to achieve. We learn about other people, we learn about ourselves, and we learn more about love. However, when the air in the home suffocates hungers we possess in relationships, do we give in to refuge? Or do we find the loopholes and strive to find our own way? Do we continue to do the things we feel is right in order to test out for ourselves whether they are? Or do we learn from those who have experienced life longer than us and let fate do all the work?

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