Kelsey Rohwer: Who gets the imaginary kids?

It’s taken me some time, and a fair amount of research, but I finally have my three kids’ first and middle names picked out, and a fourth set just for accidental purposes.

I’ll be the first to admit that yes, I am a crazy female.

But we all think about future careers and our future spouses’ dream jobs. I wouldn’t even put it past some ladies on this campus to already have their wedding dress designer picked out. This is all fine and dandy when you’re planning for just you but when it comes to planning ahead with your significant other, it’s important to not go too far.

Of course, in my first serious relationship I did just that. It spanned senior year of high school and freshman year of college. We were in love and to me, it was obvious we were going to get married. We talked about the future a lot. It was long distance, what else were we going to do?

Our future talk started simply and innocently. I thought a name in one of our favorite songs would make a good girl’s name. Then he told me he always wanted to name his son Milton.

The kids didn’t come up too often at first, mostly at random times and usually in a teasing fashion. But months passed and the seriousness grew, and before I knew it, we were planning future Christmas parties and he was telling me he wanted to give Milton a pet frog for his ninth birthday.

That’s when it stopped; it was getting too weird. It’s one thing to talk about having kids, but naming them and giving them personalities makes them seem like real people – even though they are completely imaginary.

The truth is that the imaginary people don’t just become a component of your relationship: The relationship’s existence ends up depending on it.

This concept may seem strange for singles. There was a point in my life where I definitely would have thrown up a little bit if someone told me that story.

But it happens.

These conversations often take place between couples that are looking for something to latch on to in order to maintain their relationship. They don’t have anything to share in the moment, so they look to the future. This is particularly common in long distance relationships, because the present can be so challenging or frustrating that the couple builds a future that isn’t and focuses on that.

There are enough stresses on relationships as it is. Between juggling school work, an internship, various extracurricular activities, maintaining a social life and keeping your relationship afloat, there just isn’t room for fictional children. There can be a place for serious relationships in college but just remember to leave the kids out of it.

Kelsey Rohwer, a junior majoring in journalism, is a Hatchet columnist.

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