Updated: Feb 11, 2021
& do we even need relationships anymore?
Always the Single Friend
When I say I spent my entire life seeking and idolising a relationship, I mean it! I was trying to find a boyfriend from age 3, literally as soon as I was put into a mixed social environment, I was THIRSTY! I have a memory stuck in my mind from age 4 at nursery. Myself and a boy, I guess some guy I was seeing at the time, were trying to enter the girls' bathrooms together at breaktime. The teacher stopped us and asked us why we wanted to do this, and my response was that we were going to take our clothes off together. Like seriously, I was trying to hook up before I even knew what hooking up was!
I have diaries upon diaries of entries about boys who dared glance at me in class. I wrote poems, awful poems, about guys who were nice to me so I thought they must be in love with me. I even have old furniture, forever ruined, with boys' names carved all over them. So obsessed and determined I was to find a boyfriend, it became my life’s goal, more than anything else at that time of my life.
I always felt less, just because I was single, and I wonder now; how fucked up is it that we’ve made people think their entire self worth is based on if other people are attracted to you?
I grew up, like most girls, watching romantic movies and I clearly had a strong attraction to boys from an early age, but the worst part was seeing all of my friends find boyfriends, one by one, till I was left. I went through all of school like this, always the friend but never the girlfriend, not even the girl you hook up with at a party. This experience left me with such a lack of self confidence, because I was constantly forgotten or dropped for other girls. Of course I know now that my self worth is so much more than a guy liking me, but when you’re surrounded by others in relationships, it really does make you wonder; what’s wrong with me?!
I was pretty confident in other areas of my life. I was smart, I was funny, I had an incredibly loving family but I always felt less, just because I was single, and I wonder now; how fucked up is it that we’ve made people think their entire self worth is based on if other people are attracted to you? This has nothing to do with our worth or value as a person, it also doesn’t even mean we’re not attractive, it’s literally just someone else’s subjective opinion, yet we give it so much weight and importance in our lives!
Social Pressure to be in a Relationship
Sometimes it seems like everyone around you is in a happy relationship, but it's really a lot of fakery. We're all pressured by society to conform and find a relationship, because it affects our social standing. If we’re in a relationship, it’s a signal to others that we must be somewhat attractive and normal. Dare to be single? Everyone assumes that there’s something wrong with you! Just look at politicians; you're more likely to get voted in if you're married, because it gives people a sense of trust in that person. Not only is this just entirely wrong and small minded, it keeps people in bad relationships because they fear the social rejection of being divorced or single.
I’m going to make a bold claim here; I think the majority of people are in bad relationships. When I say bad, I don’t mean they’re all abusive or manipulative, just not right. Because giving so much of your time, energy and love to someone means they have to be worthy of that, and settling for someone who’s just ok, is not acceptable!
This can be a hard truth for many people, because it’s comfortable being coupled up and being single sounds absolutely terrifying. You probably worked really hard just to find this person, and now you’re meant to go out and do it all over again?
Well yes, and no. Every relationship has value, even if it’s not a good one. It teaches you so much about yourself, about life and about what you need and want from it, and that is invaluable. Breaking up with someone doesn’t mean you’ve wasted something being with them, it’s taught you more than you realise and makes you much more prepared for life and relationships after that. But you have to also genuinely accept the fact that even if you don’t find someone, it’s ok. Being single is not bad. It’s not lonely or sad, unless you think it is.
Once you are prepared and happy to be single, then you will probably find lots of people that you can have fun with, even fall in love with, because you have a deep sense of self worth and happiness that radiates from inside of you, instead of seeking that from the other person, and trust me, that energy is so damn hot!
If you need acceptance, affection or love, you need to look at what’s missing in yourself first, because these are things that only you can give yourself.
Do we Actually Need a Relationship Anymore?
When I finally realised this (and it took many many years to do so), it’s like a light’s switched on. You realise that the thing you’ve been chasing all these years, actually means nothing. Think about it, considering more and more people are deciding not to have children these days, so what is the actual purpose of a relationship?
Sure we all need help now and again, support and love, but friends, family, community and pets give you all these things. If you need sex, well there’s a million options you have there, not forgetting your own hand and/or a sex toy which will almost guarantee you pleasure 100% of the time.
If you need acceptance, affection or love, you need to look at what’s missing in yourself first, because these are things that only you can give yourself. I know that sounds like bullshit, but until you are able to give yourself love, you cannot actually receive it from others. Think about it like this; when you’re sad or depressed, and your friend or family member is trying to cheer you up, it’s nice of them, but does it actually make you fully happy? Other people are great as our support network, but we need to do the real work ourselves. Only we can know what we need, only we can understand ourselves fully, and only we can make the decision to be happy, and it’s true for relationships.
If you are looking for someone else to make your life better, you won’t find it.
Don’t get me wrong, a good relationship can be amazing! I feel like we need to approach relationships like this:
You're amazing and are living your life and following your dreams. You have some struggles but you’ve worked on ways to support yourself emotionally through therapy, friends and self reflection.
You meet another person who is also loving life, following their journey.
You find that your journeys line up with each other’s and you join forces, each supporting one another’s dreams and ambitions, building each other up even higher than you were before, wanting to spend time with each other but not needing to.
This relationship is possible but it requires each person involved to also be happy being single.
The Joy of being Single
Let's not forget all the amazing benefits of being single! Because if we only trusted movies, music and what society tells us, we'd all think that being single is just one long lonely existence, alone in our rooms, but that's just not the case - if you have the right mindset!
I had some of the most amazing, fun and fulfilling years of my life being single. I travelled, partied, ate, and fucked who ever I liked. I didn't need to worry about what my partner wanted or thought of what I was doing. I didn't have to consult someone when I wanted to move abroad. I didn't have to balance my friends, school and relationship. My whole life was about doing the things I needed and wanted to do, and I feel like this is what many people are lacking in their relationships. It's too easy to meet someone and make their dreams your dreams, I've spoken to so many women who have done this and end up in their 40s, unhappy and their entire existence is based on their partner and kids.
Your dreams are worthy of living. You don't need someone else to agree to them and you don't need permission. Being single is the time you need to fully realise what YOU want from life. Don't let someone else take you off your goals and distract you, because you can find many other people, you don't need to change your whole life to fit just one person you felt a connection to. If you don't know what you want to do with your life, that's also a huge sign NOT to be in a relationship yet, because it will be so easy for you to just follow your partner. Be your own person first and foremost. You're not a half of someone else, you're whole, so find out that whole person, before you find out about someone else. Trust me! Once you change your mindset about being single, find some other goals in your life outside dating and relationships, you will realise how worthwhile being single is and you'll only commit to someone else only when they are just as amazing as you are.
You are the Partner you Need
So let’s stop thinking that we need to be in a relationship, we DON’T. As long as we keep telling people that, we will end up with bad, unhappy and abusive relationships.
Stop putting people’s self worth in the hands of someone else. Stop ignoring how fucking amazing life can be while single. Stop putting other people’s dreams and journeys ahead of your own, follow yours and you will find the right people at the right time.
Finally, work on your own relationship, it’s the longest and most fulfilling and important one you’ll ever have!