If you are the type of person that misses having a partner when you’re single but then when you’re in a relationship, you feel that you’d be more comfortable alone… then you must feel confused by all of this.
If we take a look back and review what the perspective of being single has been over time, we notice that it is viewed as something negative. If you are 40 years old and you do not have a partner, it means nobody will ever love you. If you are 50 and you live alone, it’s because nobody can stand you.
And what about those family reunions where your relatives and grandparents keep asking you when you’ll bring someone special home? All of this is constantly reinforcing the idea that to feel happy or complete, we must be in a relationship. If we aren’t sharing our life with a significant other, society tells us that we have a problem and that we will die alone.
Wait a minute… are we not being a bit dramatic?
On the other side of the scale is the transformation of our current society, which is becoming increasingly individualized and adaptable. Norms are shifting so rapidly and everything is moving so fast, and this new norm allows each person to have their own life and concerns. If you are young, you probably don’t know if you’re going to stay in the same city or if you’ll have to move to another one next month to continue working at your job.
On one hand you want to be true to yourself and achieve your personal goals, but on the other hand… all the memories of family, visions of telling your friends that you are getting married, or the constant romantic scenes in movies come flooding into your mind.
The obligation to have a partner
Feeling obligated to be in a relationship simply can’t be a good thing. It is one thing to want a partner and to have certain goals in the romantic field. It is another thing entirely to want a relationship because you feel like you need to have one and that it will be the solution to all your troubles.
No, having a partner does not inherently mean you’ll be happy. There are many types of relationships and not all are full of happiness.
If you agree to starting a new relationship – even if you’re not feeling very sure about it – stop and think: being in a relationship entails certain sacrifices, but remember that you should never put your partner’s needs ahead of yours.
Take your time to see if it is what you truly want, tell the other person, practice assertiveness. You can be true to yourself without totally neglecting the feelings of the other person.
Also here it is important to take into account emotional dependence, which will sometimes makes unwelcome appearances in relationships.
Take a few minutes to reflect on these questions: Do you feel like your life would be meaningless without the other person? Does it seem to you that your life has been reduced to your partner? Have you completely neglected your personal goals, your friendships or your likes? If so, you might be forgetting someone…
Where have you been?
There are certain moments in which love (often a misunderstood type of love) becomes an addiction, a need that we have to satisfy at all costs. When need, desire, and dependency become the main features of our day to day life, this may mean your relationship is beginning to revolve around your partner.
If you have reached that point maybe it is not a bad time to step back and rethink the focus of your relationship or even to spend time being single (which is not synonymous with sadness!). Taking advantage of being single helps us grow and enjoy our life in a different way. There is no hurry: if your relationship ends, you should enjoy being single, it can be very fun.
I want to be single. It’s my decision.
Go ahead, that decision is as valid as any other. The ways in which we understand interpersonal relationships and life have evolved overtime. If you prefer to indulge in being single, that is absolutely your right.
Of course, as in the previous section, it is interesting to reflect on why you have made this decision.
What prompts you to make this decision?
Sometimes bad past experiences prompt us to make drastic decisions to avoid future suffering.
The problem with avoidance is that the longer we do it, the bigger the fears grow and, therefore, the harder it becomes for us to face them.
In other words, when we avoid exposing ourselves to our fears, we get stuck in a kind of bubble where nobody can reach us. However, that bubble can explode. For example, maybe we meet someone that we like a lot, therefore we have to confront our fear. Now we realize that we see the outside world in a hostile way and we’ll feel like running for our lives.
It’s not shocking that break-ups can be very painful. However, they open a door to self-knowledge and reflection. It’s likely that you will think of situations in which you could have done things differently or maybe you’ll analyze aspects of your personality that you wish to change. Maybe you’ve noticed that you usually want to control every aspect of the relationship or maybe you’ve forgotten to think about your own needs. This should be a learning experience to consider why the experience was painful and why you suffered.
You should take advantage of your ability to grow and learn, and try to promote change within yourself and the way you relate to others.
So what is correct?
The right thing to do is feel good, whatever it is that you decide.
If you are in a relationship that makes you happy, do not hesitate to nurture it. It shouldn’t matter that you got there without realizing it or that it was not what you had in mind. Enjoy it if it improves your life. But do not forget that a relationship involves more than one person. It’s essential to take into account all the people involved in a relationship: take care of the other person, take your own well-being into account, respect each other, and take care of each other.
There is no reason to force yourself to follow certain established rules. Each couple unique and each should establish their own norms, routines and ways of understanding love. As long as there is shared equality and respect, it will be fine. If you are definitely happier being single, enjoy!
Nobody can force you to be in a relationship if it is not what you want or not what you feel in that moment. Dedicate all your time to yourself, overcome your personal challenges, reach your goals and live your life – you’re still able to share it with many people, it doesn’t have to be with a partner.
Skills to keep in mind to be healthy, alone or accompanied
We are going to mention some skills that are essential to feeling healthy overall.
As we have mentioned, in order to feel good within a relationship and take adequate care of our partner, first, we need to feel good ourselves.
Think about your own needs, not only within the context of your relationship, but also on a physical and emotional level. Try to find your own balance, squeeze in time to spend alone, and do what makes you happy. Maybe you genuinely like doing things with other people, but there are many fun activities that can be done alone. If you are at a low point and aren’t sure why, ask for some help, maybe it’s time to rethink your goals.
Be assertive and respect each other’s time
In all relationships, it’s inevitable that complicated situations or disagreements will arise. Practicing assertiveness is a good resource for dealing with these uncomfortable conversations or confrontations.
When we are assertive, we are respectful of the other person while still explaining our point of view and practicing our right to disagree. It’s about balancing our point of view with our partner’s point of view. No matter how different the arguments might be, we must remember that one is not considered more important than the other, provided that both are respectful.
Respect each other’s time.
You may be very keen to revisit a recent discussion or solve a problem but try not to force anything on the other person. Maybe you want to talk about it now, but your partner needs some time to digest what happened, in order to be respectful you should give your partner the space they need.
The same goes for people who are single, we should be able to respect the space of someone who were attracted to, a family member, or a friend. Not invading others’ personal space or pressuring them is a win for everyone.
Asking and listening are fundamental pillars of healthy communication within any relationship. We do not have a magic wand that allows us to know what the other person is thinking, even though we may think we know. Do not take things for granted: simply asking can avoid major misunderstandings.
Surely you can remember a time when you were sure that your partner or friend was referring to something very specific, but once you discussed it, it turned out that what you thought was not even related to what they were trying to say.
Always, ask if you want to talk about something that happened or any concerns you might have. You have to be careful though, because the other extreme is asking obsessively about a specific issue: here we can bring back the issue of respecting each other’s times and not forcing them to talk if they don’t want to.
If you feel that you understand all of this, but that putting it into practice is a whole different story, you should try to dig deep and pinpoint why it’s so difficult for you. Don’t worry, many people find it difficult to recognize and identify the precise reasons that lead them to behave in one way or another, but the good thing is that it is never too late to devote a little time to self-investigation and self-reflection.