From the time we hit high school, and sometimes even sooner, we start dating. Then we continue to date until we find that one person that is our “other half” or “the one” or whatever you want to call them. Dating is a wonderful experience and can be extremely fulfilling, but the obsession that we have with it is harming our relationships in more ways than one.
Being single is seen as a negative. People that are single are almost always looking for someone to be with. Society tells us that single people have something wrong with them. Maybe they aren’t attractive, or smart, or any other number of things. This pressure from society leads singles to think that they aren’t attractive, or smart, or any other number of things. See a problem here? People that have been single for a long time start having lower and lower self esteem. They begin to believe that they are undatable. And society thinks of people that have been single for a long time as undatable. It’s a vicious circle of destructive emotions.
These emotions are doing more damage than many people are aware of. Singles spend much of their time looking for someone or hoping that someone is going to ask them out, but when that happens, a whole new set of problems starts up. The person is constantly thinking that they don’t deserve to be on a date because they’ve been lead to believe that there is something wrong with them. This tends to lead to insecurity within the relationship and I can speak from experience that almost nothing is more guaranteed to kill a relationship faster than emotional insecurity on the part of one or both partners. They believe that there is no way that the relationship is going to last so they don’t put the emotional attachment into it, believing that they’re just going to get dumped and hurt anyway.
These people with low self esteem start looking to their partner for validation. Although this works for a little while, it doesn’t work in the long run. If the relationship ends, that person is in a worse place than before, having all of their fears about being “damaged goods” confirmed. As partners start looking to each other for validation, the relationships verge on (and in some cases do become) codependent. The two people start to lose their identity of who they are. They begin to define themselves in terms of their relationships with their partners.
When the relationship ends, these people no longer know how to cope without having someone else. This leads to what we affectionately know as “rebounding”. It’s something that we’re all guilty of. I’m guilty of it. We look for someone to fill that void left by the other person. Rebounding is dangerous because we’re in emotionally fragile places. This tends to lead to obsession with the other person or very fast moving relationships. Very few relationships that being as rebounds have the capability of lasting for an extended period of time. People begin rebounding off of rebounds, leading to serial monogamy (or having many monogamous relationships in quick succession)
So, what can we do to break this cycle? First of all, we need to begin seeing people that are single as equal to people in relationships. We need to stop believing that there is something wrong with them. Being single is valorous and nothing to be ashamed of. Secondly, we need to start thinking about how our relationships are structured. Each person in the relationship has both the right and the responsibility to be their own person. Thirdly, when we’re single, we shouldn’t be ashamed to be single. Not all of your life should be spent either in a relationship or looking for a relationship. Be happy with who you are as your own person. Look to yourself for validation. Be confident in who you are and be proud. There is nothing wrong with you because you aren’t in a relationship and there is nothing wrong with not wanting to be in a relationship. If you aren’t at a point in your life where you are completely happy with who you are, then you shouldn’t be looking for someone else just yet. Relationships don’t solve problems. They are hard work to maintain and even more challenging when one person isn’t emotionally mature enough handle their own emotions let alone their partner’s. Lastly, spend time apart from your partner, remember that it’s okay to have different interests. Keep friends outside of the relationship. They will be your support net if the relationship does end. No partner should ever ask you to deny a part of yourself in order to be with them.