Today, I small talked with my suite-mate and her friends. I mentioned my boyfriend’s name and her friend said, “Is that your boyfriend?” I said yes, and she replied with, “Oh, that’s cool. I’m single.” The inflection of her voice and mannerisms made it very clear that she was insecure about it. My question is this: why do we put so much value into our relationship status? Why do we so desperately want to find someone who loves us? I know, speaking as someone who is in a long-term relationship, that it seems unfair for me to ask this question. I suppose it can be argued that I don’t understand. But what they don’t realize is that I was single for a few years before I got into this relationship. Why? Because casual dating is not worth my time or emotions. And I know exactly how it feels to want someone to love me. I’ve had first hand experience, multiple times, with how it feels to jump into a relationship because of infatuation and desperation.
There are two main problems with our culture. The first is that we don’t state our intentions right off the bat, which causes confusion, sadness, and breakups. It’s so common that a girl wants a loving, long relationship and the guy wants something casual – though it most definitely can be the opposite. When someone says “stating your intentions”, it’s easy for one to think of Christianity. It’s very common for two Christians to sit down, talk about their feelings, and what they want from each other. This article is the perfect example. I think this scares people away from it. But I don’t understand why it just has to be a Christian custom. Stating intentions doesn’t automatically have to translate to “I plan on marrying you.” Even if you’re just looking for someone to make out with, it is important that the other person is on the same page and isn’t looking for more either. Honesty saves us a lot of unneeded emotional stress.
The second problem with our culture is that everywhere we go, we see happy couples. We are trained by the media and the people around us that we need to be in a relationship to be happy. How many times has someone asked you, “Dang you look good! Why don’t you have a (boyfriend/girlfriend)?” or an older relative guilt tripping you at a wedding saying, “You’re next!” when you don’t have a significant other and maybe don’t even plan on it? It’s not only annoying but also very rude. Our society has it in mind that if we are single, we are lonely. Is that the case? According to this article from Psychology Today, it can be very true. Most of this is because the media inflects that we’ll be happier if we are in a relationship. That’s a little crazy! I know many people who never marry and are no less happier than I am!
I believe that if we all took a step back, stopped putting our worth in other people, took our time getting to know our potential significant other, and used open communication to state our intentions, we’d all be a little bit wiser and a little bit more sane. Be happy by yourself before you try to be happy with someone else!