“You are pretty good looking, how come you are single?” Are you used to hearing these or similar remarks? It seems in our society the only legitimate reason to be single is either being ugly, having an obnoxious personality or complete devotion to God. Why should a good-looking, friendly, intelligent and fun person ever choose to be single? Isn’t being in a relationship everyone’s life goal?
The social shame of being single
This is the idea I started to get after being single for four years between my last two ex partners. People seemed to find it strange that I was not interested in being in a relationship. And what they found even worse was that I didn’t even actively pursue sexual activities in the meanwhile.
In fact I had made an active decision of staying single in order to properly get over my ex. I wanted to learn from my experiences and didn’t want to immediately get involved with someone else just to repeat the same scenario’s. Even pure sexual involvement would distract me from learning from the past, which is why I kept sex to a minimum as well.
In my mind this seemed to make a lot of sense, but society didn’t seem to get the point. There was a time where I thought that I was the crazy one. I started to think that I might have developed commitment issues. Clearly, something must have been wrong with me…
Your personal gain of being single
Now, after being single for more than a year again I can see that there is nothing wrong with me, but with society. It’s a shame that people are being portrait as whole only if they have partners or at least are sexually active.
If people continue believing this, they will never find their own intrinsic value. They will never have fullfilling relationships, based on mutual love, but will continue looking for partners in order to be socially recognized and in order to feel “completed” by someone else.
In my opinion, being single is enormously important for most people. We need to take some time to reflect on ourselves; our level of self love, our values, our beliefs. We also need to reflect on our motivations for being in a relationship and what we look for in a partner. True connection and growth? Or security and (false) self esteem?
I am immensely grateful for the years I spent being single. More than ever do I feel that I am not in “need” of anyone in order to feel complete. I know that a partner is not going to complete me or to bring me instant happiness. All these things are already inside of me. A partner, just like friends and family, are welcome beings in my life with whom I can learn, grow and have fun. But it’s not a necessity, where I need to hold on to and which becomes a source of anxiety.
This inner peace allows me to consciously choose with whom I want to be. I don’t need to be with an emotionally unavailable partner (which used to be the kind of partners I attracted) begging for a few crumbs of love which I can’t give to myself. I can choose to be in a relationship because it truly nourishes me and my partner and not out of irrational expectations and fear. Furthermore, my partner will feel valued for who he is, rather than having to fulfill a specific role.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to say that you should leave your partner if you are currently in a relationship. You can also learn loads about yourself within a relationship. But if you happen to be single, think twice about the position you are in. Be aware how you feel about being alone and whether you are “hunting” the next partner or sexual encounter out of fear and low self esteem. And most of all: don’t try to become influenced by the people around you. Their comments are probably well-meant but surely not helpful. My advice if you’re single: start connecting to yourself and enjoy every single bit of it! 🙂