It’s not that the people who are in serious relationships are better off than those who are not because of their partners.
I think many people who are in relationships go through harder times than their single counterparts.
My take on relationships, their relevance, and when I think we start to benefit from this opportunity to share so much with another human, all these are solely based on my conversations with friends, and books on related topics.
Ergo, I’m not an expert and if you’re looking for data, studies and research, it’s okay to stop reading this now.
Still here? Awesome!
When I try to express this idea, I think of the relationship babies have with their parents; before they’re able to speak, before they can articulate their needs. A parent has to anticipate these needs. The only thing the child does is cry. As a parent, you need to figure out what this particular cry means, whenever it happens. The child grows steadily and their vocabulary is limited to: eat, shit, piss, cry, sleep, repeat. If you’ve ever had to baby-sit or raise a new born human, you get the idea.
Now, how do you think a parent knows when this wail is ‘Sleep’ and when it’s ‘Feed’?
That, my friend, is the intuitive nature of parenting gained from panic, trial and error, constant observation, coupled with prayers and frustrated self talk.
Enough with the babies though.
I find that if you’re lucky, you find people who get you from Day Uno. Not just in a romantic way; friends, siblings, strangers; people who can read your mood and address them before you say a word.
Most of us aren’t that lucky. Most of our parents weren’t either. Some of us cried for everything, and for nothing. Talk about being creative amarite?
For the unlucky many, like me, being in a serious — committed — relationship with another human requires that we don’t assume what the other is thinking. It requires that we learn how to express opinions while being empathetic, kind enough to not attack the person while we’re angry, and caring enough to listen without judgment.
If they’d told me I’d need this much work before understanding how to start being in a relationship, this would have saved a lot of stress
Being in a healthy relationship with anyone, requires first, that you get a healthy relationship with yourself.
Being in a great romantic relationship with anyone, requires that you have an amazing relationship with yourself.
As much as I admire the intimacy of a stable, healthy romantic partnership, I’ve always been wary of my need for loneliness and private time. I brandish my introvert badge with chutzpah. But, deep inside, whenever I got with someone and I needed to take time off to replenish, I always felt guilty. I felt like I wasn’t ready . That if I really, really wanted a relationship, I would not have this need to be by myself.
Being single, usually as a result of the poor management of my internal conflicts, I’d find peace in solitude and bask in the wake of a burnt bridge and ‘new opportunities’.
As you might extrapolate, this joy didn’t last.
It wasn’t until I was done with me. It wasn’t until I was ready to accept myself, the good and the bad, the insecurities and gifts, the strengths and weaknesses. It wasn’t until I finally accepted that I wanted both intimacy and privacy, that I had major deal-breakers. That I had strong opinions, that I loved my work, that I had goals I was willing to die for.
It wasn’t until I fell in love with my imperfect self, my one true love, did I think I would be ready to be in a relationship of any kind.
I don’t know if this applies to other relationships, but I find that there’s joy in communicating from a place of authenticity while staying open to opposing views and being ready to pivot perspectives when relevant.
I love being single. I admire single people. I don’t envy them, but I’d been there and I know the value of having all your life to yourself (mostly) and the possibilities that come with it. It’s an incredible opportunity for travel, growth, exploration and underestimated and unrestrained self-discovery.
I also love being in a relationship. I think it’s the nature of man to seek a lifetime partner for connection, exploring life and eventual DNA replication.
However, I believe that many people aren’t ready to be in romantic relationships. Mostly because they’re not yet in relationships with themselves.
I think we need to spend more time ourselves figuring out who we are, what we want, where we’re from, where we are headed, and why we exist.
Or maybe I take things too seriously. Maybe I realized that a relationship has room for newer experiences that require humans who are comfortable with themselves to delve into an adventure that is a blink in the human timeline, but an eternity of connections, discourse and emotions.
Before you ask someone to give himself/herself fully to you, know who ‘you’ is.
Not a relationship expert