I want to get something off my chest right away:
It’s not wrong to want to be in a relationship.
Ah. That feels better already.
I know a lot of single women. And that’s to be expected. I’m in my late twenties, and the average age for marriage is crawling closer and closer to that 30 year mark. So to me, it’s pretty standard – even healthy – that a solid amount of my network is not in a relationship. However, I’m noticing more and more each month that my amazing, fabulous, independent, rockstar girls feel that it’s TOTALLY wrong to *want* to be paired off.
I’ve also noticed that a lot of “taken” women, especially in their twenties, feel the need to defend their relationship status – as if having a significant other means they have no depth or independence of their own.
So apparently, we can’t win.
Here’s the skinny: humans are designed to attract a partner. It’s part of life. The planet won’t populate itself, amiright? Of course there are plenty of social constructs we have evolved past – so I am totally down with the reality that not all of us want to get married or have babies. If that’s not your jam – I’m all for it. But for the rest of us, being or wanting to be in a relationship doesn’t mean you are clingy, pathetic, weak, or dependent.
It means you are human.
So here are some pointers and reasons for why it is NOT wrong to want to be in a relationship.
1. You are not weak if you feel lonely.
I know we are in an age of extreme independence and female power, which I love.
Really, really, L-O-V-E.
However…it does come with a few negatives. Not many, but a few. Mainly, I’ve noticed this independent streak has created the complex “you are weak if you want a significant other.”
Not “need” – notice that?- WANT a significant other.
That is exceptionally unfair.
Honestly, no one I know needs a partner. My single clients are exceptionally fulfilled on their own. My single friends fill their calendars effortlessly and my single coworkers are seriously soaring. But do they want a relationship? Probably! Why? Because participating in a happy and healthy relationship is a normal goal.
Just to be clear, the main difference between needing and wanting a relationship can be answered in two questions:
a. Do you skip out on life events because you don’t have a significant other? Warning sign.
b. Do you participate in life alone, but would like a buddy to share it with? Winning.
Easy. So if you are living a normal, fulfilled, reasonably happy life right now, then you don’t *need* a partner. If you feel lonely on Sunday nights or wouldn’t mind having a permanent date to bring to a wedding, then you are preparing yourself towards a very healthy, balanced, relationship.
You are also not an anti-feminist if you want someone to cuddle with, laugh with, or to kiss under the mistletoe.
It is impossible to think that we will never WANT another person. So, if you are critically worried about your state of independence, ask yourself these questions. (PS – these are good to ask if you are single or in a relationship!):
a. Do I have a support group?
b. Am I chasing my dreams?
c. Are my finances in order?
d. Do I have personal hobbies that I enjoy?
e. If this relationship ended tomorrow would I be stable (think financially, friends to lean into, a job, a resume)?
If you answered “yes” to all of those (or 4/5 if you are currently unattached) – you are in fabulous shape.
2. Blame evolution
It’s as simple as this: We are hardwired to seek out a mate. Our bodies need two to tango and two to reproduce. Doesn’t matter if you are straight, gay, bi, pan, or any other sexual orientation – our hormones are telling us to gravitate towards another person. It doesn’t even matter if our partners stay afterwards – because wha la! – we are set to rebound and find someone else. That is the way we were made. And it’s a beautiful thing.
Just for the record – this is NOT an excuse to stay with shitty people. Evolution isn’t a cop out for remaining in a terrible relationship. But it is a very real biological explanation for why we crave attention, why we have desires and why we will NEVER go an entire lifetime without wanting someone else to share our lives with. We may not crave the same person for our entire lives, or maybe even for a year, but our bodies will always provide us with an itch for someone else. And there’s really nothing you can do about it.
3. Mates are a lovely bonus
You do not need a partner/girlfriend/boyfriend/husband/wife to survive in life, but it is nice to share the ups and downs with someone.
But you already know this. Most of you have gone through a breakup before. They feel like death, don’t they? You can’t breathe, your anxiety spikes, you can’t sleep, eating is a chore – it’s terrible. You doubt that you will ever feel happiness ever again.
However, you survived.
You are still alive, putting one foot in front of the other, and living your life.
So this just proves that relationships in life are bonuses. They are not meant to sustain us. Great partners challenge us, grow with us, embrace us, do not hold us back AND have their own life.
Relationships make life exciting – but they don’t make life exist.
4. In the meantime, practice autonomy dates
If you’re tired of feeling lonely but want to put that energy to good use, go on some autonomy dates.
It’s simple. Spend some time investing in you, and make it fun. Seriously! Take yourself on a date! Like…why don’t you give a greater meaning to bathtub time? Date night, y’all. You gots your lavender salts and your scented candles and soapy bubbles and those bath bombs I keep hearing about…it’s a fantasy land!
This is one of my *favorite* concepts that I use regularly in my 10 year (yes, 10!) long relationship. So doesn’t matter if you are single or taken – it’s always a good idea to take yourself out on a date.
You don’t have to punish yourself because you aren’t in a relationship. You can do all of the fun “couple” things by your damn self. This is one of the lovely side effects of feminism that I am fully embracing – no shame whatsoever.
If you’re in a relationship, it’s also good to utilize autonomy dates because we can often forget how fun we can be by ourselves. Yes, it’s amazing getting to spend time with our buddy – but we were fun before this relationship and we are still fun now.
One of the biggest fears I hear pretty consistently from clients is the anxiety that they might lose themselves in a relationship. Autonomy dates are a great way to prevent that from happening.
Treat. Yo. Self.
Spend time examining what you want to do, what makes you tick and remind yourself that you are good company. But be mindful NOT to compare the time you spend alone or with friends to the time you spend with your partner. Your relationship is not supposed to play all the roles in your life. Your girlfriends always need to play a very different role than your S.O.
And remember, you also play a very specific role in your own life, too. So find that role and make sure you invest in it regularly.
Are you trying to navigate being single while also wanting a relationship?
It’s a difficult balance. There’s no need to feel ashamed or insecure about your current relationship status. But trying to manage this balance alone isn’t easy – which is why we are here. Myself along with the other Blush coaches are here to help you get the most out of your life while getting to know yourself better as you inch closer and closer towards a healthy relationship. Come join us today!
Latest posts by Alex Podowski (see all)
- It’s Not Wrong to Want to Be in a Relationship - October 7, 2016
- Healthy vs. Unhealthy Relationships: A Therapeutic Approach - September 11, 2016
- How to Break the Marriage Norms - April 9, 2014