So which is worse? Knowing you aren’t alone and something lurks in the shadows or realizing that you’re alone?
Is it better to live with a potential “monster” that may at some point threaten your happiness? Or is it better to feel the quiet void of loneliness?
Which weight is heaviest? Which evil is more desirable?
I’ve been confronted with this question of relationship status as of late and it’s driven me to ponder…
There are those who will stick to a relationship even as it sinks and drags their happiness with it rather than tread open water alone and seek or wait for possible rescue. The logic seems to be, “If I sink, I’m not sinking alone.”
Some people sink, and with them goes everything they’ve worked and strived for, because they can’t stand the solitude. They will miss out on a better mate, a better career, a new adventure– everything, only to feel like they are not alone.
Something I wish that I knew growing up was that learning to be alone– and happily so– is one of the best gifts a person, especially a woman, can give themselves. And I don’t mean the I’m just waiting on the right guy alone. I mean the I’m single and this is awesome alone. I mean the This-is-MY-damn-time-hell-yeah type of happy.
If you haven’t fallen in love at a young age where you’re actually old enough to get serious, you should be happy. It is the rare few who make it out of the depths (the pits) of first love unscathed.
Yes, you gain experience.
Yes, you get to feel what love is like.
Yes, there is pain but also remarkable joy.
The problem is that the feeling is addictive, isn’t it? After the first hit we want more. And the freedom we so desperately sought out as teenagers becoming women begins shifting to Where is my mate to settle down with? Where is the one person to make up my world?
Having that one person is a beautiful thing, but to temper the eagerness and find balance, let’s consider:
*** Women are happiest at age……74 (Social Indicators Research, 2010)
Translation: You have plenty of years to be miserable, so don’t rush it. Happiness is a direction you travel in. It’s not a place you arrive at. Rushing to be happier will only sap the happiness you already have. You’ll be happiest at 74, so at least enjoy the perks of youth on your way. Patience.
***Single women have twice as many leisure hours as partnered women. (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data)
Translation: Your hours are all yours. Do what you want to do– no second parties need chime in. Really think about it. Weekend trip with the girls? Do it. Afternoon movie of your choice? Do it. Spend your money on whatever you want? Do it. Anything else you can think up? Do it.
***”Being single allows for further self-exploration, making you more informed and self-aware.” -Jessica Carbino, a sociologist at UCLA
Translation: Explore your own interests… It makes you a more interesting person! No one likes being around someone who has the same thing to say and nothing new to share; someone who depends on everyone else to make their own lives interesting. Learn about yourself. Learn about the world.
***Lastly, Michigan State University research shows that married women are only happier for a short period of time after the wedding. Once the thrill wears off, they return to the level of happiness they reported before getting married.” (Reported by Marie Claire)
Translation: If you learn to make yourself happy and grow to be as happy as possible while single, if and when you do get serious with someone, you’ll still be hella happy when the zappy brain juice isn’t bubbling as hot as before.
These are all things to consider. Easier said than done I know. But learn to be alone if you can. Give yourself that gift.
Bonus: Not being dependent on someone else for your happiness will spare you much grief and bad decisions.