This is not meant to be your typical “embrace being single and independent” piece. Yes, it’s about being independent and how independence is great, but there was never a need for me to ‘embrace’ being single. That’s because I honestly believe there are people who were simply made to be single and I am one of them. The reality is that being in a relationship is just not for everyone.
So what do I mean “made to be single”? Well, there are a lot of people who love being in relationships and prefer it immensely to being single. They love always having someone being there, they love the partnership and the companionship. And that’s great for them, but it’s not a preference for everyone.
Yet, because it’s more common to like being in relationships people assume everyone does. But there are some (myself included) that prefer being alone to constant companionship, that would rather have independence than partnership. And it’s not sad or a pity. It just is.
It doesn’t mean swearing off relationships completely either — it just means that being single is infinitely easier for us than being in a relationship.
Why is that so? For one thing, learning to fully trust and let yourself be dependent on someone else is difficult. Maybe for other people it looks like sharing a load or having a helping hand. It could be always having someone looking out for you, knowing that if you ever need anything – they got you. And it is that, but it’s also letting down your walls and accepting the possibility of getting hurt before that.
The hard part is letting your happiness depend so fully on the whims and actions of someone else. It’s acknowledging that your emotions are no longer fully your own. They are now so easily swayed by a few words, some small gestures, or maybe even just a look. Your mood can take such drastic turns simply depending on how long it takes for a reply to come in. Your day can be entirely made with only a few minutes of interaction.
For many, this is a given. Of course you would trade-off complete control over your emotions in return for the happiness it inevitably brings. The complexity of this is in relinquishing that autonomy, in being comfortable with that much uncertainty. Because what happens when that person who my happiness depends on becomes less dependable?
The other thing is that learning to prioritize someone else and fit them into your life can be a difficult adjustment. Being more used to independence means never having to match your schedule to someone else’s, never having to check in with someone else, and never having to consider someone else before making a choice. In a relationship, these things come naturally and you adjust to one another.
Even as someone better at being single, the desire to fit my life with someone else’s was innate but also unnerving. Having to take someone else into account so fully and totally is a huge shift for someone who’s only ever had to look after herself. Being considerate of friends and family doesn’t compare because they don’t demand nearly as much attention.
It seems so natural for other people, so easy for them to embrace and integrate a whole other person into their lives. It’s something they would happily do because it means they are no longer alone. But personally, even when I want to do this there is unease at the act itself. It’s honestly just strange needing to see where you can fit into each other’s day, or adding someone else into the equation when making decisions.
Your everyday norm shifts, the way you spend your time is different, even the choices you make are now influenced. It’s not bad but it’s not easy either.
Ultimately, I guess the question is then: is it better to be single? Well, that depends. It’s certainly easier to be single — simpler, hassle-free, and safe. But there are some things (some people) that are worth giving that up for. Relationships may be harder for me, it may take me more work than it might for others but it’s a choice I’d still be willing to make if the person was worth it.
But true to the title, I would prefer a life where I wouldn’t have to make that choice in the first place.
Would you rather be single or in a relationship? Let us know your thoughts on this in the comments!