Are we better off single (and is that fear or wisdom talking)

Posted on June 15, 2016


Do you ever get to a really good place when you’re single and think, ‘Ahhh this is actually really good!’

Do you ever wander if perhaps your life would be less turbulent and stressful if you just stayed single?

I do.

Quite a lot actually.

There’s so much quest for ‘the one’ or that perfect relationship, but is there such a thing as a perfect relationship? No one is perfect and relationships are never easy, once you get past the honeymoon period (whether its a few months, few years or decades for the lucky few) then you’re still left asking the same question: am I really supposed to spend the rest of my life with this person?!

I speak a lot with my friends – both male and female – about this topic. Some have been in relationships for over ten years, others struggle to maintain them for more than 3 months. We’re mostly in our late 20s to late 30s for the most part, and everyone seems to share the same beliefs: relationships are HARD. Fact. There is not two-ways about it, relationships are so much more than the sexy, passionate, exciting, or ‘will we won’t we’ phase. They’re about two people finding a way to make each other happy (or not) and the struggle behind how to achieve that (or not). Many relationships end, simply, once the honeymoon phase is over. When the lust and passion is gone.

And that’s understandable right? Most of the time relationships are driven by the crazy unexplainable connection you have with a person who on paper, you probably wouldn’t be with otherwise.

Equally, those who decide that their partner is worth keeping hold of and get married, give up really easily. Divorce rates are currently 50% in the US (source: Huffpost June 2016) and 40% in the UK. Surprisingly optimistic actually if you take it on surface value, but when you dig a little deeper, less people are getting married aren’t they. The sensible ones who know deep down their relationship wouldn’t survive the pressures of marriage avoid going there in the first instance. I know I would.

Also, Jo Edwards, chair of the family law organisation Resolution, said in the Daily Telegraph in an article about Divorce rates in the UK the lowest they’ve been in years: “The rise in cohabiting couples, the fastest growing type of household in Britain, may also play a role [in the changing divorce rates] – cohabitation separation is not included in these statistics.”

So these stats are quite worrying – they suggests that of all those who got married, around half of them woke up one day and couldn’t stand the person lying next to them. And that doesn’t include those who were in co-habitating relationships, suggesting further that the figure for failed relationships could be much higher.

My parents were asking me about marriage the other week. They wanted to know my views on it, whether i’d like to get married some day, and if so what my wedding would be like. Now, that last part is fun to dream up or talk about isn’t it. But I don’t want to get married for getting married’s sake. I’d rather meet a person whom I felt utterly connected to and compatible with to go on this crazy huge responsible journey with first. If didn’t meet that person, then marriage/wedding/babies even, probably isn’t something I wanna pursue.

And that then let me to thinking: should I share that same philosophy about relationships in general?

Caressed by my sofa the other night (who NEVER lets me down by the way) I thought about how much of a head-fuck relationships are. Once the good stuff is over, you have to work through and find ways to keep the magic alive. Which takes two people united in that effort. What if one of you has no motivation for such determination to survive, what if one of you starts to have affairs, or just emotionally ‘checks out’ but continues going through the motions with you, never quite admitting they don’t love you anymore, stringing the relationship along enough to keep it in flame, but bearly flickering.

Euch. Can you just imagine. Awful. I know people stuck in the above examples and I feel so emotionally wounded FOR them. It breaks my heart to hear about the reality of this kind of relationship.

It’s my worse fear – to finally meet someone incredible, worthy of me giving myself and my life to them, for it to go this way.

Maybe that’s the value of marriage. It’s binding. A legal contract that makes it so much harder to just give up. You invest more in making it survive. You’re more likely to go to couples therapy too.

But sat here right now, writing this, I’m in a good place. I don’t feel any neuroses today because a relationship is making me feel insecure; i’m alright by myself, I don’t need a man to make me feel good – i’m 100% responsible for that all on my own. I only have myself to let myself down.

When i’m in relationships I end up losing my sense of confidance and self worth. I constantly feel paranoid that they’re losing interest or have cheated on me. I know these are my own issues and I am working hard on this. But perhaps it would be wise to free myself from the constant punishment that is being in a serious relationship. Maybe that could be the best thing I ever did, instead of constantly wondering when i’ll meet ‘the one’ which is an overhyped misconstruction anyway.

What are your thoughts on this? Are you in a committed relationship with someone – or yourself? Do you prefer being single or working through the challenging that relationships present to you? Or are relationships just mirrors, reflecting back the areas to work on. Do you, like me, relish the good stuff but jump off the train when the going gets a little too rough? Or are you in a long term committed relationship with its ups and downs but generally are very happy? If so, what are your coping mechanisms for the challenges? Any tips you’d like to share?

I’m deeply curious!


Posted in: The Truth