I don’t know about you, but for me, the pressure to find “the one” and to fall in love started at a very young age. I remember being in the 5th grade and feeling like everyone had a boyfriend but me. That wasn’t true of course- we were in the freaking 5th grade, after all. When my friends and I started talking about “boyfriends”, little did we know that we would now be on a life-long trek to find “the one”. Little did we know love and dating and relationships would become one of the most important parts of our lives. So important, that we would in some instances be willing to sacrifice our own happiness just to be in a relationship.
It’s funny looking back on some of my early relationships because it never even crossed my mind that the likelihood of those relationships lasting a lifetime was slim or that I was never really in love. I used the word “forever” with nearly every single boyfriend I’ve ever had – and I literally laugh and shake my head as I write that. I don’t laugh because I don’t believe in soulmates or lifelong partners. In fact, I’m quite the opposite: I’m a deeply passionate romantic at heart, regardless of how jaded I feel sometimes. I’ve been through some awful experiences in some of my relationships, but at the end of the day, I still believe in love. I still love love and I still want love.
I laugh because there’s no way any of the relationships I’ve ever been in even had a chance of working out. Why? Because I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t ready for a majority of the relationships I’ve been in, but that didn’t matter to me at the time. I absolutely HATED being single, so as soon as one relationship would end, I’d jump right into the next one. And when I say jump, I mean literally dive head first into what usually ended up being a very shallow end. Le sigh.
What do I mean by “I wasn’t ready” for my relationships? I mean that I didn’t know who I was or what I believed in. I didn’t know what I stood for or what I valued and I didn’t give myself the chance to figure shit out on my own. Of course, with every relationship I’ve had, I’ve grown as a person. Relationships are crucial to our growth, but can also be somewhat tricky as we try to figure out who we are as individuals. So I’m not saying that I regret any of my relationships, but there were definitely times when I knew I should get out of them and didn’t solely because of the pressure I felt to find my other half.
And I know when I talk about this stuff that I’m not alone. Many of us are so scared to end up alone that we’d rather be unhappy in a relationship, than face being single. Isn’t that so fucked up? We stay in unhealthy relationships that we know we should leave but we’re too afraid that if we don’t stick it out with this guy/girl, that we might not ever find anyone else that’s better than they are… even though they’re not that great…? Again, super fucked up.
Over the last couple of years, I’ve been able to truly get to know myself. By not having anyone else to consider, I’ve been able to navigate my journey totally on my own. Every choice I’ve made has been totally up to me. You really get to learn a lot about yourself when you have this opportunity, but when you jump from relationship to relationship, you don’t really get that chance. When you’re in a relationship, there’s someone else to take into consideration.
Again, don’t get me wrong: love is wonderful. Healthy and positive relationships can be wonderful. But I truly believe that in order for the relationship to be long-lasting and healthy, that we need to start loving when we’re ready, and not when we’re lonely. If you know you’re not ready for a relationship, then don’t be in a relationship! Simple stuff, right?