Single shaming is a real thing. Even with casual dating on the rise and people staying single for longer everyone is always asking when you are going to settle down and find a partner. Really ask yourself, do you want a partner or are you lonely?
Whether you’re 18, 28, or 40, I guarantee you have friends and family members that are trying to set you up repeatedly.
I was single for six years and every holiday when I would see my family, I would be bombarded with questions and unsolicited advice on getting a boyfriend. The thing was, at the time, I was perfectly happy being single.
Yes, eventually I did want a partner and sure I had moments when I felt lonely, but I was perfectly content being single and working on myself until the right person came along.
If I had given into my relatives’ nagging I could have forced myself to be in a relationship that I didn’t really want at the time and been stuck in something I wasn’t ready for or happy with.
[Read: Am I ready for a relationship? The questions you should be asking yourself]
Are you lonely?
There is a big difference between wanting a partner and a relationship and feeling lonely. You can be happy being single and independent and still have moments of loneliness. In fact, you can be in a happy and satisfying relationship and have moments of loneliness.
Fighting loneliness is not a valid reason to want or try for a relationship. Loneliness can lead us to assume we want a partner. It is nice to have someone to keep us company and do the boring everyday things with, but that isn’t always what we truly want or need.
Being lonely can trick you into thinking you want a relationship. It can actually have such an impact on you that you get into the wrong relationship, actually making things worse for yourself.
[Read: How not to feel lonely and chase your blues away]
It can also make you more susceptible to the poor advice of others. Friends and family may have good intentions when setting you up or urging you to date more, but if that isn’t something you want, being convinced to do it will feel wrong.
Feeling lonely makes you more easily influenced by others. It can even make you feel desperate for any partner, no matter who they are.
If this is what you are feeling, getting into a relationship could be dangerous and dysfunctional. It could lead to a manipulative relationship or worse.
If you don’t really want a partner, getting one to fight loneliness or societal pressures will not help.
[Read: The early warning signs of a controlling relationship most people miss]
You don’t need a partner
It is unbelievably common to assume we want a partner. It is tradition and expected by most people that we are monogamous and all want to get married one day.
The thing is, that is not necessary or best for everyone. Not everyone wants to spend their life with one person. Not everyone wants to settle down. And there is nothing wrong with that. Even if that is your plan and what you want in the future, it doesn’t mean that it is what you want right now. You can take time away from dating and try in a few months or years.
Although you may be pressured by the advice from others or by comparing your life to that of your peers, everyone is on their own path. And whether you want a partner eventually or not, that is up to you. [Read: How to stay single until you’re seriously ready to mingle]
Something I’ve noticed is that people in relationships really want their single friends to find someone. Sure, it is out of the goodness of their heart but is also a tiny bit controlling.
Perhaps they want you to find a partner so you can go on double dates or maybe so they don’t feel guilty for spending most of their time with their partner if you are too. Or they just think they are so happy and figure you cannot be happy on your own.
That is the assumption. When someone hears that a successful and dateable adult is single, they automatically feel bad or to think of someone they know to set them up with. Why?
You do not need a partner to live a fulfilled or balanced life. There is nothing wrong with being single now or for the rest of your life if that is your choice. Even though society, even modern society, would have you think the opposite.
[Read: How to be happy being single and explore the freedoms of singledom]
Do you want a partner?
Now you know that you don’t need a partner. That is half the issue here. So many people are brainwashed or simply convinced that they need a partner to be happy. But, accepting that you don’t need a partner is half the battle.
Once you acknowledge that, decide if you want a partner or not.
Do you want to share your life with someone? Do you want that comfort and familiarity? Or do you like going on dates and meeting new people?
These are questions you should ask yourself. Do you want someone that supports you and that you can support and encourage? If you only want a partner to keep you company and be there for you without returning those feelings, you don’t really want a partner. You want an assistant. [Read: 15 hurt-free rules to date casually without getting hurt]
Are you fulfilled with the friends and family you have right now? Do you like having a lot of alone time? Do you like being able to move around or travel without worrying about someone else’s plans?
Consider if you want a settled future ore would your rather live with someone and make a life together? These are all things to consider.
When I was single, I knew I eventually wanted a partner. I knew that I wanted to be married and have kids with my husband one day. But, I knew I wasn’t ready for that at the time, so I took a break from dating. It was the best thing I could have done for myself.
Instead of forcing a relationship on myself when I didn’t want one, I waited until I did want that person to share things with. [Read: 16 signs you’re clearly not ready for a serious relationship just yet]
Waiting until you want a partner is the best way to find one. I know people say it’ll happen when you least expect it, but really, it will happen when you want it to and when you’re ready.
You likely won’t find the right person when you don’t truly want a partner. When you do want a partner, you are ready to open yourself up and find the right person. [Read: 15 real good reasons why you need to be single for now]
But, you may realize that you don’t want a partner. Sure, you may have to explain modern-day independence to your old-fashioned family members or adorably cute couple friends, but that is okay as long as you’re doing what is right for you.
[Read: How to enjoy being single and live the life you want to live]
So, do you want a partner or have you been convinced you do? Either way, it’s okay to be single or want a partner. Just figure out what you want.
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