Relationships can’t make you happy, fulfilled and satisfied (by themselves)
First we are told stories of fairies and princesses. Some lose glass shoes, some get to sleep for a hundred years, some have to live with seven dwarfs – but they all get their prince and live happily ever after. When we grow up we are fed with modern day fairy tales via Hollywood movies: boy meets girl, they fall in love and their lives are magically transformed. The movie conveniently ends at the point where they start living together, so we never get to see the real challenges their relationship has to endure through real life’s ups and downs.
Even if we don’t believe life can be one big fairy tale – this type of thinking, hoping and expecting the perfect person to take away all our troubles – gets engraved somewhere in the back of our minds. And, ironically, this is where all our misery and false expectations about love and relationships actually begin.
When we think that the right partner can save us from life’s hardships, we put ourselves in a state of waiting for life to happen, not actually living it. We feel we can’t be happy on our own, or with someone we feel is not “the one”. We convince ourselves we can’t be truly satisfied with life when we’re in between relationships, and we see breakups as our biggest failures. We are constantly reminded – by our own thoughts, often perpetuated by people around us, that we are not complete, not “enough” – because we don’t have a partner.
This thinking, not the fact you are single, is what’s destroying your happiness. You are not less of a person if you are single. You are not even less happy than people who have someone. Yes – you miss the connection, the companionship, the sharing of life’s beautiful moments and support in hard times, but guess what: so do many people who are in a couple, if their relationship is not filled with love and respect. And many aren’t – from the exact same reason: people in them expect the other to make all their troubles, fears and shortcomings go away. And nobody can do that for somebody else.
The reality of life is that relationships can’t make you happy, fulfilled and satisfied on their own. They are not designed for that either. They are experiences that help us grow, explore ourselves and challenge us to overcome our fears of closeness, our capability for honesty, change and true human connection. They stretch our boundaries and question our old ways to make room for new and better life practices. They are often great teachers, and yes, they can give us great joy and fulfillment – but only if we have already learned how to give those same things to ourselves first.
And not only that – when you see your life as less valuable during its single periods and yourself as less of a person – you actually block the truly great relationships and great matching partners from entering your life. You come across as needy, clingy and desperate – and the potential partners you meet run away as soon as they sense it. And it doesn’t take them long. Feeling sorry for yourself doesn’t make you a desirable partner, and nobody wants to date people who think they need a relationship to save them from themselves.
If that doesn’t sound logical to you – ask yourself this: would you want to date someone who thinks you are their only chance for happiness? Do you even want to take the responsibility for someone else’s fulfillment? I bet you don’t. So it’s not exactly reasonable to expect others to do the same for you.
Waiting for somebody to give us what we need and want from life takes away another important aspect which is an essential part of feeling good about ourselves: the power and control over our own lives. If we can’t be complete until we share our life with someone, then our happiness depends on factors that are beyond our control – we are at the mercy of chance, luck, God or universe, and all we can do is sit, wait, hope and pray that they will find us worthy of love and connection. And that’s not a great place to be in.
Luckily, we don’t have to live like that. I know this may sound like a cliché, but it’s the truth: life is what you make of it. If you want to continue feeling miserable because you don’t have a partner, so be it. But you’re the one making that choice. And you have the power to choose the opposite: turn your attention to all the ways you can make your life happier and more fulfilled, connect with friends and family on a deeper level, create joyful and fun moments, make your life a celebration of your strengths, gifts and talents, and of your ability to love and be loved.
Love is something we’re all capable of giving and receiving in heaps and bounds, and we don’t need a romantic partner to start doing it right here, right now, with all the people we already have in our lives, starting from your own self. Yes, you can feel loved by the person in the mirror, and that’s not a bad way to start practicing love either: it’s actually the right way. The best way to start walking on the path of love is learning and discovering more ways to truly love and accept yourself yourself. And the more you walk this path, the less pressure you’ll feel to find someone to love you. And – surprisingly so – the more you walk it, the more loving, amazing, caring partners will want to join in and share their lives with you.
LET ME HEAR YOUR THOUGHTS
Do you feel your life would be better if only you had a partner?
Or maybe the opposite – if you were single again?
Join the conversation below!