I have lived my entire 20 years of life, single. I know I haven’t lived very long, but honestly, I am quite happy being a single pringle. In fact, I am quite thankful that I have never been in a relationship. Quite frankly, I have other things going on that a relationship would only get in the way of that. I have goals that are important to me, time that I can’t give to a relationship and to be quite selfish, I’m still working on myself so that I am the best version of me. Until then, how can I be in a relationship? And so being in a relationship has just never been a priority of mine. And this is why.
. . .
1. My Future Comes First
Love is a scary thing. Relationships are intense. They aren’t meant to be easy. And I have too much going on in my life right now that ‘isn’t easy’ to focus on a relationship. I’m in my third year of university, an important and challenging stage of my education.
As horrible as it sounds, I will never put anyone before my future. Because whoever I’m with should be supportive of what I become or am. What happens in my next few years could make or break my future. Being in a relationship right now, for me would 100% break it. I’m not saying it is the same for everyone, I respect the people who can be in a relationship and not have that meddle with their future, but I’m not willing to take that risk. Some people get so invested in their relationship that they end up going miles for this person, where they may end up putting their education at stake and end up ruining their future. And not to be a pessimist but for what? How do you know that relationship will last and will ‘be worth ruining your education’ for? I know love is meant to be a leap, a risk worth taking and if you love someone enough it shouldn’t matter.
But I have more at risk if I gamble with my future. My education for one is something that I can control. Not being in a relationship will mean I can give my full time, energy and commitment to that one thing. It means I have no excuse to not do well, to make something of myself and be who I want to be. I can change and control for better or for worse. And until I have reached that goal, I don’t need any distraction.
2. I don’t need someone to ‘complete me’
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate love. I enjoy an occasional cheesy chick-flick or a rom-com that would just never happen in real life. It’s heartwarming to see people find happiness with other people, where they fall endlessly in love and are together for all eternity. It’s not realistic half the time, but no relationship is perfect. Perhaps it’s my inexperience talking but I have never understood why you need someone to ‘complete you’. You shouldn’t need someone to ‘complete you’. You’re whole already.
The person you are in a relationship with should extend you, not complete you.
Because you’re your own person and with or without someone else, you are complete and wonderful.
As much as I am an extrovert and love hanging out with my friends and family, I also value very deeply my own time. My time to collect my thoughts and most importantly entertain myself. I don’t need anyone to entertain me, I don’t get bored, I stay busy. Because I can do things on my own, I can go on a walk on my own, I can enjoy the sunset on my own, I can go for a drive on my own. And if I end up doing that with someone else, great. But if not, still great.
3. I know my own self-worth
For twenty years I have been by myself, not relying on anyone but my family who I know will always be in my life. I have a close-knit family with the most supportive parents and a caring brother by my side. I’ve learned to live independently, to think on my own and to do things on my own without needing someone else. I think it’s great in a relationship point of view to have a significant other, someone who is meant to be your best friend as well as something more. But for now, I have my friends for that. I have my family and close friends who care for me no matter what, my parents to ask for advice, my brother to have a laugh with. And most importantly, I have myself. Because if you can’t rely on yourself, you can’t rely on other people. Because of that, I know my self-worth.
I have too often witnessed people around me lose themselves in a relationship. What do I mean by this? They lose the person they are because they are so ‘invested’ into their relationship that they lose part of their personality. One of the reasons this may happen is because of relationship-contingent self-esteem which is when a person bases their self-worth and/or confidence in their relationship. It becomes quite unhealthy because you rely on your relationship for your happiness and value. By not being in one, you learn your own self-worth, your own value. Only then, will you be able to go into a healthy relationship. Because you will know what you want out of it, you are aware of the person you are and your own value.
4. I don’t seek validation
When you are in a relationship, you tend to seek approval from your partner. It’s normal, you want them to like you, you want them to be there for you, you want them to approve of you. Sometimes, the only opinion that matters is there’s. I’ve seen people seek validation in clubs hunting for someone to spend a night with, because if they are chosen they feel validated. I’ve seen people seeking validation on Tinder, not actually to look for anything serious but so they have someone that’s swiped right and ‘approved’ of them. If you do any of these things, it’s normal, I won’t judge.
Honestly, though, I’ve never done either. By being on my own, the only validation I need is from myself. I seek comfort in myself. The only person I need to justify my actions to are myself. And if I was to seek validation, would you not be more comforted being approved by your family and friends? Your family supports your career path, wonderful. Your friends approve your new hobby or hair colour, perfect. But at the end of the day, it’s your life so do whatever makes you happy. You never have to justify your life choices to anyone, but yourself.
5. I’m still growing (mentally)
I always felt that the crucial years of growing up and finding yourself was in your teen years. Those are the years you discover who you are as a person, what you like to do as a person, what you can be as a person. Notice that everything I feel you can discover is as you as a person.
You and only you will know who you are and who you can be.
It would be difficult to discover that with someone else. You may not know any different, but you may subconsciously try to please them and change, you may subconsciously take what they say and do to heart and make sure that you aren’t that.
I am not saying that if you are in a relationship, someone will definitely be dragging you down. In your teen years, when you are surrounded by bratty teenagers who think they are better than you, backstabbers who come up with anything to hate you, a relationship is the last thing you need. The teenage brain gives into peer pressure, is more vulnerable to guilt-tripping and has a fear of judgement that clouds your own. So I did it on my own instead, without any of this hanging at the back of my head.
Because I’ve never been in a relationship in those prime years, I’ve grown to be a person I am very happy with today. I’ve grown to know what I want in the people around me and what I want in life. I know I want to be in a job I’m happy in, I want to enjoy work, I want to be able to continue to do all my hobbies like writing, drawing and anything sewing. I know I want to open my own business in the future, to continue uploading videos to Youtube and publish a book. A relationship has never been in my bucket list, but if I meet the right person and they fall into place with everything else I’m doing? I would open them with open arms.
6. I put myself first
When you are in a relationship, you often find yourself putting the other first because they are important to you. But for me, I can’t afford to do that. I must admit, I’m quite bad for doing that already. I find it hard to say ‘no’, even if I actually can’t do something and I will make my life overall harder for myself to please others. But that’s for friends. I can’t imagine what I would be like in a relationship. Would it be worse? Will I get to the point of burnout where I do absolutely everything for my significant other so that I am still in a relationship? Here’s the thing.
It’s important to be selfish sometimes, to say ‘no’ when you can’t do something and to put yourself first.
Because if you don’t put yourself first, who will? I have an autoimmune disease that makes it very difficult in my everyday life. I’m quite a laidback person with minimal stress, but any stress I do have takes a big toll on my body and it can be pretty hard to recover from. I don’t even need stress to have a flare-up and end up in the hospital. Having this illness would be a burden for someone else to take on. And I know, the person I’m with is meant to love me for me and won’t care that they have this added part of me (I say added and not part of me because I don’t’ consider it part of me) but it’s not going to be easy. I might not be able to give my significant other what they want. I might get ill more easily, I might have to rest more and not be able to help out around the house. If they wanted to, I might not be able to give them a family. Yes, they are meant to love me for me and not what I can bring them. But that’s something I could never take from someone, or have someone resent me for. And yes there are ways, I could adopt, use a surrogate. But that’s also not that easy. Because if I can hardly look after myself, how can I look after a child?
You need know when to be selfish and put yourself first. So make sure you have a balanced life.
Don’t let a relationship or the fact that you aren’t in one ever get in the way of you, your own health and your mental health.
Make sure you are not only physically but mentally strong so that if you ever decide you want to be in a relationship, you will also know when to separate yourself from one and give yourself some alone time. Not necessarily a break-up, but everyone needs their space and their own ‘Me-time’.
7. I don’t put pressure on something that is society’s definition of ‘normal’
Nowadays, I feel like people are less judgemental when you are older and single. When I mean older, I mean the age that people expect you to have settled down, gotten married and started a family. Every person’s life is different, they may not want to get married, they may not have found the person they want to be with. It happens at all stages in life, you could find the love of your life at age 70 for all I care! I don’t like to put pressure on myself, especially the type of pressure that you can’t control.
If and when it comes, it will come.
You don’t have to be in a relationship, now or later. There’s no pressure, you don’t need to put a strain on it. If you are desperate, you’ll find the first breathing thing you’ll see just to validate yourself. If you rush it, you won’t be truly happy. Don’t let society’s standard of normal fool you into thinking you need to be in a relationship. Because you will never truly be you and happy if you force anything.
If and when I ever get in a relationship, it should be on my own accord. It should be because I see the potential for it to last, to bring me added joy, added value in my life. I want someone to be part of my future, but without completing it because I am already complete. I want someone who I don’t constantly seek validation from because I know my own self-worth. To be able to put me first, for the sake of not just me but for them. I will always be growing mentally and I will want to give the best possible version of myself to them, and if I am not ready, I don’t need to give in to society’s pressure of being in a relationship. I don’t need one to be happy and if I do, I am not ready.
So I will play the long game. I will find the person that fits in with me because I know who I am and nobody can tell you otherwise. Because at the end of the day, it’s okay to not be in a relationship.
This post was previously published on Hello, Love.
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