The Real Reasons We Avoid Relationships…

Stephen Hussey

I remember talking to a television executive last year (not my usual social milieu, but hey, I was in LA at the time), and we got to talking about how more young people are choosing to avoid relationships.

“I don’t understand that,” she said. “My family come from a Jewish psychotherapy background, and for us it’s all about relationships. That’s where all the growth and learning is. To avoid relationships is to avoid life.”

I’ve thought about that a lot since.

There are no doubt benefits to being single:

  • You learn how to be independent
  • You get an identity and friendships outside of someone else
  • You learn how to make yourself happy (or hopefully you do)

These are all good things. They make you come to relationships from a position of power. But even as someone who is capable of really enjoying the single life, I understood what she meant.

I’ve had several relationships in my twenties, and I’m positive that it’s within those that I did the most maturing and emotional growth, difficult as that process could be. As a result, I can’t help but see the idea of people avoiding relationships as a matter of principle, especially if they have zero experience of them, as a very shortsighted strategy.

The ability to successfully manage a relationship, meet someone else’s needs, and communicate your own effectively, is a skill that takes work like any other. So it pays to get some practice in.

Yet, you’ve probably heard all the excuses people make for avoid relationships:

  • “My life is SO busy right now.”
  • “I want to focus on my career.”
  • “It’s a lot of effort to think about someone else – I just want to do my own thing.”

I get it. I’ve used all of these before as well. Sometimes they’ve been 100% true.

But here’s the problem: these things will always be true.

  • If you’re a Type-A, active person, you’ll always be busy.
  • If you’re ambitious and driven, you’ll always want to put time into your career.
  • If you find it hard to think about someone else’s needs…that will still be hard 10 years from now, so you may as well try it sooner rather than later.

The truth is: it’s not relationships that hold people back, it’s bad relationships.

If you find a relationship is killing your career, sucking up all your free time, or making you feel like you’re constantly giving and get nothing in return, it’s probably a sign you’ve chosen a partner whose values and needs aren’t compatible with your own.

But here’s the catch: You only learn who the right partner is by dating a few of the wrong people (unless you get super lucky on your first try), so experiencing relationships is one of the best ways to discover the qualities you REALLY want in a long-term relationship.

Enjoy Being Single, But Know Why…

Believe me, I’m the last person to suggest you go out and immediately jump into any relationship just so you can get more experience. In fact, please definitely don’t do that. There are already enough crappy marriages in the world caused by society’s insane pressure to see everyone (particularly women) coupled up as soon as possible.

What really matters are your reasons for wanting to be single or in a couple.

We all get addicted to our excuses, and a huge amount of progress comes when we realise how silly these are: e.g. “It’s not possible to have a great career and a successful relationship at the same time”, “I don’t know if the guy I want exists”, “I have no spare time”. When we let these go, it’s liberating. It frees us from our self-imposed stories and makes us open to possibilities again.

I have no dog in this fight. If you love being single, then go for it. Embrace the time for yourself, dive in, and try not to piss too many people off in the process.

Just realise WHY you’re doing it.

It’s always good now and then to look at the stories we tell ourselves in our heads, and ask the difficult question: Is this story bulls**t? Do I have a good reason for believing this? Are there people who I admire who have figured this out in spite of why I’m telling myself it can’t be done?

What excuses are still keeping you single (or making you afraid of it)? Let me know in the comments below!

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54 Replies to “The Real Reasons We Avoid Relationships…”

  1. It’s not a choice to be single would love to have someone in my life, but finding someone decent that’s the hard part !! I think it’s very hard these days especially as a single mother of 2 kids working and studying … I don’t get to go out much so how are you supposed to meet someone ?
    I’ve certainly learnt what I don’t want and I won’t go with anyone just to have someone, I’m not closed off or I don’t use the excuses to not have a relationship, I get out where I can, sometimes I think it’s just pure luck !!

  2. This is so true.
    Wanting to avoid bad or incompatible relationships allows us to try not to think of relationships, and focus on work. At least I was doing that after focusing too much on work past years and recently just ended a short one when i decided that its time I spent some time to look around me and ‘open my doors’. Sad but true relationships sometimes dont work out. It takes efforts by both parties. And after breaking down my defences when i finally get comfortable with someone and yet get knocked down after all that effort makes it hard. But i always try to tell myself, dont give up. it might take some exercise to warm up those feelings, and this one was just some warm ups for the next better one.

  3. Perhaps people do not understand what a relationship is. Some might think it means friends with benefits. But I recently read a good relationship as described like this: two people who are equally independent while being mutually dependent all the while having reciprocal obligations. Summed up, it is not getting the right partner but being the right partner.

  4. Why still single? Not many guys out there who can accept my life style, the way I’m thinking, and my standards.

    Plus, not many commited, charismatic and financially stable single guys left who are at the same age or elder. In my culture, guys normally looking for younger ladies and unmarried ladies at the age beyond 30 are seen as leftovers.

  5. Another beautifully written piece, Stephen. I have used all of these reasons for staying out of relationships and pushing guys away. I definitely learned a lot about myself being single for a period of time. That was a really great thing I did for myself. The few relationships I was in helped me learn what I didn’t want and what I needed to improve on in myself. I think a great relationship comes down to being very secure with yourself and meeting the right person at the right time. Thank you for helping me fire my neurons and helping me really appreciate where I’m at today.

    1. So True. I enjoy reading Stephen’s articles. He gives good tips and an inner voice for that positive inputs in my head too. Just getting warmed up for the next compatible or better one Candy!

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