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!
55 Replies to “The Real Reasons We Avoid Relationships…”
I’m just over 40, and have never been in a long term relationship, mostly due to not feeling attracted to other people. The desire to be in a relationship has never arisen, and no one has shown interest (so the feeling’s mutual). My main effort is forming and maintaining friendships, but that is often difficult as well. Reading social cues is often very difficult, and my skills are not on par with my peers. It’s likely just as well.
I’ve been single all my life. At first it was because of my low self-esteem and mind you I was looking for a boyfriend in order to validate my self. I would always act desperate to a point where I confessed to a guy but he rejected me. At that time I thought it was because of my physical appearance but it was because he had just broken up with a girl that cheated on him with a guy in the same class. Many of my rejections so I thought was because of my physical appearance that I had trouble of accepting at the time. I learnt that my old self was seeking love in all the wrong places by seeking validation from men constantly. I now dedicate the time to know and love myself unconditionally as I have negleted the most important person. I am turning 24 this year and I am happy with the way things turned out because I am comfortable being on my own and nurturing myself. The feeling is liberating when you finally realise that you have always had the love you’re chasing inside of you which is the first and very important step to finding someone to share your life with.
I had to remain single for some time as i felt like I needed to heal.I was in a relationship which unfortunately ended in a inhuman way.We were never compatible despite the years we had been together.My pain,disappointment and frustration brought out the worst from me when the relationship ended and i dont want to ever feel like that ever!I feared that i was going to inflict pain on whoever i was going to get into a relationship after that. I have been single for a couple of years and i must say that i like the person i have become today.Mine has been a journey and i dont want to label it as an excuse.
Well I’m single because I’ve tried the dating world and no one wants to commit fully , I was so energetic and positive! Relationships hurt , confuse and drain you . You go through it all for that person to tell you , they’re not ready to settle down , after putting you through all the motions of a relationship. I make it known what I’m look for , I’m ok with just being friends… people are users . I don’t date the same type of guy. So I’ve just accepted that I have poor judgment and I need to do what men do , me. Focus on my career , solely focus on my kids . And just learn to enjoy my own company. And at last I’m tired of men telling me I have it all I don’t need a man . why do I have to need you , why can’t we just want one another enjoy each other’s company and whatever may come of it. Being single means no more waiting for the call that will never come. Guys being jerks because they’re having a bad day. Me giving and never truly receiving what was required of me. I’m free , and zero pain , zero expectations! I don’t even date .
I know that feeling all too well , emotional pain turns into physical pain, and I don’t know why I stayed either. Which is why I don’t trust myself and you have to heal so you don’t to to the next what has been done to you. But after awhile you get comfortable being single it’s my safe place. I’m not an emotional wreck. But that’s scary to think that I’m my 30s I’ll be single for the rest of my life. On the flip side it’s more frightening being stuck in a horrible relationship or a makeshift relationship the mirrors one but apparently is all in my head .
My reasons are several. I’ve struggled between fierce independence & codependency my whole life . I am very much independent & comfortable in many ways figuring through life’s trials & tribulations with myself. I have done a lot of self growth & realize I struggled & still do with intimate relationships . I spent my 20s clinging to relationships that simply weren’t right nor giving me what I needed . When the relationship would end , I would blame mostly myself & not necessarily see the full picture . Now in my 30s and single for years , I recognize the traumas I faced both in childhood and adult intimate relationships have had a profound impact on me . I find myself avoiding relationships for fear of rejection , fear of jumping from this independent woman to “needy” and being too much for someone , fear of heartbreak that I have endured before & never want to feel again but also recognizing on the flip side (much sooner ) when a possible match may not be right for me PRIOR to it leading to anything else and/or when the person simply doesn’t meet my standards for what I want or need in a relationship. I am in a place in life that I recognize my fears & i’m also comfortable in many ways with my independence . I yearn for love but I also won’t settle for less. I know one day Mr Right will be there but I also recognize it may not be in the way or time I initially expected. This self realiZation and growth has gone on for years but it’s not done . i know there’s a plan for me & time will tell.
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