How many times in your life, do you think you’ve seen the idea of someone else “completing you” somewhere? In a quote? In a social media post? On a commercial? In a movie? How often is the concept of finding someone to make you happy reinforced in our everyday lives; that one person is out there, waiting until you fall into each other’s lives and grow old together?
Listen, I’m not saying that (good) relationships aren’t great. And I’m not saying that everyone needs to be alone forever. But I think we need to abolish this idea that someone else exists in the world to “be your other half.”
Recently, I’ve seen a few of my good friends go through some pretty rough breakups because of fairly innocuous reasons: they grew apart, they aren’t at the same place in life, etc., etc. But one thing I’ve heard from multiple people on why they haven’t broken up with their significant other sooner is because they’re afraid of being single.
And that’s understandable, right? No one really wants to be alone – having that one person locked into a relationship with you pretty much guarantees that person cares about you, will be there for you, is always someone to do things with, etc. (Unless they’re not, and you seriously need to get out of that relationship ASAP).
But here’s the thing.
Just because you’re single, it doesn’t mean you’re alone.
I think a lot of people forget this. You are your own independent person, and friends are just as important as significant others. You (hopefully) have surrounded yourself with people who make you happy and encourage you to be a better person. These are people to hang out with, to talk about problems with, to go places, to do things. People who care about you and will be there for you. If you don’t have people who you feel that way about, maybe re-evaluate your friendships. Maybe it’s time to make new ones. If your significant other was your only friend, reconsider why you were actually in the relationship with them.
Especially in your 20s, you need time to discover yourself.
What I’ve heard from a lot of my friends is that they have a security blanket in the relationship. I can’t say I’m not a culprit of this myself cause sometimes it feels nice to have that guarantee. But I think before you get into a relationship, you need to learn how to be alone. You need to figure out how to define you before you know how to define yourself +1. This is my major problem with people from high school trying to do LDRs when they get to university. There are so many growing pains that happen in college that you need to be able to stretch and breathe and do things on your own without having to question what your partner will think about it. Be you. Too many millennials don’t know how to, and we should change that.
You need to love yourself before you can truly love anyone else.
Now, self-love is something I’m no expert on. And this is one of the main reasons why I’m not currently seeking out a relationship, because I’m not in a place where I feel like I’m the best partner I could be. And that is okay. Besides the fact that I’m graduating in a year and it just wouldn’t be realistic (because I’m a selfish person who wants to travel the world and I don’t expect anyone to follow me to the ends of the earth cause like, damn, do your own thing, worry about yourself), I enjoy learning about me and who I am when I’m on my own. And while I wouldn’t say I truly love myself yet, I’m learning to. And I think learning how to love the person who some people truly hate more than anyone else (hey mental illness!) makes loving another person so, so much easier and full.
It’s okay to be bitter when you see friends getting married and engaged and falling in and out of love. Jealousy is a natural emotion. That happens, especially when it’s getting jealous of something you’ve been taught to value above almost anything else. That’s pretty much how life works, especially when we’ve been socialized to think that way.
But you’re not looking for your better half. You’re not looking for someone to complete you.
You’re already whole.