Single- Long Term Relationships
Section 1: Do You Really Want a Long Term Relationship?
Your family hints at it. Your friends joke with you about it. The media bombards you with it. The dominant cultural message points to it.
Having a girlfriend…why don’t you have one, what’s wrong with you if you decide not to have one, what to do if you want one and how much more “complete” you’d be with a woman in your life.
Even writing these ideas doesn’t feel right to me. I don’t support these stances nor do I want to give you the idea that there’s anything “wrong” with you whatsoever. These concepts can create feelings of inadequacy and insecurity and I want to invite you to abolish them from your psyche. You don’t even have to look very far to hear critic’s views on celebs that opt for singlehood…as if they are damaged goods for choosing their single lifestyle. What is wrong with the way George Clooney lives his love life? Not a damn thing if you ask me.
Wait a minute! Isn’t this whole site devoted to meeting and keeping women? Yes…as a vehicle by which you get to look into all kinds of different areas of your life to improve your quality of life experience. Women are just one facet (though a very sexy one at that) of your existence and we hope as you’re working through this curriculum, you’re getting that point. Where am I going with all of this?
The point is that before you robotically chase after and find yourself wrapped up in a long-term relationship, that you look into what’s motivating you to do so. Instead of being a lemming, stop for a minute and look through some of these considerations. Women out there will be much more appreciative if you took the time to check in with yourself before you get overly involved and wind up running for the hills once she talks about the “C” word….
All women want a relationship, so should I, right?
Allow me to bust this myth right away. Not all women want long-term relationships. It is a part of our biological makeup to create life and much of our life’s efforts are devoted to this end. However, this is not the case for every woman, regardless of the fact that we share the same plumbing. Modern advancements allow women to have much more choices about the course of their lives than ever before. From birth control to equality (in some arenas) in the workplace, women’s lives are no longer strictly devoted to the creation and sustenance of a family.
That being said, women are naturally driven and rewarded through powerful brain chemistry to create social connections and intimacy with others. However, this need can be met in many ways. There are growing facets of society who live very non-traditional ways and are in unorthodox relationships that still serve their needs for closeness and connectivity. There are opportunities for single mothers to adopt children or become surrogates. Women seek out male “companions” and get erotic massages to get off. We get chances to feel closely connected to others through our friendships, family, volunteer and community efforts. This isn’t to suggest that these replace the desire to have intimacy with a single man in our lives. I’m simply pointing out that not all women choose to meet their desire for closeness and intimacy through a long term partnership and there are many opportunities to scratch that itch elsewhere.
The point here is that there is no single arrangement, expectation or assumptions that you can make when it comes to women’s desires for long term partnership. And though the dominant culture may still point toward long-term monogamy, there are many gradients in between that are becoming more mainstream. With that said, we want to encourage you to tap in to what is best for you. External pressures to be, do, think, say and act in alignment with others, despite our internal objection, serves no one. I cannot tell you how many clients and friends alike (usually in their younger years) allow themselves to be cajoled into circumstances that are against their nature. If they do this in the realm of relationships, they wind up sometimes in therapy with feelings of resentment that their partner is asking them to be a different version of who they really are. Instead of going this route, I’m encouraging you to get honest with yourself from the start.
Do You Have a Relationship With Yourself First?
Are you your own best friend, financier, lover, companion and confidant? Or are you waiting for a woman in your life to “make” you complete in any of these realms? Do you enjoy your own company? Seriously, when was the last time that you spent time just with yourself, without distractions and external stimulus? Does the thought of this sound excruciating? What do you fear could come up? Boredom? Thinking that you’d be missing out on something? When you look in the mirror, are you pleased with what you see? Or are you waiting for a woman to show you your worth?
I went through all of that to demonstrate that you may be searching on the outside for something that can only truly be realized from within yourself. And though plenty of people approach life and relationships this way, acting from a perception of lack, need and desperation is no way to bring in a compatible companion into your life. You can and will bring women into your life or your bed, but if it’s generated from a deep desire to plug up the holes in your self esteem, then the relationship’s only going to provide you with temporary satiation until you start picking her (and yourself) apart again. I cannot highlight this more. By beginning with yourself, you will offer a woman your fullness, rather than looking at her for fulfillment. There’s a big difference.
Where Does the Motivation for a Long Term Relationship Come From?
It may be time to ask yourself some critical questions about where the drive for a relationship generates from to ensure that the motivation is yours.
- Are there cultural or religious factors that play a role for you?
- Is your family a source of influence or pressure?
- Are your friends or colleagues swaying your choices?
The inevitable answers here are that of course these elements have played vital roles in influencing you. This is how we all learn and experience life and there is nothing inherently “wrong” with this idea. What becomes challenging is when these ideas and perspectives are wrong for you; when they don’t fit with your nature or they hold little value for you. I hear downright asinine beliefs about relationships; everything from being “too old” to “should be settling down” that I can tell is someone else’s truth, not theirs. I can see it in their faces; they feel rotten as they say the words because they don’t want to believe these things are true. And if they took the time to ask themselves, they would understand that those are someone else’s words that they’ve unconsciously adopted as their own.
From chopping down trees and putting silly fat man charms on them or waiting 3 days to call a woman, we oftentimes follow this pseudo set of “rules” that have no real worth for you. On the other hand, if after asking yourself these questions, you find a sort of fit with these ideas, then there’s no need to do anything differently. I’m simply suggesting that you begin to function more deliberately to make sure that you’re acting from a set of principles and values that have value to and for you.
Now that I’ve put some considerations out there, I hope you’ve gotten real with yourself. I want to direct you to the self-esteem tracks to help you establish some genuine comfort in your own skin before you seek to repair it with the wrong tool. Relationships can be a mechanism by which you can learn a great deal about yourself, but they will be much more rich and fulfilling when you enter them with clear intentions. Supposing that you’re all good on this front, let’s move onto some further considerations on your trek from single hood to relationship.