Over the past 5 years I’ve received more wedding invitations than I can remember. Yup, I’m at the stage in life where my Facebook feed has gone from pictures of wild weekend benders to photographs of people ‘naturally’ sitting on a sofa in a field of wild flowers (aka engagement photos) and white gowns. Actually, to be honest, I’m past that stage…that stopped 2 years ago. Now my Facebook feed is filled with baby photos and articles about daycares and anti-vaccination debates.
However, there have been a handful of people I know who didn’t take the wedding plunge, but instead went the opposite direction. The past year seems to have been a ‘make it or break it’ year among my unmarried friends and the majority of them in this situation broke it. I can understand it being a scary step when you feel like you’re going against the grain by not following the norms of tradition, so hats off to those who broke out of their comfort zone to venture back into the scary world of…singlehood.
But why do so many venture back into this world with such trepidation? And here’s one of my burning questions: Why does being in a relationship define someone SO much that not being in one any longer basically strips them of their identity to the point where they don’t know what to do with themself anymore?
I noticed that upon being newly single many seem to pursue interests that used to sit in the back of their minds. From my observations I’ve noticed that people pick up previous interests or take on new projects that they didn’t bother going ahead with during the relationship stage. Someone I know who recently broke up with his girlfriend of 9 years got together with friends just 3 days after the breakup to discuss starting up a hobby club that had been on his mind for quite a while. When I heard this I just thought “Why didn’t you pursue this earlier if it was something you were really interested in? Why did it take breaking up with your girlfriend to get involved in something?” And the thing is, he isn’t an anomaly. It’s common to hear people hitting up the gym again, getting back into an old sport or starting up a new interest after a breakup and I’m not sure why being single seems to be a requirement in pursuing any kind of personal interest.
What is it about being in a relationship that makes people not care about personal growth anymore? Are nurturing a relationship and nurturing self-enhancement mutually exclusive activities that can’t be done in conjunction with one another?
I hope I’m never in a situation where being on my own leaves me feeling empty and unsatisfied. I’d like to think that being in a relationship is complementary to your lifestyle, not something that defines you. I don’t believe in a ‘better half’ or a soulmate or that there’s someone out there who can ‘complete me’. I believe I’m whole on my own and that anyone (who deserves to be!) in a relationship with me is just an added enhancement.
I noticed I’ve asked a lot of questions in this post…if you’ve got answers, please feel free to answer!