Idealizing Romance: How Society’s Expectations About Love and Marriage Contribute to Codependency and Desperation
Being alone does not just mean you are not in a relationship with someone; it often carries a lot of baggage along.
When people complain about being single, they are not just whining about the crushing loneliness at night; their viewpoint of being single is deeply connected with each individual self-image. What this means is that as a culture, we see romance, love, wedding ceremonies, and even kids as means to feel satisfied with ourselves. But if our fulfillment in life is closely tied to rituals and children, then you can probably imagine what happens to us when we don’t get to experience these things…
When someone spills their soul out about the pain of being single, they normally talk about the feelings of unattractiveness and being alone.
In society, single does not just mean single; it means painfully desperately lonely. And how many relationships are being formed due to desperation, with people who felt undesirable and simply wanted to stop feeling like they were nothing? Furthermore, how many despicable people do we date just because we think it’s better to put up with someone’s rotten soul than to be alone? The sheer terror of being alone can push us towards making terrible choices. So, the question we might want to ask ourselves is the following: do you prefer to be single or in a horrible, or mediocre relationship? The truth is, many people would act as if they prefer the former but would actually choose the latter.
The people around us make it extremely hard for us to choose the single life.
They make fun of us, they look at us with pity, and keep on asking us why we don’t try to find someone (after all, that’s what normal people do)… It seems as if to be worthy of being human, you need to be in a relationship or have a family. And if your child has found herself or himself in a codependent relationship out of desperation, you might want to blame yourself for making them feel like they weren’t good enough on their own own. Imagine being a sportsperson, and throughout your entire life, you’ve been told that that is your ultimate destiny. But even though you’ve pretty good, you never made it to become a professional. So what now? How do you live with yourself, knowing that you let down your parents, whose dreams you seemingly shattered?
Even though it might seem irrelevant, that example reveals what children whose parents constantly harass them about their choices in life are actually going through. True, most parents don’t expect their children to be Olympic gold winners, but they do expect them to get married by a certain age and, when you’re single, the disappointment you sense in them when you don’t meet that deadline can be crushingly painful. And when it comes to being single, your parents believe precisely what you do. Nobody wants their child to be unwanted, and nobody wants to have to explain to other people why their child is unwanted. Hence, they pressure you by telling you to try harder. They are as desperate as you are. And what is the whole point in that?
Most of our relationships are pretty bad, and your parents’ marriage is probably not perfect either.
The truth is, way too many marriages carry on due to fear of depression rather than true affection. And yet, we keep on living this way, because we fear how we might be seen by those around us if we chose another path. But the truth is, if you take away these fears and interpretations, you will be left with a state of being that resembles the way you felt when you were actually in love. It is well known that human beings aren’t great at predicting what will make us happy, and furthermore, we’re pretty bad at remembering how happy something made us exactly. So if and when our efforts are aimed at reaching some perfect state, we inevitably fail.
We waste so much time with such irrational beliefs. But think of what life could be like if you accepted that romantic love is great but single life isn’t so bad too. Imagine a state where life could be just as valuable even if you don’t follow society’s standards. And imagine being free from caring what others think of you. Romance and family are beautiful things, but that doesn’t mean that life can’t be beautiful without them.
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