A trip to Brighton Dome to see the very funny Sara Pascoe last night, got me thinking about relationship expectations and how we’re all quick to adhere to these. She spoke about men buying women meals on first dates, women in comedy and the topic which sparked this post idea; the expectation of being happier in a relationship than single.
This post isn’t a jibe towards my lovely boyfriend who makes me very happy to be in a relationship but purely some musings on our attitudes towards relationships and being single.
We automatically assume that if one of our friends isn’t in a relationship that they must be deeply unhappy with their lives. This isn’t always the case and a bit of a generalisation but there is an assumption that everyone would rather be in a relationship than alone. Just the word ‘alone’ comes with such negative connotations. ‘On your own’ is even worse. There is nothing wrong with being single and choosing to spend your days as one person.
I can’t think of anything better than doing whatever the hell I wanted without someone else there fed up and bored out of their mind. We don’t need someone else there to ‘complete’ us. We are more than enough ourselves. Women don’t need men to make them happy. I’m not claiming that we don’t need relationships because we really do. We’re a sociable species who thrive off of human contact.
My relationship makes me happy and without it, I’ll admit, I would feel quite lost. This is where my point lies. Happiness shouldn’t lie just within your relationship. Happiness can be found in so many places from the sun shining on your face on a Summer’s day, your pet greeting you when you come in from work, the support of friends and family or having a satisfying job.
We place a lot of value on the relationships in our life. We moan about men, we compare them to others, we try to shape them into who we think they should be, we stay in relationships that make us unhappy just so we’re not alone…the list goes on.
Don’t rely on your other half to make you happy. They should make you feel happy to be in that relationship but if all your happiness stems from that person and you go through a rough patch, it will be much more difficult to work through it.
A simple way that I like to find happiness outside of my relationship is to be ambitious. I will write down what I want to achieve most in my life. To write a book, to volunteer for a charity, to make money from my blog or to own a camper van. These are things that I don’t need someone else for. They’re goals that I can work towards and take pride in knowing that I achieved. Other people could be involved in the process of achieving these goals, but essentially I’d like them to be mine; things that I made happen that made me happy. (Bit of a mouthful that.)
Reading is another thing that makes me happy. I’ve found that men generally aren’t as enthused about reading as women and this is a great shame as they’re definitely missing a trick! A good book will take you to another world and I can spend hours engrossed in the pages of the latest Jo Nesbo thriller or Jodi Picoult drama.
When we ask someone if they’re in a relationship and they say yes, we are pleased and almost reward them for finding someone to share their life with. If this person replies no, it’s like it’s a shame they haven’t found anyone and we reassure them that ‘they’ll find someone soon’ or ask them if they’re looking for love. How judgemental is that? We all do it though. I do too. Relationships aren’t personal anymore, they’re everyone’s business. I’m blaming social media for this and our need to show off with our ‘boy did good’ posts.
This is turning into a cynical rant but to round up, Sara Pascoe’s comedy set made me think about how we approach relationships. I don’t want to have to rely on someone else for my happiness. Life is about going out and getting what you want, working hard and being proud of your achievements.
So here’s to all women on #InternationalWomensDay. You don’t need a man to make you happy. Enjoy your relationship and your life outside of it. Go get ’em.