When I was about 16 I was at family wedding where I was asked countless times if I ‘had a boyfriend yet’. Followed by the standard ‘Well there’s plenty of time’ reply when I advised I did not.
Mum asked if it bothered me that I didn’t have a boyfriend and said not to worry about it. I wasn’t worried. I didn’t want a boyfriend. However the fact it was being made a fuss of did awaken something in me. Should I be bothered that I don’t have a boyfriend?
When we were little we were fed the fairytale that if you are in peril a handsome prince would come and save you. Sweeping us off of our feet and carrying us off into the sunset to a world of marriage and babies.
Notice how the film always ends as the lovers get together? It doesn’t show how the relationship realistically unfolds after that. Trumping in bed, arguments, socks left on the floor, putting on relationship weight. And that’s just the princess…
Whether we like it or not, girls are still sold this ideal when they become adults. It is just packaged differently. It’s the relatives who tell you not to ‘leave it too late’, it’s one of the first questions asked at social gatherings, it is the narrative in most female targeted films. It is assumed that you must be lonely and unhappy if you are not romantically involved with someone. That you’re failing if you’re single, no matter how fulfilled your life is everywhere else.
Relationships don’t equate to happiness. Happiness starts with you. I feel it is important that every one be taught that to be happy you need to work on yourself first. Do the things you love more; go one lots of holidays, go for cocktails with the girls every week, go to festivals and gigs all through the summer, develop endless hobbies. Establish who you are as person and what you want to be. Fill your life with fun and adventure.
When a potential relationship comes along, you should automatically evaluate if it is going to add something even more special to your already spectacular life. Not improve it and make it more worthwhile, this mindset runs the risk of entering into an unhealthy relationship.
As Savannah grows, I will encourage her to do more things on her own before looking to be in relationship. If she meets someone in early adulthood and wants to be with them then of course I will be happy for her, but I will hope I have taught her that relationships are an enjoyable addition to many already enjoyable parts of your life. And that other aspects are just as important such as hobbies, friendships, education and travel to name a few.
I promise I’m not a cynic. I love love. I’m in a happy and healthy relationship and it’s the best. We both love spending time together but appreciate that sometimes the other will want to do their own thing. That comes in especially handy with me having Savannah. Matt totally understands she will always come first and makes as much of an effort with her as he does me.
When I met Matt I was happy. After my marriage ended I had dusted myself off and started afresh. I got a job, made new friends, I even suddenly had a social life again. Life was really good. Matt was happy in his life too and when we started dating we both knew instantly we were a positive addition to each others lives.
Everyone seems so obsessed with asking if people are dating that they forget to ask if people are happy. Surely that’s the most important question we can ask anyone. Are you happy?
Enjoy your life as it is now. Plan for the future, hope to meet ‘the one’ someday sure but enjoy your life as it is today. Nothing stays the same. Next time someone asks if you are seeing anyone, don’t feel bad when you say no, smile and say you are having too much fun on your own.