What's the rush in getting into a serious relationship?

Why are so many people so eager to find a couple, or a “significant other”?

More often I see people getting all depressed for being “alone” or for not finding the right person.

I have objections to this idea because I think that there are many other reasons to live and be happy than finding another person to be in a long relationship with.

Sure having friends is a good and healthy thing, even necessary. But I’m not so sure this is the case with finding a couple.

Living by yourself has so many benefits as well. More freedom, less arguments and more time for yourself.

I can understand that getting married and having kids can provide a purpose and a motivation to keep on going on a day to day basis. It is in our genetic drive to procreate and take such path. I also think society has a part in creating an image of what something “ideal” should be.

But learning for the sake of finding out more before one dies, enjoying moments of comitment-free pleasures and not having to give much attention to another person is not all that bad.

I do think that in many ways, living alone should be as much a normal option as being with a another person.

Of course, this is not to argue that being with another person for a while is a bad thing, on the contrary another person can help you improve as a person, provide warmth and comfort and a sense of security. But it is a little over-blown, IMHO.

What’s your perspective on the importance of relationships?

-Socialization, both as a vehicle for it and as evidence of it.
-A confirmation of adulthood - or at least of one’s ability to play the game.
-Some assurance, however temporary, that you are not one of society’s mistakes; that you belong in the world.
-Hawt monkey luvin’ with no icky aftertastes.

This basic assumption is flawed. being in a relationship does not preclude the idea of freedom. It also does not automatically follow that there will be more arguments. Finally you value alone time more than another person might.

Basically it comes down to: a lot of people do not agree with you on a very basic level hence their desires seem irrational to you just as yours do to them.

So, wait, married/committed people don’t enjoy learning? :dubious: That’s a new one.

I’m not sure what “commitment-free pleasures” might be, and I’m almost afraid to ask. Most committed people IME do have personal interests that don’t involve their partners.

You’re in luck! It just about is these days! There are many, many more single adults living alone than ever before. People are getting married later–or never–and while the divorce rate has gone down a bit in the past few years, it’s still much higher than it was 40 years ago.

(Of course, the environmental impact of so many people living alone, each consuming resources instead of sharing, is kind of unfortunate. It would be nice if more single adults shared living space, from that perspective. Naturally I understand the pleasures of living completely alone and the problems with roommates, I’m just sayin’.)

Frustrated Wonderer, I’ve got to say I agree with you on almost all counts. I decided a while ago that, while having relationships can be really great and make your life brighter, I will not base my happiness, satisfaction, or self-worth on whether or not I’ve got a boyfriend/husband.

Many, many people (one of my very best friends included) feel unfulfilled and desperately sad because they don’t have anyone. So they get into and stay in relationships where they are treated like shit or where they aren’t happy. My mind honestly boggles at the thought process; you’re going to stay in a situation that makes you unhappy because you’re afraid of…being unhappy? Wha?

There is so much more to life than being in a relationship. You have no idea what kind of a person you are, what kind of worlds are locked beneath your surface, until you forget your fears, live your life, and find your happiness. And NO, it does not have to include someone else. It very well could. But it doesn’t have to.

What I’m trying to say is, no one should be afraid to be alone. The only thing you have to fear is looking back at the end of your life and realizing you wasted it or let it pass you by because the most important thing in your mind was finding someone so you wouldn’t be so lonely.

Do not expect the next girl or guy you like to “fix you”. To take away your unhappiness, your dissatisfaction, your regrets and pain. No one, no one can do that but you.

I absolutely agree that people ought to be capable of living alone: I think dependence is a poison in a relationship, and I think that when people can’t be alone they have to select their partner from the very small pool of single people they happen to know right that minute, and that a smaller pool leads to making a poorer match.

That said, I am the marrying kind, and if I were every to be (god forbid) widowed, I suspect I’d look to remarry in the fullness of time (though I also suspect there’d be years of mourning to work through before I’d be ready). I like being in a couple. I like having someone who always has my back–not that we don’t disagree, but underneath the day-to-day stuff (and the philosophical arguments), I know we are loyal to each other, respecting each other’s feeling and needs before anyone else’s. I am a better member of society because I am married because I can go out and be stoic and self-sacrificing and kind and generous because I can come home and fall apart. For periods of time, I can get pulled up into a project and let everything else in my life --chores, mainly–go, without guilt or lack of functionality, because my husband will pick up the slack–as I will do for him when his life gets complicated.

Now, I do think I have a good marriage, and I work with people who seem to complain endlessly about their spouses, and I admit I sometimes think “how is this helping anyone?” But for me, a strong marriage is only liberating. I really don’t feel like I’ve given up anything.

I also think the issue is different for women. If you want to have children, the window is much smaller than it is for men. Assuming that you want a relationship to be 3 or 4 years old before you procreate (from first date to conception, I think that’s pretty normal, where ever the moving in and marriage come in the middle), you have to have started by your mid to late twenties at the latest. That doesn’t give you a lot of time, especially if you really don’t start looking until after college, and you have to budget for a false start or two. I don’t know how old you are, but if you are in your mid to late twenties and have noticed a growing sense of urgency among women of your peer group, this is often part of the reason.

I used to feel this way. For me, it was the result of having been in two back to back long term relationships. When the second one ended, I just couldn’t stand the thought of having to go back and start over. I didn’t want to go through all the superficial dating stuff, I just wanted a serious girlfriend again. As a result, I tended to rush things in all my relationships, eager to get back to where I was before.

It made me miserable. I eventually just decided to ban myself from relationships for awhile until I got comfortable being alone. As it turned out, I found I was pretty happy without a relationship, and I haven’t been in a hurry to get into a serious one since.

"Oh Yes

there are worse things than
being alone
… "

by Charles Bukowski

I am trying to keep within copyright here but it’s a very short poem, and I didn’t precisely count what percentage of it I had quoted, so tried to be careful with that, and here is link to it. Oh Yes by Charles Bukowski - Oh Yes Poem

Now I DO think that Dangermon’s tongue was firmly in her cheek there, but, should anyone else turn up to agree with this, then I think I would like some proof. I’m pretty sure this single-living Celyn consumes less than married couples I know, with their gardens and cars and their holidays in Italy and the South of France AND their children, and the toys and whathaveyou for the said children …

On a per capita basis, given the way standing charges for utilities work, it costs me more for electricity, council tax *etc. *than it would were I to live as part of a couple. I have, therefore, a pretty good and serious personal incentive to minimise my use of same.

Certainly I have spent many years living with flatmates (room-mates). Who has not, while at university and for years after that? Some advantages, some disadvantages. And years in relationships where I could have moved in with my man, but it was I who preferred not to. The main thing here is that it is simply not on to want all single adults to go and “share living space”, just as it is not on to want that it be more practical for all couples to share living space. Same thing, really, isn’t it? Heavens, now , why not communal dormitories for adults, (where those in couples could make arrangements for intimate relations as could singles), communal dormitories for children … And so on.

All righty, I did say, remember, that I do not think Dangermom was serious there :slight_smile: but, should anyone come along actually telling all single adults to go and live in a communal house like 17 year old students, I’m just getting my retaliation in first. :slight_smile: (Some politician had an even nastier scarier phrase for it than that, but not sure I recall who it was right now. :slight_smile: )

My parents divorced and remarried when I was very young. The new relationships they entered into had problems of their own. I won’t get into them, but they highlighted for me how fragile such relationships were. It made me become a very solitary, independent person.

That became harder once I got into my 20s and all the friends I had grown up with entered into relationships and completely changed their personalities and priorities. I guess that’s what bothers me about the “relationship seeking”, my perception that for many people it involves compromising their personalities. I had a steady girlfriend through half of college just like my friends did, yet I felt like I stayed largely the same person and they all changed, in most cases for the worse.

The people who do this, I do sometimes find them rather worrying. It’s all right for people to think “ooh, it would be rather nice to meet the man/woman of my dreams and all happily ever after” but it is a bit odd to me, when people worry that they MUST be “partnered” so as to belong in society, if you see what I mean. We are not living in romantic fiction land, after all. I find it most scary when you see young-ish people - early or mid twenties, perhaps, who seem to have a sort of “timeline” for this. As in, they must be married or settled with a partner by a certain age because that is part of the pattern. I suppose that is fine for those people, but if you think otherwise, then you certainly do not want to be caught into being part of their “plan”. Particularly because they may not be taking on board the fact that person A and chosen person B might change a bit after a few years if both are only in their twenties when they get “hitched”. (And, yes, I am just picking on that age group but it does happen in thirties *etc *too

I can understand it a bit more in the case of slightly older people who have been used to being a part of a couple, and after a death or divorce, and some recovery time, wish to find another to get back to the partnership life they were used to. Such people might have a more realistic idea of what they mean than some younger ones.

Disadvantage here, to be fair, is that yes, you will often be left out if several of your friends suddenly decide there is no room for a single person.

Hmm, a genetic drive to have sex, yeah. We don’t all feel that we’re so important that the world really needs us to replicate. Think of how many people you might know - young marrieds, for example - who get bored entirely when two sets of parents immediately start nagging about “we want grandchildren. And we want them NOW!”. :slight_smile:

I think that is STILL a lot of it, despite pretty good contraceptive choices.

But entering into a partnership with another person IS possible and living alone IS possible. Both of these things are entirely possible. As are other arrangements. Just don’t let anyone nag you into an arrangement that is not right for you at the time. :slight_smile:

And each one has its own difficulties and that is that. Thus endeth the gospel of Celyn. :smiley:

I was absolutely happy being alone. I am self-sufficient and I have lots of friends to keep me from being lonely so there wasn’t a reason to have a man in my life except the fact that I wanted to find someone I connect with on a deeper level.

Now that I have a boyfriend I am absolutely happy being in a relationship and, though there is more work involved than being single, there are lots of benefits you get having an SO that you don’t have when you are alone. Feeling his body curved into mine when I wake up in the morning and knowing that there is someone who thinks of me when I’m not around really fill me with squee, you know? Also this:

If he left tomorrow I would take some time to really mourn the loss of someone who makes me incredibly happy. Then I would move on and go back to being a happy, self-sufficient single person again. I don’t attach my happiness to my relationship status and I refuse to live my life for a man or live my life for being alone. People who feel like they can’t be happy without someone or that they can’t be happy with someone both fall too far on the extreme sides of the scale for me.

That’s my problem. I want to find someone in order to be able to finally understand that I am not fundamentally unattractive and worthless. I’m aware that it’s a terrible reason, but I’ve always had trouble accepting myself as I am, despite my efforts. I know I’m not ready for a partner right now; I have to learn to be happy alone before. But it doesn’t stop the anxiety of feeling I have to find someone right now.

Hang in there, hon. I honestly admire you for realizing that you are responsible for your own happiness. If you ever need a shoulder to cry on or an ear (or 20) to listen, you know where to find 'em.

Today’s Onion provides further prescient satire on this topic:

Well, some people, surprisingly, actualy want to get married and raise a family. For women, as a generaly rule, it’s better to do this earlier than latter.
How old is the OP?

When I was a male in my 20s (I’m still male…just older), I was relatively happy living alone. As long as I have a group of friends to hang out with on the weekends and got laid every now and then, I was fine. Quite frankly I never understood people who were in a rush to get into a serious relationship at that age.

As you get older though, people do get married and become unavailable. It’s one thing living alone. It’s quite another going through the rest of your life alone.

Or not necessarily settled, but “pairing”, at least temporarilly, as in seeking to always have a date. In that case at least they acknowledge that you are trying to fit…:stuck_out_tongue:

Trying to belittle my post because I’m a kid. I see. :stuck_out_tongue:


You do have a valid point, and certainly my opinon is subject to change due to expirience, it’s just a general observation for people of all ages, even young adults.

There is this sudden urge to find a girlfriend/ boyfriend that is a little silly, I think.

If you have enough interests, you’ll be able to be by yourself better than someone that lacks them. It’s no guarantee that you won’t feel lonely, but it sure does help.

Eh, thanks. Actually these days I’m feeling a bit down because (I’ll make it short not to hijack the thread too much) I had a conflict with my ex-girlfriend which I believe has ended our friendship. We’d been very good friends since we broke up and I moved here more than a year and a half ago, but recently she made new friends, and now she has a new boyfriend, and I believe all these people took the place I was occupying in her heart. Then a few weeks ago we had a fight (which I will agree is in part my fault) and I think she’s used it as an excuse to break contact with me. I guess I’ll see in the next few weeks. So I don’t feel all that lovable and attractive right now.

On the other hand, since then I’ve met a woman who actually seems interested in me (not that I’m very good at reading signs). Trouble is I don’t find her very attractive, but the situation makes me feel good nevertheless.

One possibility is that everyone’s been single, and everyone knows what it’s like. However, most people wouldn’t feel that having been in one relationship, you know what they’re all like - and thus, if you feel something’s been missing when you’ve been single, and something’s been missing when you’ve been in a relationship… then there might not be hope for you in being single, but there’s always hope in you being in a relationship, because it’ll be a different relationship to the others. That is to say, perhaps people want to get into a relationship because they see it as an opportunity to re-roll the happiness dice. I don’t know, that thought seemed more coherent when it was in my head rather than typed out.

I should point out that I’m in no way anti-relationship, but I think this might be one of the (bad) reasons that people are eager to get into them.

I don’t think it’s an issue of not having anything to do. I think it’s more not having anyone who gives a shit about what you do or to do anything with.

No one wants to become that crazy cat lady or the balding 50 year old dude at the club still trying to pick up the 22 year olds.