It was only recently that I went on a massive rampage about family and friends having nothing better to ask me than whether I’ve partaken in any romantic relationships, and now the issue has been brought to my attention once again.
On more than one occasion I’ve heard someone say “I’ve been single for XX weeks/months/years” as if being single is a punishment and you have to count down your sentence. As a society, we seem to put a huge amount of weight behind being in a romantic relationship, as if this is the goal of all humans and those that have yet to reach that goal, should be pitied, but what is this actually doing to our self-worth?
Why do we value our worth by romantic relationships?
Let me preface what I’m about to say with this, I have never been in a relationship of any kind… not ever. Not by choice I may add, it just never happened and continues to not happen, but a lot of my feelings of loneliness and low-self worth comes from the fact that I am constantly asked about my love life. And when I tell those people that I am not dating, nor am I attempting to by using apps like Tinder or Bumble (I have been on both but never wanted to actually meet the people I spoke to) I am usually met with “Don’t worry, you’ll find someone”. Who said I was on the search?
There is so much more to life, like seeing the world, building a career, achieving amazing things whether it’s in business, with your mind and body or ticking off your bucket list. However, all people ever want to know about is whether you are looking for another human to attach yourself to. The consensus is that you aren’t complete without a boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife to share everything with.
Even though we live in a modern world, the idea that our life goal should be to get married and have babies is the number one priority. The thing is, this mentality can actually be extremely damaging.
What effect can this have on our mental health?
As I said previously, a lot of my feelings of loneliness or not feeling good enough stems from the fact that I can’t shake the feeling that I should be trying harder. That I should be actively looking for a boyfriend/girlfriend and the fact that I’m not on the hunt, means that it will never happen.
It’s not even just in my head, I’ve been told that I’m not trying hard enough to be in a relationship and that I’m too picky, or too lazy or don’t get out enough. Having all of that constantly running around my head just makes the times when I am sat indoors on a Friday night on my own, whilst my friends enjoy date nights, seem that much lonelier.
My issue with all of this though, is that people look over the amazing things you’ve done or the goals and dreams you have for the future. If you say you want to travel, it’s “oh you might meet someone travelling” if you get a new job, “is there no one at work you fancy?” if you take up a new hobby “well you might bump into someone with similar interests”. Why does a romantic relationship have to be the centre of everything? Why does it have to be the goal to live by?
How can we stop making romantic relationships define our worth?
Simple. Stop asking about it. If someone is in a new relationship and wants to talk about it, let them run free with their newfound happiness. However, a topic of conversation doesn’t always have to revolve around relationships. Find out what they’ve been up to, where they’ve been, ask them what their hopes and dreams are and acknowledge their achievements.
I’m not saying not asking about romance is the solution to loneliness, but by toning down how much weight we put behind it and focusing on other areas of life, we might just be able to help those who are sensitive to loneliness, to take their mind away from that particular problem and help them focus on what they have, rather than what they don’t have.
What do you think about people constantly getting involved with each other’s love lives? Do you think we should make romance an important part of how we value ourselves or do you think something needs to change? Tweet @bodywitmind or comment below!
Sponsor me on my Great Wall of China Trek in aid of The Mental Health Foundation!