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Exploding Relationship Myths


What does George Clooney have to do with your relationship status? And, how is this old fashioned thinking affecting your happiness??




By: Thea Easterby

I recently spotted this quote on the SheNOW Facebook page.

Not everyone who is single is lonely; not everyone who is taken is in love.

This quote debunks two relationship myths.

Sometimes we can be quick to assume a person lives a certain lifestyle due to their relationship status, yet when it comes down to it, no one really knows what goes on behind closed doors.

I remember growing up and observing friends of my parents. I thought they had a wonderful marriage. The husband and wife were loving and considerate to each other. They had three gorgeous children. Through my young and naïve eyes, I thought they were the perfect family.

It wasn’t till much later when I was a young adult, I found out the true story. It was horrific to say the least. During their divorce, stories of infidelity, violence and manipulation all came to the surface.

With the number of divorces and people having affairs, I think it’s safe to say that not all people in relationships (or married) are madly in love with their spouse.

It’s true that not all single people are lonely. Many are content and enjoying life. Some are single by choice.

It’s also accurate to say that there are a number of single people who are lonely. Many do want to meet someone and get married.

Society tends to vilify single women. Men seem to get off a bit easier; as it turns out, a lot easier if you are rich, handsome and in the media. No one feels sorry for George Clooney because he is not married. No one assumes George is moping around his Lake Como house listening to sad music and having a good cry. Women in the same situation however seem to be pitied. Just look at how many times the press wrote about Jennifer Aniston being a loser in love, before she met her current fiancée.

The interesting thing is when George tells people he isn’t focused on getting married they happily accept the fact, however when a woman says the same everyone cries out in disbelief.

We need to shake off the winner/loser mentality when it comes to relationships. The perception that the people who get married or are in relationships are the winners and the people who don’t have partners are the losers is simply narrow minded, old fashioned thinking.

The truth is marriage and for that matter having children do not automatically equal happiness. Being single doesn’t necessarily equate to unhappiness.

As it turns out marriage and children are not for everyone.

While romantic comedies may gross millions at the box office with their sweet and predictable happy endings, they don’t necessarily reflect what is going on in the world of dating and relationships. On screen everyone finds that special person. Even one of the much loved television shows, ‘Sex and the City’ tied up the six year series by pairing everyone off. While it was lovely and sentimental, it was also unrealistic. At least Samantha’s character embraced being single in the subsequent movie.

Pairing up is a little less predictable in real life.

I can’t help but wonder. How many people are in relationships simply because they think it’s the answer to loneliness? How many stay in bad relationships because they don’t want to be single? How many settle for a person who simply wants to be married (though not necessarily to them) so that they won’t be alone?

Perhaps the ultimate form of loneliness is being married to the wrong person.

Everyone needs love and compassion, but those experiences don’t only come from being married. To some, there is more love, compassion and happiness with their family and friends.

It’s time to stop being judgmental about whether someone is or isn’t in a relationship. It’s time to stop assuming we know what another person’s life is like or what their true desires are solely based on their relationship status.

 

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Thea Easterby

Freelance Writer
Thea is a freelance writer/blogger. Having resigned from her corporate job in February 2011, she is now working full time on her freelance writing business. Her blog www.writechangegrow.com offers inspiring tips on writing, career change and personal development. For more information, click here to read her About page.



Photo Credit: James White/Corbis Outline and People.com


6 comments on “Exploding Relationship Myths

  1. Petra

    Part of the problem is no one is willing to talk about is the fact good relationships take work and honesty. A lot of marriages are not bad, but just become boring or mundane because one or the other in the marriage expects the other one to “make them happy”, but without much work on their part. I don’t know how many women I’ve heard complain about their marriages to other women, but rarely talk to their husbands about it, expecting them to read their minds.

    • Thank you for you comment, Petra. We agree, that good relationships take work…no doubt there. The focus of this article, though, is more about how it is OKAY to want to be single. And that just because you are single/unmarried, it doesn’t mean your lonely. Being lonely and being single do not have to go hand in hand. Also, we want to break the stereotypes surrounding why society says it’s “okay” for a man to be a “bachelor” but a single woman is seen in a negative light and as a “spinster” or “old maid.” We are on your side that relationships are hard, but marriage is NOT the answer to happiness. And, if people expect that, they are in for a big surprise. Happiness comes not from men…but from within. Thanks for the comment!

  2. Ahhh! So well said! Yes, I know parents who would rather their child be married than single…EVEN IF IT MAKES THEM UNHAPPY! What???? There is just this assumption that marriage is a thing you do, or sign of success. WTF? That needs to change!

  3. A girl in my friend’s Poli Sci class a few years ago replied with “I want to be a trophy wife” to the question “What do you want to do when you graduate?” There’s a twitter account entitled “Ring by Spring” hosted by a private university in my hometown. I have seen a lot of friends get married for the excitement of having a wedding and a honeymoon. It’s seen as such a big milestone for women with everyone saying “Today is all about the bride.” I have never understood that. Isn’t there another person involved in a marriage? Doesn’t that require two people? My sister used to say that if I still hadn’t found someone by the time I’m 25 then she was going to subscribe me to an online dating network. What if I don’t want to be married til I’m 30? I have never been sold on the idea, although I do love the idea of being a super adorable elderly couple. Some “traditions” are in need of modernization. A lot of women do better when they’re single and only feel the longing to have a significant other because their friends are setting them up on blind dates. Stop with the peer pressure!

  4. Sad but true. The sad thing is that our own society has created this “stereotype”. Being married myself, people expect to see me happy ALL the time. People often think that I have everything “together” and shouldn’t need/yearn for anything. After all, I am married right? SO unfair. I need the same empathy as the single girl next door! A relationship alone does not complete a person.

  5. Deborah Smith

    I have been on my own, and not dating, since 1990. I’m not ugly. Nor am I unintelligent. I have been asked out but have chosen not to date. This is a personal choice with which I am happy. I am not lonely. Actually, my life is so busy that I am grateful that I am not. I have a large family I enjoy spending time with, church activities for spiritual and social needs, I volunteer on boards, and hobbies enough that keep me busy. I don’t see a need to be married to “complete” me. More power to the other women out there who can feel and do the same.

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