lives alone and manifests no longing to be in a relationship is – in
our times – almost automatically (though more or less secretly) viewed
as both pitiable and deeply troubled. It’s simply not thought possible
to be at once alone and normal.
us up for collective catastrophe, for it means that a huge number of
people who have no innate wish to live with anyone else, and are at
heart deeply ill-suited to doing so, are every year press-ganged and
shamed into conjugal life, with disastrous results for all involved.
single that one regularly rehearses the very many good reasons why it’s
OK to spend one’s life without anyone. Only once singlehood has
completely equal prestige with its alternative can we ensure that people
will be free in their choices and hence join couples for the right
reasons; because they love another person, rather than because they are
terrified of remaining single
start, we should recognize that the idea of being deeply in love with
one special partner over a whole lifetime, what we can call Romantic
love, is a very new, ambitious and odd concept, which is at best 250
years old. Before then, people lived together of course but without
any very high expectations of being blissfully content doing so. It was a
purely practical arrangement, entered into for the sake of survival and
the children. We should recognize the sheer historical strangeness of
the idea of happy coupledom. A good Romantic marriage is evidently
theoretically possible, but it may also be extremely unlikely, something
only some 5 or 10 per cent of us can ever properly succeed at – which
should make any failure feel a good deal less shameful. As a society,
we’ve made something normal that’s in fact a profound anomaly. It is as
though we’d set up high altitude tight rope walking as a popular sport.
No wonder most of us fall off – and might not want to, or be able to,
face getting back on.
we may be among the very most Romantic of all, which is precisely why
we find the possibilities open to us especially unappetizing. It’s in
the end the fervent Romantics who should be especially careful of ending
up in mediocre relationships: relationships best suit the kind of
people who don’t expect too much from them.
Though it is a sign of some maturity to know how to love and live
alongside someone, it may be a sign of even greater maturity to
recognize that this is something one isn’t in the end psychologically
really capable of – as a good portion of us simply aren’t. Retiring
oneself voluntarily, in order to save others (and oneself) from the
consequences of one’s inner emotional turmoil may be the true sign of a
great and kindly soul.
live with them – because it is almost impossible to cohabit and not
eventually succumb to a degree of scratchy familiarity, contempt and
ingratitude. The properly respectful response to love may be to admire, praise, nurture – and then walk away.
one is there to hold a mirror up – record your antics and constantly
make you accountable for them. If you’re lucky, you will be able to
tolerate and even like yourself.
isn’t to say that being alone is without problems. There are of course
drawbacks to both states, being single and being in a couple: loneliness
in the one; suffocation, anger and frustration in the other. The truth
is, we’re simply not terribly good at being happy whatever state we are
in. We will probably be a bit miserable rather often whatever our
relationship status – which is ultimately an argument for neither
rushing too fast into a couple, nor rushing too fast out of one.
Source: Huffington Post