For the past month and a half, I have been occupied with the return to school and my relationship with my girlfriend. It has been a tremendously positive experience for the both of us, which I will write more in detail about in upcoming posts. Today, however, I wanted to address a canard that I heard when I was in my “chronically single” days. I kept hearing from others that it was far better to be single than to be in a relationship.
I have no doubt that there are some people who legitimately are better off being single, people who are asexual, aromantic and have no interest. But these weren’t the people I was talking to. They were people who I could infer as, for whatever reason, being unsatisfied with their current status. Perhaps they were in a toxic relationship, or perhaps they wanted to reduce their own discomfort about being single through rationalization.
But as someone who has spent a long time being single and who has seen a lot of lonely singles, I want to dispel this idea that “things are just better when you’re single”.
Is It Freedom or Stagnation?
My particular issue with this notion is the idea that being single “gives you more freedom”. The logic is that, without another human being that you need to be responsible for, you have more options available to you.
But in practice, human beings are creatures of habit, and it doesn’t take long for a rut to set in. My nights alone were spent with activities that were more about killing time than meaningful experiences. It was an alleviation of discomfort as opposed to the introduction of joy, and these two aren’t the same thing.
Above all else, I remember saying “This would be so much better if I had someone else to share this with.” While I was able to engage in solo activities, I found myself quickly bumping up against the limits of those activities.
When I started seeing my girlfriend, by contrast, I gained freedom. Now, I could go places that I previously wouldn’t consider because going to those places alone wasn’t going to be nearly as fun. Suddenly, walking around the park in Columbia, the National Aquarium in Baltimore, and returning to Final Fantasy XIV were all viable options.
All of this has been great in terms of our bonding, and we’re practically inseparable now.
That being said, I would not advise anyone to stay in an unhealthy relationship for this reason. After all, it only works if you genuinely enjoy being around your partner. But to me, I have noticed a marked improvement in not only the activities I want to do but the enjoyable of activities that previously felt like chores. Cooking at home is no longer a menial, but necessary task, but a wondrous discovery of new dishes and ingredients.
Sometimes things are better when you have someone else to share them with. Don’t see anything wrong with that. Especially since my girlfriend is an amazing human being who is always fun to be around. I’m looking forward to all of the great times we’re going to be sharing together!