John often feels that he is a third wheel within his friend group. Most of his friends are in committed relationships and he feels that he should be in a relationship too, however, he has yet to find his soul mate. He sometimes wonders if his expectations are too high and that he will remain single for the rest of his life.
Within John’s friend group, there is Jason. Jason is happily single. He enjoys the freedom of this lifestyle. Jason does not desire to be in a relationship, nor is he bothered by his single status. Jason feels comfortable with who he is and how he lives his life.
Our last few posts focused on the celebration of having a relationship where upon the authors discussed the joys of being in relationship and healthy sex. Those posts, though, should not underscore the fact that there are people who are content in being single and do not engage in sexual relationships. Being in a relationship is not be-all-end-all. Within many cultures, and even our Western Culture, there is the dominant belief that the goals for individuals is to find their soul mate, get married, have kids, and live happily ever after. This template does not fit the desire for all people, nor is it as simple as it made out to believe, should it be desired.
It is therefore important to also consider the relationship you have with yourself. How do you demonstrate self-love? Is it through self-compassion? What does the voice of the inner critique sound like? What does self-care looks like? How do you view your own self-worth? These are all areas to explore with yourself.
Some people idealize their friends whom are in committed relationships, and wonder why they are not in a relationship themselves. Others yet, enjoy having the flexibility of being single. Perhaps the focus should not be placed on the relationship status you hold but rather on your desires and sense of happiness in life. For some having that relationship is central for their personal identity. And for others, that idea of commitment is not as central. Ultimately, it is not about fulfilling a role that you perceive you must complete but rather identifying what is most important for yourself and being happy and fulfilled through the process.
Be gentle with yourself if you desire to be in a relationship but is still searching for the soul mate. Ask yourself, what do you hope to fulfill though being a relationship? Show self-compassion and find peace with the current status of being single if you are not able to fulfill the desire of finding a partner yet. Recognize that there are many forms of relationships and many ways to find happiness. If you do not yearn to be in a relationship, recognize that it is also a valid way to living. Do not feel pressured to be in one just because “society” says you should be in one. Being in a relationship may be portrayed as a form of blessing but it is not the end of the world if you are not in one, or do not feel the need to be in one. Love yourself the way you are.
Phillip is a Master’s of Counselling student with Athabasca University. He had previously volunteered with The Landing: A Safe Space for Sexual and Gender Diversity, as a Community Education Facilitator and co-facilitate the Queer/Trans Person of Color (Q/T POC) support group. He had also volunteered as a Camp Counsellor with Camp FYrefly. He enjoys working with youth and adults and how we can all bring forth personal and community resiliency.