I feel like we put so much attention and fascination into fairy tale stories of love. I want little girls and boys to grow up believing in love, in fairy tales, in happily ever after – but I want them to believe in themselves first. Most importantly, I want them to be able to be ALONE and embrace the time with themselves before pushing into a relationship.
There are some people who believe that less than 25% of marriages are actually happy. Some researchers and authors believe the number is 17% or lower.
Well, that’s just depressing. I’m not sure I truly believe that, but I’m curious why it could even be perceived to be that low. Is it our expectations of fairy tale romances? Is it our inability to change with our partners? Is it other factors that include human beings making mistakes, losing faith, breaking trust? Is it our lack of communication? Is it a lack of balance and respect? Is it a lack of time and attention? Sometimes, I really wonder if sometimes it’s our desire to be “in a relationship” rather than be alone?
There are definite stumbling blocks that are faced by many, many married couples. We all know that it’s not super easy to stay happy forever, or to survive the rough waters.
Fact: Due to jobs, kids, TV, the Internet, hobbies, and home and family responsibilities, the average married couple spends just four minutes a day alone together.” – Random Facts About Marriage
We still want to believe in fairy tale love. The stories of sweet romances, beautiful weddings and long-lasting love still continue to grip and engage all of us, especially those under the age of 20. And the status of being “in a relationship” is SOOOO important.
I’m not a researcher, a therapist or an expert about relationships in any way, shape or form. But I’m curious about this topic as it seems to be a big theme lately among my friends.
In your adult life, it seems like you go through certain cycles with your friends.
Mid-20s, you attend countless weddings for several summers in a row
Late 20s – early 30s, you attend baby showers and baptisms
Mid 30s – early 40s, you watch many friends go through divorces
Mid 40s, you attend more weddings that are backyard BBQ second weddings – and sometimes those are so much more fun than first weddings!
I’m in that band of time where divorces are high among friends and contemporaries. I’m also in the presence of a few late teens – early twenty-somethings with family, friends and co-workers and I’ve become very keen listening and watching their relationship ups and downs. Sometimes I get approached for advice (why? I’m not sure). Sometimes I’m just supposed to listen to the drama. Most of the time, it’s for me to listen and not say anything in the form of opinion or advice.
However, the question that comes up in these discussions 99% of the time for me is my desire to ask:
“Why do you want to be in a relationship so badly? Why is it more important for you to force a square peg in a round hole to be together with a person rather than just being alone?”
First of all, I do believe in love. I believe in forever love, in long-term, happy and healthy relationships (which sometimes need adjustments here and there to remain happy and healthy). But I just wish we (meaning human beings) didn’t put so much of our energy, mind and soul into finding that love outside of ourselves.
Through my own teens and twenties, I remember so many of my girlfriends dreaming of love stories like the romantic movies. I had roommates in college that would buy bridal magazines years before they had a serious relationship just to fantasize about their own fairy tale wedding.
Love yourself first. This post is an outstanding reminder of what being alone can provide.
Of course. Everyone says you need to love yourself before you can truly love someone else. We hear it and roll our eyes at it. But I’ve found it to be the truest words ever spoken. I grew up with an emphasis on self. I never felt that I needed to be with someone, I would choose to be alone rather than with someone else in many situations.
I think we need to remind ourselves and our kids that being alone with yourself is not a negative thing.
Embracing being alone and content is actually an amazing thing. I hope that my children will find amazing, healthy, happy, fairy-tale-like love someday. But I hope that they find it by being at peace with who they are, loving their own time and independence, caring less about relationship status and more about connection.
And maybe we can teach our children what we’ve learned about working on relationships so that they can find the balance they need for long, happy, healthy marriages – like they’ll listen to us about relationships anyway, right?
Coming together is easy; keeping together is progress; working together is success. – Henry Ford