What is it that drives us to believe that we are not complete unless we have a companion with whom to share all of life’s ups and downs? Are we conditioned to believe that we are somehow a failure, not worthy of someone’s love, or cannot be happy if we end up alone, or is it really just human nature that we seek out a mate? I think it is both. Most of us grow up looking forward to having a family of our own and are filled with hormones pushing us to find a mate and reproduce. Falling in love just plain old feels good because of the endorphins that are released in our bodies when we are going through that process. But then there are the societal pressures and expectations that we should want to find a partner as well. If we end up alone, there must be something wrong with us. Who would want to be alone all their life?
We all have different reasons for seeking a mate that we may not realize are part of the equation, including that it is expected of us. Some people want or need someone to take care of them like mom and/or dad did, some people like to nurture others, parenting is usually easier with two parents, there are financial benefits, and so on. But I think the most prevalent reasons would be that we want to love and be loved. We need to know and feel that we were chosen above all others by our partner and that there is someone who will be there for us no matter what circumstances, who will listen to us, celebrate the good times with us, and help lift us up when things are not going so well.
That’s a wonderful thing for those who can find a companion who is a good match for them and can do all of those things. For the rest of us, having a companion seems like more of a hassle and not worth the effort and stress. Some people upon reaching this conclusion go their separate ways while others don’t, and I think it is safe to say that one of the driving factors for that is that staying together in an unhappy, unfulfilling relationship that is causing a lot of stress and tension is somehow better than being alone. It is the lesser of two evils. Why is that? Why are some people willing to put up with so many negative behaviors all to avoid being alone? For some of us, there are logistical reasons such as finances, not wanting to give up time with the kids, and not wanting to be a single parent. But for many people, these obstacles are not as difficult to overcome, and it is simply a matter of not wanting to be alone. It is difficult to admit that you failed at something, but perhaps the stigma of being alone is just too strong.
Finding the right companion is not always easy, and maintaining that companionship is even harder. But letting go of a failed relationship might be the most difficult for some. It is easier to pretend that things are still good than to explain why they aren’t and then have to face the possibility of being alone. Once someone else comes along with whom you may see a future and the possibility of being alone seems a lot less likely, then things change. I’ve seen it over and over again all around me, and I have to admit I understand exactly how they all feel.
In a way, it’s too bad there is such a negative stigma about being alone and such a strong need within us to have a companion. But then again, life wouldn’t be nearly as interesting or challenging without the quest to find the “perfect” mate, and there is nothing that quite compares to that feeling when we think that has been accomplished, at least for a while.
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