For my next Happy in Between feature (showing you don't have to choose a side or a stereotype), I want to focus on the pressures that exist to be in a relationship and the derision that is given to those that are single.
Many women know this truth very well, as it is more true for them in our society. They start growing older and get to their 20s and start to feel more and more pressure to be in a relationship. It's not just the "baby factory" pressure of having children from relatives and peers, while their body is still more capable of doing it. It's also the fact that past a certain point BOTH sexes face different types of condemnation for being single. This is a truth that is noted in such series as Downton Abbey with their daughters in times past, but it is still true, today. A woman that is still single in her 30s is deemed either incapable of having romance or is seen as an oddity. A man that is still single in his 30s is seen as either a loser or is incapable of settling down.
So, they make the best of it and pick someone...anyone that seems like they might fit the bill. Then, over time, they might realize the person is not just a bad match for their love languages but is actually a toxic environment to their mental health or worse. So, they leave out of love for themselves, or they find themselves on the receiving end of that leaving. All over again, they are.... broken... incomplete... odd.
This leads to the cycle beginning again, and there is a MASSIVE online dating industry built on this false premise... that you must be with someone to be complete or good enough for society. Every date is an opportunity for "happiness" and every failure leads the participant further down the depression hole of feeling not good enough. Instead of helping the person leaving a relationship for feeling unloved and inadequate, they collect money from the participants to KEEP them feeling unloved and inadequate.
Meanwhile.... the truth is they were never inadequate for being themselves, and they had the ability to love THEMSELVES, every day. The truth is that they were spending a lot of money and time trying to find someone that saw their value and feeding a desperate low self esteem of changing themselves and lowering their standards to try to be good enough for SOMEONE and thus... igniting the cycle of self destruction; rather than using that time and money to enhance themselves and enjoy themselves... FOR THEMSELVES. You can't fill someone else's cup, if you have emptied yourself.
So, don't feel bad being single. Every year women's magazines note the acronym SAD for singles awareness day, and society WANTS you to feel you NEED romance of someone else to feel good about yourselves. However, that is only true if we BELIEVE the false narrative. Someone that chooses NOT to believe it can feel good about themselves WITHOUT someone else noticing or validating the truth, and that is an independence we ALL could use.