Recently, I have been thinking about the way we, as humans, view relationships. In the average human’s mind, being in a relationship and being in love is seen as ultimate happiness; the highest achievable goal and accomplishment possible. In our minds, we view people in relationships to be on another level of happiness, and those who are single are seen as sadder or more lonely than those in love. This is a bit of a generalization, but seeing this thought process got me to thinking: as humans, do we view being in a relationship/in love as the ultimate happiness and something we should strive for because society tells us we should, or do we view it as such because as human beings, we are programmed to feel our happiest and function best in a relationship?
I have been asking my friends and family this question quite recently, and almost everyone says it is a mixture, but tends to lean one way or the other. This is quite impossible to know for certain, but I also think that it is a mixture of both, but lean more towards society. Thinking of just the friendships I have in my life now, I know that they make me happier than I would be if I did not have these relationships in my life. Humans do thrive by being around others. This leads me to believe that we do need some sort of companionship, whether it be romantic or not. Being alone without human contact for a week would make me sad, so I personally find happiness in my relationships with the people in my life. Consequently, if I had continual human contact for a week without alone time, that would also make me sad. Overall, though, I think that any sort of human relationship brings us happiness, and it does not have to be a romantic one.
On the other hand, society stresses so much what being in a relationship is like that it slightly skews what the source of being happy can be. One of my friends pointed out that on sitcoms or in movies, the people who are in relationships are often presented with their lives in check and seem happy, while single people are often presented as unsure of their futures and scatter brained or sad. This makes the viewer think they need to be in a relationship to be happy. Assuming you will get married and have children is another societal implication. Growing up, almost every person you are around casually speaks about what they’ll do when they’re married, or when they have kids. We truly have no right to assume that. Who knows if we will all get married some day? Even if you do get married, who knows if you will have children? We so quickly assume that this will be our future because that is what everyone else does. It is what society teaches us to be the norm, and the way to being a happy American family. This does make me wonder: if we did not feel pressure to get married, would we naturally gravitate towards that anyhow?
There is no way to know for certain if you will or will not get married, or if the longing for that is societal or not, but that should not dictate your happiness.