Single. Taken. It’s complicated. Which label do you fit under? And do you know why you’re there? Being in two serious relationships over the course of seven years, stepping out into the single world almost felt like a curse. What did I do? Why am I back here? But it’s funny how you change. When you look at yourself and realize you ended up here for a reason, and that really, it’s OKAY.
Society has turned being single into a tragedy. If you aren’t getting married and popping out babies, people wonder what is wrong with you. And sooner or later, you start to wonder yourself. A friend recently told me, everyone is single because people are too selfish. Is this true? Am I too selfish? I started to wonder, what is the line between expectation and settling? Do our expectations make us selfish? But if we lower them, aren’t we settling? And what happens when someone meets your expectations, but as the relationship progresses, their behaviors you fell in love with fade? Are you selfish for wanting more?
Understanding what you want and what you expect out of a relationship does not make you selfish. But you have to be willing to accept that one other person may not be able to fulfill your EVERY relationship need. We aren’t saints, after all. But you are NOT selfish for expecting fundamental relationship needs out of your partner. These needs might be different than someone else’s, but no matter what relationship, both partners have to be willing to do two things: prioritize and communicate.
1. Prioritize your partner.
Yes, it is sometimes difficult to do this among all the other things going on in life. Friends, work, family, hobbies. But if you truly love this person, should these other things really even matter? If putting your partner before these other factors of life feels like more of a chore than a joy to you, it might be time to question why you’re in this relationship. People need to feel wanted and loved ALL the time, not just some of the time. It’s a two-way street. If you are giving this person love but you’re not feeling it in return, or vice versa, how can the relationship succeed? Are you doing everything you can to make your partner feel special, to feel important? Are you taking time to make sure that their interests and hobbies are fulfilled as much as yours? Do you spend equal time between your friends and family as theirs? Sure, it might seem unrealistic to make this person your “all,” but being selfless is a means to satisfaction. If both people are in it to make the other happy, shouldn’t you both be getting what you want?
If, for any reason, your partner is not fulfilling your needs by making you their priority, TALK TO THEM. We live in an era where communication has faded. Texting, emailing, and other forms of technology have shoved face-to-face communication out the door. Sit your partner down and tell them how their behaviors are making you feel. You don’t feel neglect, sadness, and frustration on your own. Something causes it. If this person loves you, they will understand, and they will do something about it. Too often people mistake such confrontation as one person’s desire to change the other. It’s not! Changing behaviors is not changing you. It’s called improvement. And if we all learned to be a little more selfless, we would get a lot farther in the world of love. We all get comfortable in our relationships, but we cannot let our efforts diminish. Just because you’re not new in love doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take initiative with your partner. Whether you’ve been dating two months, five years, or have been married for twenty, a simple act of love goes a long way. Don’t give your relationship the opportunity to “get comfortable” by allowing your love and affection to fade. Show your partner how much you love them through your actions just as much as your words.
We all change over time. We are continuously becoming different versions of ourselves. But the person you choose to spend your life with should be a constant. Determine what your relationship needs are. Be with someone that can satisfy those and don’t settle for less. Happiness is an expectation we should never lower our standards for. Until then, bring on the selfish single tragedy, and let’s have some fun.