We avoid the curse of loneliness like the plague. We scroll, swipe, message, and communicate in a sea of emojis and laughter in the dark to try to find someone else who fits into our life — into our little corner of the world. We get excited about a flutter of emotion that comes with all of the dating firsts — first meeting, first date, first kiss. We seek compatibility, and when it comes close enough that we can feel it, we feel a wave of relief because finally, finally someone is cut from the same mold as we are. Finally, we might have a person, and we might be part of a set.
Everyone couples up and it feels right — comfortable. There are group activities, group trips, group outings, and we fit within the group because we’re connected to someone, because we’re in a couple, and so are the people around us. We belong. Finally, it feels like we’re not on the outside of this pairing off epidemic, we’re in the middle of it. We are one of the pairs.
We have our go-to person; the one we call when we’re upset, or need a favor, or need support. We have a number one in our lives, and that erases the feeling that used to surround us: the feeling that our number one friend cared about their relationship more than they cared about us. But now that we have our new number one, our new one and only, and we are no longer jealous, because we no longer feel alone. We have someone, and that’s what we were looking for.
Whether we care to admit it or not, this is what we spend so much of our time searching for. But when the person we find isn’t the right fit, we don’t care to admit it because it feels comfortable, safe, and like we finally have the golden ticket into the land of happy couples, and we are unwilling to give it up.
But for everyone who wants a relationship simply for the sake of being in a relationship, there is a reminder that’s worth hearing: It’s better to be alone than in the wrong relationship.
Because if we’re staying in the wrong relationship, we’re only seeing one side of the story. We are only seeing the comfort that comes with having someone to love. But that is only truly a comfort if we actually love our person, instead of simply valuing them because they’re a security blanket, or someone who supports us, or someone who comes with us to things so we don’t have to go to them alone. That is only the shell of a relationship, and not leaving it for fear of being alone is the less courageous choice.
We can love someone, and love the feeling of being with someone, and they can still be the wrong person. They can still bring you down, infuriate you more than they make you happy, or push you to be someone you’re not. They can occupy all of your time with their problems, so you feel like they can’t verbalize any of your own. They can treat you well in front of others, but not hold that up behind closed doors. They can be an amazing person, but simply be in a different place in life than you are. They can even be the right fit, but live in the wrong place.
There are reasons things don’t work out. And they are not always your fault. That doesn’t make walking away from a potential relationship any easier, but it does mean that you are brave to walk away from “comfort” and “safety” for your own happiness.
Would you rather be unhappy with the wrong person, or happy by yourself? Choosing happiness by yourself seems like the harder choice in the immediate, but in the long run, you’re proving to yourself that you’re worth so much more.