Living in New York City has taught me a lot of things; one thing is that many people struggle with love and relationships in this city. You can blame it on many factors: workaholicism, too many options, too few options, dating apps like Tinder or just feeling uninterested in the drama that seems to go hand-in-hand with relationships. Whatever the reason, it seems everyone complains about dating in NYC. The singles that do want to be coupled look at seemingly happy couples wondering when they’re going to find their perfect match. Having been on both sides of the coin (single and married), I can tell you, in reality, one is not actually better than the other.
Singles wish they had someone to cuddle at night and couples (at least after the honeymoon phase wears off) tend to miss the peace and freedom of their single days. Essentially, both situations are a trade off with pros and cons. Unfortunately, the marriage industrial complex leaves a lot of singles feeling anxious, thinking the grass must be greener and that the key to happiness lies in Mr. (or Ms.) Right. This can lead people to marry the wrong person, only to end up divorced by their 40’s and single once again. Before I go any further, I want to mention I’m not a cynic about love, but I am a logical about relationships. I’ve been really happy in relationships but I’ve also been really happy single. And I’ll continue to be happy regardless because I’ve never placed my worth or happiness in other people, and I simply have no rose colored glasses about the reality of romantic relationships. Sure, the fairytale sells lots of wedding dresses and baby strollers but the hard truth is relationships are often messy, complicated, and never as perfect as they appear on Instagram. I think they can be worth it, but being single also has some major upsides, you just have to explore which situation makes you happier.
The point here, to all the anxious singles out there, is that the grass is not necessarily greener on the other side. You have not failed because you’re not coupled up. Just remember, 50% of those blissful looking marriages will end in divorce and I can almost guarantee 100% of marriages have drama and problems you simply aren’t seeing from the polished outward appearance. I know this because I am married and also hear all the complaints from other married and coupled people. The reality is, one option is not better than the other, so please stop feeling bad.
Marriage and being coupled up is not a one size fits all lifestyle. It can make some people happy and others very unhappy, so instead of thinking it’s the automatic path in life, it’s important to be aware that your own happiness is up to you and ultimately has little to do with your relationship status. If you’re unhappy right now and you think it’s because you’re single, it’s worth exploring the core of what’s really going on. Getting in a relationship might temporarily make life blissful, but as the years and reality of coupledom sets in, you might return to a state of unhappiness because you never fixed what was making you unhappy to begin with.
The moral of the story? Your personal happiness starts with you first and foremost. True life fulfillment is being whole and happy all on your own, and that is your own responsibility. It’s important to get the message out that we shouldn’t be dependent on others to make us happy. Sure, we all hope to find the love of our life, but it’s not the be all end all to happiness. There are so many incredible ways to enjoy life and love others. When you find inner peace, you’ll find that your relationship status no longer matters; you realize you will be happy and enjoy life regardless of what happens in your love life. Now THAT is true bliss.