This is how I used to think. This is what I used to believe. This is how I measured my worth.
This is the sad conditioning we are raised with. The ridiculous notion that we are not whole and will not be whole until we meet that person who somehow fills all the spaces in us.
I’m not that person anymore. My worth is not dependent on having a partner. I’m not half a person if I’m without a partner. I am whole all by myself.
But the world is full of people who continue to measure their worth by their relationship status. Continue searching for their “other half.” Unable to be alone because they feel less then. They feel incomplete. They feel lonely. They feel worthless. They are uncomfortable in their own company. Sometimes in their own skin.
Even though they are able to convince the world their fake bravado is actually confidence, deep within they know this isn’t true. They have lost the ability to fill their own cup. They fear the silence. The solitude. The stillness. They are disconnected from themselves, so they search externally for that connection. They don’t feel self-love, so they search externally for that love to validate them. They have an emptiness in them, so they search externally for that fulfilment. All the while not understanding they need to give these things to themselves. They need to work on themselves because nobody else can give them these things they are so desperately lacking. It’s nobody else’s responsibility.
We live in a society where many simply do not understand that someone can be happy and fulfilled alone. That some people don’t need a romantic relationship to feel whole. As someone who spent 37 years of her 55 years with a partner, I relish my newfound independence and the ability to rediscover who I am, when I’m not someone’s “other half.”
I’ve spent the last three years learning who this version of me is. Building my self-belief, self-esteem, confidence, and self-love. I definitely do not feel I’m lacking anything.
A funny thing happens when you get comfortable in discomfort and decide to really face yourself and unpack the years of conditioning, limiting beliefs, your f*ck ups, and all the hurt and pain that’s in you—you reconnect with yourself. So many of us are disconnected to our core, our truth, and what we truly want, that we don’t even realise we are searching for these things externally. We are searching for completion, yet we are already complete without a romantic partner.
Love and connection are beautiful things, but that romantic love and connection are not the only options. Family, friends, community, and connection with ourselves can be equally fulfilling. The belief that we need this other person to make us whole is making people stay in spaces and relationships that are not only unfulfilling or toxic but in some cases downright dangerous.
We have people ending one relationship and jumping straight into another. No time for healing, reflection, learning, or growth, just taking all the wounds, insecurities, lack of self-love, hurt, and pain into the next relationship. A revolving door of toxicity. A cycle of heartache. Social media is a frightening display of why people need time and sometimes therapy before “searching” for a new partner.
A partner should compliment your life, not make you miserable. A partner should energise you, not drain you. A partner should respect your boundaries, not continually cross them. A partner should appreciate your independence and individuality, not try and change or control you. A partner should be fulfilled and happy alone and not expect you to fulfil them and make them happy. A partner should respect your need for space, not smother you. A partner should be able to openly communicate, not expect you to be a mind reader. A partner should be proud of your achievements, not intimidated or jealous. A partner should be an equal on every level.
Why would you accept any less? Because you don’t believe you’re worthy, and your sense of worth is all tied up in having a partner, regardless of whether that partnership is healthy.
I get it, I used to be in this space. You make excuses for them. You make excuses for yourself, for allowing your boundaries to be continually crossed. You convince yourself you’re happy because you at least are in a relationship. You grow to despise yourself for tolerating behaviour that you know is wrong. You become a lesser version of yourself, so you disconnect from yourself to numb the pain. You don’t want people to judge you for being alone. To question why you don’t have a partner, or apparently can’t find a partner. You think there’s nothing worse than being alone. When the truth is there’s nothing worse than feeling alone when you’re in a relationship or being in a space that is not conducive to happiness.
Sadly, the craving to be in a relationship is because we are lost. And we are too scared to actually be alone and do the work on ourselves because society says, “that’s what a partner is for.” Imagine a world where people actually understood that learning, healing, and growth take place in the tough times. They take place when the sh*t hits the fan. They take place in the darkest moments. And they take place when we are finally ready and willing to allow ourselves to feel what needs to be felt. To listen to what our truth is and to recognise our own flaws. Nobody else can do that for us, and it’s nobody else’s job.
The desperation for partnership is an evident issue. I get it. Everyone wants to “be in love.” Reality check: there are far too many people bound together for everything but love, and it’s sad. Actually, it’s tragic. The fear of being alone is too great for some, even though that’s the only thing that will bring them peace. The fear of dying alone convinces people to stay in unhappy places, when the truth is we enter this world alone and we will leave it alone and there’s no guarantee that partner you’re with whose making you miserable is going to support you in the end anyway. The fear of judgement is overwhelming for some, so they simply conform, when their soul is screaming to be set free. The fear of losing the external validation one identifies with having a partner is too big a loss.
All because people don’t know. They don’t understand their conditioning and beliefs. They have lost themselves and think a partner is the answer.
I see romantic relationships so differently these days. Gone are the rose-tinted fairy-tale glasses, as they have been replaced with awareness. A clear lens of inner worth, inner belief, and inner love that won’t allow me to settle for anything less. A partner needs to connect energetically, emotionally, and physically. There needs to be shared values, emotional availability, and their own self-awareness. Communication and actual attentive listening skills. A willingness to understand themselves and what they need to work on. A meeting of equals. No excuses.
I know men and women are different, but I’m tired of the history of using these differences to justify poor behaviour, on either side. I’m tired of the different set of rules accepted for one sex and not the other. I’m tired of all the outdated bullsh*t that’s spoken about like it’s fact. Everyone can be a compassionate, loyal, respectful, open-minded, and kind human being. We can all learn the skills we are lacking. We can all work on our belief systems and behaviours. We can all listen to hear. We can all change if we want to. So there is no reason anyone should condone sh*tty relationships and people in their lives.
I realise people will read this and think “oh well, she may never find that, so she will end up alone.” My response is: I’m perfectly fine with that because my peace, my safety, and the life I’ve built for myself come first.
If a partner is going to affect these things, it’s not worth it to me. I put myself back together. I rebuilt my life. I created my peace. I found myself, and I have learned what boundaries are, and if having a partner means losing all of that, it’s too great a cost.
“Single is no longer a lack of options – but a choice. A choice to refuse to let your life be defined by your relationship status but to live every day Happily and let your Ever After work itself out.” ~ Mandy Hale