As long as we're on the subject of partnership in love — aren't we always? — and the difference it can make, this might just be the right time to look at what it is that's prodding you toward commitment. The most common reason, of course, is to banish loneliness forever. Many of us enter (and stay in) a relationship primarily to avoid being alone. When that's the underlying push, it just isn't possible to achieve the depth of emotional union you're after, so after a while, the flimsiness of the union becomes clear and, once again, you find yourself feeling separate, alone.
It's a pathetic irony, and if you think it's happening to you, this is the time to ask yourself why you flee your own company. Just what is it that's so bad about being with yourself? Could it be that you're looking for someone to love you because you don't/aren't able to love yourself? (Think about that really hard.) Please don't imagine that my words are about narcissism or vanity. This is about nurturing yourself, not silly vain preening. I know (from experience) that being alone is really a chance to establish a loving relationship with your very best friend — you. When you love and trust yourself, you can then go on to love and trust another person. But not before. After you know that, really know it, being on your own for reasonable periods of time (not as a loser in a cave) becomes preparation for all levels of relatedness. I suggest you read that again. And again.
Want more flimsy reasons for pairing off?
—To make the future secure.
—To prove to yourself and others that you're desirable.
—To gain life experience.
—To fit in to the social world.
—To make yourself forget a loss or rejection.
—To have a baby.
—To make others envious.
—To please your family.
—To win society's seal of approval.
—To get the material possessions you crave.
—To solve your problems.
—To give your child a father/mother.
—To show your parents your independence.
If you've spent your single phase building self-reliance and self-esteem, the transition to partnered life can be made quite successfully — and happily. Like stepping off an escalator, going from single life to coupled life can be done smoothly. Becoming part of a loving couple can be an extension of the lessons learned during single life — with one joyful plus: romantic love.
Have a question for Susan? You can reach her directly at [email protected]