Catch Him If You Can? – Why Being in a Relationship Shouldn’t Be a Goal

catchWe supposedly live in modern times in which men and women are equal. At the same time, we can’t deny the double standards in dating that still allow men much more than women. One of such trends is the societal pressure on having a partner that’s imposed on women in a more aggressive way than on men.

If you ever were single for a prolonged period of time, you surely know it as a first hand experience. Perhaps family members at reunions repeatedly asked you why you STILL don’t have a boyfriend or frenemies pointed out publicly that you’ve been single FOREVS. As much as the reason for being single is usually as simple as “No one really interesting being around”, their reactions and repetitive questions suggest that it’s rather the case of “No one interested being around”. In that way people try to point out that the norm is to be in a relationship and if you’re not something is wrong with you. Now, as much as being in a happy relationship makes your life a hell of a lot better, being in an unhappy one makes you more not less miserable than being single. We tend to forget that a relationship isn’t a job and we can survive without it. Therefore a lot of people internalize the pressure and the feeling of truly not being good enough (there must be a fertile ground of their psyche for that). They become obsessed with the thought being in a relationship and not that of being in a happy one.

With a goal of finding someone to prove to others that they’re “good enough” such people focus on the needs of others not their own. After all they just want to be with someone. In order to do so, they’re more likely to pretend in front of a potential partner that they’re a different person to please them. They will bite their tongue before expressing their opinion freely and most importantly, they’re more willing to put a blind eye on deal breakers just to “land” the man. Such techniques may work short term but not long term. No one can pretend forever, they’re a different person or that they’re not irritated by the things that annoy them. This is the reason why the behavior early in the beginning gives you a good idea of the future trajectory of a relationship. The more there is in your partner that you truly don’t like and that makes you upset, the less happy with the relationship you’ll be in general. But hey, you’ve shown them all that you’re good enough, non? Sounds like a weak consolation when you have to spend time with someone who you’re not really into. It’s also worth remembering that the further you’re into the relationship, the more difficult it is to get out of it. The societal pressure may be high for people who are single, but trust me, after even a year when you’re between your mid twenties to thirties, your family won’t leave you alone if you try to end it (given he’s not a physically abusive troglodite).

This is precisely why it’s so important to let yourself get into a relationship in your own time, when the person you’ve met seems like a good match and when you’ve worked through issues that would make you attracted to drama. By clenching your teeth early on, you’re just creating a difficult life for yourself in the future. Relationship pressure is one thing but when you’re in a relationship, you’ll experience a whole different dimension, namely getting married pressure.Β A wave of married-and-divorced in a blink of an eye news from friends, acquaintances and those who happen to be in my Facebook feed, reminds me that in our “modern” times getting married for many women is still, just like a relationship, a goal on its own. As much as marriage may be something that we like in theory, we should focus on finding someone we would like to marry, rather than on getting married itself. How are we supposed to do it, however, if we give up already at the search level? If we agree with others that perhaps we’re too picky or whatever is supposedly our fault in being single and we settle, we’re also more likely to continue a relationship and marry the guy we’re not that much into just because we’ve put too much effort into a relationship to stop it. Now, I don’t know what is it about guys who propose to women clearly not that much into them but perhaps their beauty is enough or a dinner at the table every night compensates for fights and disagreements. I know, however, that at the receiving end of such a proposal you should say “no”. If it was difficult for you to break up when you were unhappy, do you really think you’ll have guts to get divorced?

To sum up, being in a good relationship is a great thing and I believe as social animals we’re just happier sharing our life with a truly special someone. At the same time, a relationship can be a source of frustration and unhappiness if we don’t make sure our partner is worth our attention. Being single and dating is a great time to learn about ourselves and our preferences. Don’t catch him if you can to prove to others that you’re good enough. Catch him only if you really want to.

Dear Rinsers, please tell me what you think! Do women get judged for being single and labelled as not good enough more than men? Do you agree that the culture is conditioning women to settle? Why do single women get shamed?




    • Where did you read that? Marriage, like a relationship, shouldn’t be a goal on its own. A happy one can be. People get obsessed with the idea of getting married and forget that what’s important is to be in a happy and fulfilling relationship and not just to get hitched for the sake of the “married” status. That’s what I’m saying.


      • I guess I misunderstood your point but your title to your post is why being in a relationship should be your goal, not why being in a marriage shouldn’t be your goal. Too conflicting . And I thought you got married not too long ago ? No?

        Liked by 1 person

      • If being a relationship is a goal than being married is a goal too. It’s a wrong goal. A right goal is to be in a happy relationship and then in a happy marriage, if marriage is something you’d like. If you need to be single for a bit to think things over, it’s okay. A bad relationship is worse than being single. VoilΓ . I got married a year ago to someone whom first I was happy to date and than happy to marry. This is why I feel sad why I see my friends being pressurized to just “get someone” rather than “get someone who’ll make you happy. A relationship isn’t an achievement either. A happy one is.


  1. Yes and Yes!! Women do get judged for being single. If you’re 30 and still single something must be wrong with you or you’re a Lesbian. Culture is conditioning women to settle, however, more and more women are realising their self-worth and are not conforming to societies pressures. Thank God for that!

    Personally, I think marriage is an out of date institution. I mean why do we get married? For the sake of saying he’s mine or she’s mine or solely for financial stability because now there’s more cash in the pot that living on a single income. I mean couldn’t you get those things in habitual arrangements? If the country you’re living in recognises such unions of course. The only difference between being married and being in a legal cohabiting relationship is standing in front of an official, exchanging vows and rings. If the relationship ends the seem proceeding applies. So why not opt for the latter? I once believed heavily in the institution of marriage, society demanded it. Marry and procreate, it’s what women were put here for! And you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t!

    But in response to your subject heading, I believe being in a relationship should be a goal. We need that outlet of emotions even if it’s temporary! πŸ˜‰ I mean you can’t spend your life going home to a pet now, can you? Or worse, going home to 4 walls and a television set.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agreed! Glad that many women oppose such impositions but still sad that many other don’t and some are not even aware of the ideas they’ve internalised.

      In principle I agree that there should be no difference. At the same time, I see a lot of unmarried couples that just don’t seem to be committed. For instance this one long term couple I know pays for everything separately, taking off things of the bill exactly as they ordered them (as in not even splitting the bill) as if they were strangers. I think that because for many people commitment still equals marriage, being unmarried equals lack of commitment and they have a feeling they could leave the relationship any day. Most of people I know still consider marriage something they would like so postponing it forever with their partner isn’t necessarily a good sign. From what I see around me I wouldn’t say that it’s just the vows and the rings, it’s the whole “we’re in it together” aspect. I think the less conservative a society is, the easier it is for cohabitation to be truly the same thing as marriage. SA is still quite conservative, I think, let alone my home country Poland. For me getting married was a symbolic thing and I’m happy that I’m married to my husband (as opposed to just happily cohabiting together). It meant and still means a lot to me and I can’t really explain why πŸ™‚

      I believe being in a happy relationship should be a goal. An unhappy relationship just makes you miserable, so people should focus more on quality and not quantity and realise that being single for a few months from time to time makes you rethink your last relationship and avoid the same mistakes πŸ˜‰


      • Again it goes back to society dictating the difference in being married or legal cohabitation. I grew up around married people and they were for the most part committed to each other. But there was still a few who lived their separate lives with women being the homemaker and men going out to work and keeping ‘sweet hearts.’ Where I’m from and for most caribbean countries it’s not unusual for a man to have two families,one with his wife with one the sweetheart.

        Sure many woman live for the fanfare of a big wedding, adorning her wedding dress, having the privilege of being the Mrs.

        I’ve also seen couple who are happier in a legal cohabitation than those that are married. Because Everything you listed about being married is they have in their relationship. The fact that no vows were taken, only a promise to each other they still value and respect their relationship. One guy said he value his partner more than he did his first wife because his partner can leave anytime she wants but she chooses to say because they both love each other. While his wife always threatened to divorce and take the kids.

        In Europe and parts of UK legal cohabitation is widely accepted and has the same respect as being married. I’ve mentioned before that there’s no obligation to take on the name of your spouse, making even a narrower difference.

        For me a symbolic relationship is one where both parties respect, care and love each other. Which you can find in both relationships, with marriage being the more expensive of the two πŸ˜‰ lol! lol!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ok, I’m not sure how legal cohabitation works in all countries but I know that in the ones I have experience with (Poland, South Africa) to be legally in a partnership where you share your property etc you need to sign a notarial agreement. People don’t sign these agreements, which means they’re free to leave at any time and take whatever they themselves accumulated. It doesn’t help the sense of security, having a life together and especially if you have kids can be risky. I know very few people who do it the legal way but if they do I don’t think there’s any difference between marriage and a formal partnership because the “we’re in it together” aspect is there. Others prefer to get married when they’re ready to commit. In more traditional families plus religious people themselves feel they have to get married if they want to date someone or live with someone. Obviously that has nothing to do with whether they’re ready or not or with whether their relationship is committed. The non-religious folk can choose what they like but a lot of them still choose to get married. Why? I don’t know, I guess for some the exchange of the vows and rings means more than the notarial agreement. Think about gay couples in countries when they can be in legally binding partnerships. They’re still fighting to be able to get married. It just means that for some people marriage has some appeal that a legal partnership doesn’t. Maybe if partnerships were finalized in the same way as marriages are (with public merriment, vows and a symbol of commitment), people would feel no difference at all? There are as you say bad marriages and bad partnerships. I don’t think getting married has the same appeal for everyone and some people don’t want that. It’s cool with me. At the same time a lot of people use a prolonged partnership as an excuse for inertia. They’re not happy nor committed but don’t want to break up so just keep it that way. Of course, there are married people who are exactly in the same position but they’re often those who got married not entirely with their heart in it. I don’t know all the answers just putting it out there 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      • None of us knows all the answers πŸ˜‰ Some people think they do, but really don’t. lol!
        Well like you said a legal cohabitation is as you said it takes two parties to sign a notarial agreement. If they don’t then they’re just cohabitating I guess, with no commitment etc. And I’m guessing it’s the fanfare and absence of religious consent and traditions that make a huge difference to this and a marriage. In those aspects to each his own, I guess. In terms or same-sex couples in some countries they are allowed to be married but the marriage is merely a formal form or legal cohabitation because the marriage is not recognised outside the country where it is lawful (as far as I’m aware, I stand to be corrected) πŸ™‚

        In my experience, Long term relationships are just that. Without Marriage or Legal Cohabitation, there is nothing binding the relationship. You don’t get squatters rights in a relationship unless one partner Wills it. In The Bahamas where children are concerned, even if the relationship splits and there’s no formal agreement of Marriage or LC the child still benefits because by law once he or she is recognised by the father or the father’s name is on the birth certificate the child is entitled to something from the father’s estate. But the mother gets nothing.

        It’s a tangled web, however, it all boils down to the two people involved in the relationship and what they decide.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I think you’re right. What I was pointing out is that where homosexual marriages are allowed legal partnerships are allowed too and yet gay people still want to be allowed to get married even if it’s just valid in their jurisdiction. Perhaps there’s something romantically appealing about marriage rather than LC? I don’t know but I’ll research! I can see a good post coming out of this discussion, thanks!

        Lol, squatter rights πŸ˜€ Love it! But yes, for me the lack of the squatters rights is what’s worrying me in terms of people who don’t go for a legal agreement. I think the children in such relationships are safe in most not theocratic countries. At the same time the partners can be left with nothing. For instance, if your partner owns a house you just live in, you don’t actually have any security. It also says a lot that he doesn’t want to share/make sure you’ll be provided for. Perhaps the best way to put what I think is that it worries me that so many people live in long term relationships without any commitment (be it an LC or marriage). Why they don’t commit is, I think, because they often are okeyish with the partner they’re with but not really satisfied. They don’t want to go further but they don’t want to be single either so they just stay the way they are. The reason why they’re in so-so relationship is because they don’t put enough thinking into what they’re getting into in the early stages of dating. The latter has a lot to do with the social pressure which brings me right back to the topic of my post πŸ˜‰

        Liked by 1 person

      • I agree with all of your points here especially the NOT wanting to Commit. In The Bahamas what we would call “sweethearting” is a national sport. It’s not uncommon for a married man to have several women on the side and vice versa. But The Bahamas boast itself as being a Christian Nation, go figure! lol! lol! You can’t have squatter’s right in a non-binding relationship and this is what women fail to understand. At the end of that relationship all you have are the memories and the last time I check you can’t take memories to the Bank :p ……….. I’ve had both, marriage and LC.
        My parent’s weren’t married because my dad already had a wife and family. At the time his relationship with my Mum ended all she had was us (7 kids). Honestly, I now know I went into my first marriage because I wanted to be the wife and not the sweetheart πŸ˜‰

        Liked by 1 person

      • πŸ˜€ It’s a completely different topic but unfortunately a lot of those who call themselves Christian often think that going to church and shouting about being religious is all that matters… It’s always very interesting for me when you speak about the Bahamas. I know very little about them.

        Hahaha, yes. Being romantic is important but one should be practical too! I also think that often it’s not only the men who don’t want to commit. Women complain about someone not marrying them/not being serious about them but actually they don’t really want to be with these guys either…

        Wow, your mom has done an amazing job at bringing up 7 kids! I can’t even imagine that much responsibility and to have handled it on her own is really impressive.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I can write a book on the “Hypocritical Christian.”

        True about the women πŸ˜‰

        She had a lot of help from my grandparents which is why I was closer to them than her. I never really appreciated my Mom until I actually became a Mom myself. But I have two daughters, never in a MILLION YEARS would I even consider birthing 7 children. 1. I could NEVER love a man that much to give him 7 heirs. 2. I love my body and Freedom too much to put it through all those pregnancies. And 3. I would NEVER unleash 7 of my clones on the Earth! πŸ˜‰ Humanity deserves a chance. LOL! LOL!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Haha, me too πŸ˜‰

        I guess we often don’t appreciate our parents till we get much older. 7 children is a lot. I completely agree with your reasons. We want to adopt, anyway.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Awesome. It’s wasn’t so easy to adopt back home, for one there really weren’t that many kids put up for adoption and adoption from the outside was often too expensive with lots of red tape. But that’s like 20+ it’s gotten more common now with more and more kids being born to underage or unwed mothers and parents mothers not ready to be parents 😦

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m sure it was much more difficult and less common back in the days. Yes, it’s very sad. Unfortunately, there are many unwanted children in South Africa. Fortunately, there are also more and more couples who adopt. It’s still a lengthy process but it should be this way so that the kids don’t end up with irresponsible parents or people unfit for parenting. They’ve been through enough not to have to deal with it.

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