We 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. 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?