For many women, being single is a difficult and undesirable state. Depending on the situation and temperament of each individual, it can vary from an informed, logical relationship time-off to a supremely chaotic and depressive period. Surely, we all want to love someone, and being loved in return. What wouldn’t we give for a healthy, loving and fulfilling relationship.
Are some women, though, willing to compromise personal happiness and well being for the sake of not feeling lonely? Apparently, there are many people who settle for much less of fear of being single.
Researchers at the university of Toronto and in particular author Stephanie Spielmann, who lead the study, found that ‘those with stronger fears about being single are willing to settle for less in their relationships. Sometimes they stay in relationships they aren’t happy in, and sometimes they want to date people who aren’t very good for them. Now we understand that people’s anxieties about being single seem to play a key role in these types of unhealthy relationship behaviors.’ (ScienceDaily)
Men and women who had similar concerns and worries about being single, were noted to follow the same behavioral patterns, which lead to the same results. Although loneliness is equally painful for both sexes, and men have also been known to compromise for unhappy relationships, women tend to settle for much more compared to men.
It is true that we don’t have control over everything that happens in our lives. However, upon reflection we discover that we do, almost always, have the power of choice. We make choices daily, either consciously or unconsciously. We choose from what to eat and drink to the clothes we wear and the things we will say. We choose who are friends will be, how to behave towards people, we choose whether to follow our intuition in various situations or to ask for help.
And if you really think about it, every single one of our choices has a long term effect and strong impact on our lives. Every single ‘small’ choice we make on what to eat, will have a strong impact on our health and physique. Each behavioral choice we make will impact our personality, way of thinking and character formation. Every choice matters and deep in our gut we definitely know it.
Many relationships fall apart, and people are faced with endless problems, struggling to figure out what went wrong. They will try to do anything to fix them and avoid being in an empty house or an empty bed. You don’t have to be a psychologist in order to spot the couples where one or both partners just settled. There is nothing wrong with trying to fix your relationship or marriage, of course. On the contrary, many can be saved and divorces can be avoided when people are willing to try and find out what’s wrong.
[quote_box_right]It takes courage to stay true to yourself when so many voices are telling you to follow a more conventional path.
It takes mental agility to hold two ideas in your head at once: Yes, I would like to meet someone someday; yes, I am fine right now as I am[/quote_box_right]
But settling for less is a conscious choice that will eventually lead to more problems that you can imagine. It inevitably leads to that moment of heartbreak when you try to piece yourself together, asking: ‘how did this happen to me?’
Just consider the following statement, by Caroline Myss, author of the New York Times best seller: ‘Anatomy of the spirit’, 1996: ‘whether you “settle” for less than you want in a relationship or in any other area of your life, the knowledge that you have compromised your heart and intuitive truth will consciously or unconsciously lead you to sabotage your own choice. If you hit your inner pause button for just a second right now and reflect on this, you will connect with the truth of this.’
Surely no one would like to sabotage their own choices, right? Many of your actions could not be conscious but the pain that wrong choices cause can lead to depression, drug addiction, food addiction, anger or can involve other self destructive coping mechanisms. Caroline believes that we cannot always get what we want in life and sometimes settling for something less is unavoidable. The opposite would lead to ‘an uncontrollable narcissist living among a society of narcissists’. So, what should you do and how can you know that you have settled for less in a relationship?
Making a choice and settling for less, are two different things.When we settle, we automatically convince ourselves that we had ‘no choice’ and that settling was therefore excused. ‘Settling is a passive choice that lets you off the hook in terms of taking responsibility for the consequences.’ Choosing is a conscious act; you are in control of each single choice you make.
[pull_quote_center]Following what you want is often a path filled with disappointments because it operates on a pain-pleasure scale, easily tipped and easily broken. The path of what you need, on the other hand, is a far deeper soul path that often anchors us in challenges that serve as depth charges[/pull_quote_center]
I believe that no one, especially women, should have to settle for less than they deserve just for the sake of not being alone. But why do most of us fear of not being part of a couple? The reasons could be many and could vary greatly with each individual. Two main factors, though, have been noted to play the most important role when settling for less is involved: past traumatic experiences of romantic rejection, and fear of prolonged single hood.
According to author Sara Eckel, most of the stereotypes that we hold on to about single women are misleading. She writes: ‘The single life isn’t a prison sentence nor is it a cocktail party. It is simply a life -– a life with responsibilities and rewards, good days and bad ones, successes and failures. It’s marching into your boss’s office and demanding to be paid what your married male co-worker earns because dammit you need the money. It’s counseling your niece on issues she’s not quite comfortable talking about with her mom. It’s selling your house and moving to South America because why not? It’s asking a man for a date and he says yes. It’s asking a man for a date and he says no’
[quote_box_right]Now that women no longer have to depend on men for financial support, we are enjoying a historically unprecedented luxury: to hold out for the right relationship, or to not have one at all[/quote_box_right]
And she couldn’t be more right. I have come to realize that single women are as greatly misunderstood as married women. Each group loves entertaining unfair misconceptions about the other. Single women are supposed to guzzling cocktails on the town every night, while married women cook all day in their slippers.
There are things to enjoy, and things to suffer, in either state, but what it boils down to is that being single or not is NOT the only element that defines a woman. Whether by choice or circumstance, women should learn to be fully responsible for their actions and feel comfortable with their current state. Being single is as permanent as being married is: they can both change in an instant.
My single friends are not partying every night. Their lives are not prison cells either. Single people are not better or worse off than married ones. But maybe we should start treating the ‘single experience with the respect it deserves’. Because what is perhaps most impressive about single women today is their ability to build rich, meaningful lives without any sort of blueprint. It takes courage to stay true to yourself when so many voices are telling you to follow a more conventional path. It takes mental agility to hold two ideas in your head at once: Yes, I would like to meet someone someday; yes, I am fine right now as I am.’
Whatever being single means for each one of you, you should try to find inner peace with your current state. As I have said in a previous article :’If you enter a relationship in a state of needing someone to hold up to , give you strength through your difficult times, encourage you and take away your sadness then this relationship is set to fail and break under the pressure. On the contrary, if you enter a relationship in a state of independence, that will allow this union to add meaning, depth and fulfillment in your life.’
Settling for a needy and undeserving relationship will only make matters worse and will make you feel more alone than ever.
She’s not fabulous—she’s much, much more than that’ Sara Eckel.