I know the feeling. It’s late night on a Tuesday evening and Taylor Swift’s RED album is playing. You’re feeling all sorts of feels. Mostly angsty heartbreak emotions, but you also circle back to the good old days. The rose-tinted, ‘god we were great, weren’t we?’ glasses are fully back on again. Whether or not they really ought to be. Maybe you just watched the Gilmore Girls revivals and you’re feeling nostalgic. Maybe it’s been long enough and your heart feels ready to give it another go.
Who knows, you might be right.
But either way, here we are on the sofa with a glass of wine thinking on relationships of the past. There was Steve who broke your heart. Matt that soured pretty quickly after the ‘what are we’ chat. Brent. Ah Brent. You’re pretty sure you broke his heart. Eh, live and learn, I guess.
You can look back on old relationships and think about the mistakes you made – both of you – and that can be really helpful. On one hand, you can figure out what it is that you want out of a relationship, and that may have changed over the course of the latest relationship, or been altered by having not been in one for a little while. Maybe you’ve grown more independent, but still need an emotional support system that the relationship offers.
But these things change over time
It may be that you aren’t looking for commitment in the way that you thought you were initially, or that who you thought your dream guy was – well, maybe that has been updated too. We are all liable to changing and our tastes too, that’s all about being human. Having new experiences, understandings and mistakes that you can learn from. We all become more well-rounded individuals by looking our mistakes in the eye and being willing to fall flat on our face in a relationship. If you aren’t risking your heart – just a little – then you aren’t really opening yourself up to it. Therefore, you don’t stand to benefit from the rewards of a relationship.
In short, when you’re single, it can be very easy to look around you and wonder why you don’t have a partner. We would do well to reflect occasionally on whether we actually need one at that specific time, though. As always, there’s another side to the story.
Yes, we want a warm and comforting environment in which we can feel safe, loved and secure without even needing to think twice. But we can also get most of that from a nice blanket and a hoodie. Call me a cynic, but sometimes it genuinely is just as good if not better to have a great best friend than it is to have the stress of upkeep of a boyfriend. I’m not saying that men are trash and we should forsake them forever – no sweeping dismissals here, ladies – but we don’t need to always fling ourselves headlong into a new relationship just for the sake of doing so.
Some friends of mine are compulsive partner-ers.
They always need a Person that they can love. To put all their eggs in that emotional basket. That’s fine, most of the time, and as long as they’re fairly self-aware, that’s their cross to bear. However, watching it go downhill and have their sense of self continually crash and burn into rubble every time that the relationship doesn’t work out – it gets a little repetitive. That’s just for me watching on, let alone their own turbulent emotions. But again, I stress – that’s completely their decision and not something I judge them for. We all have our own distinct emotional needs.
That said, sometimes you do need to be the friend on hand ready to offer perspective to another friend that might be simply feeling lonely, tired – or even just cold – and thus fancies that she needs a new beau. Emotions are deceiving, and we’re rarely in as much control of them as we like to think we are. As such, we have to take what our heart is telling us with a pinch of salt.
The next time you see Chris Hemsworth on Instagram or rewatch Friends, remember that those relationships were more off again than they were on, and Chris is married (and out of most people’s leagues lol).
In short, ask yourself this:
Do you want a boyfriend, or should you just take a hot bubble bath?