I have had a varied romantic history, including marriage and relationships with diverse and attractive individuals, both serious and casual. Despite experiencing strong feelings of love multiple times, I have come to realize that I do not need anyone else to be happy. As I have come to understand and accept this, my overall happiness has increased.
1. I get to have my priorities in order
Once the belief that a man is necessary for happiness is removed, priorities change. For me, this means that the quest for a romantic partner is no longer a priority. Instead, I am able to focus on pursuing other passions and goals in life without the added pressure of finding a partner.
2 I'm complete on my own
I am tired of women defining themselves based on their relationship status or by being in a romantic relationship with a man. I do not - and never will - rely on a man to fulfill me in any way.
3. I don't "belong" to anyone
In honesty, relationships can involve a sense of possession. I do not subscribe to this idea. Every time my husband referred to me as "his," it would make me angry. I would reject him, insisting that he understand that I am not and never will be his possession. I am not a mere object or possession over which he has complete control. He never fully understood my perspective on this.
4. I can live my life for me and me alone
Even the best relationships involve becoming emotionally and otherwise connected to another person. While this can be positive when in love, it should not be the ultimate goal. By not relying on a man, I am able to maintain independence and individuality, even when in a relationship, allowing me to live for myself alone.
5. I never feel the pangs of guilt or obligation
In every relationship I have been in, there was always a feeling of responsibility and guilt; for example, feeling responsible to include my partner in certain events, and guilty if I did not include them. Although I have mostly dated independent men, I have not yet found someone who is equally independent as me, leading to occasional conflicts in that regard.
6. I can enjoy dating
Although I am not particularly fond of dating and have never been one to date multiple people simultaneously, understanding that I do not require a man allows me to relax and enjoy myself when I do decide to go on a date. I do not have to worry about impressing someone or feel pressure to pursue a relationship, because ultimately, it does not matter to me. And this freedom is what leads to true happiness.
7. I can walk away whenever I want
You can refer to me as "Love 'Em and Leave 'Em Chatel." Or, more simply, a woman who understands that she does not need a man, just like a fish does not need a bicycle. (A nod to Gloria Steinem for that insightful statement!) When you do not rely on something, you have the freedom to let it go whenever desired, and that freedom brings happiness.
8. I can put my energy into other things
Maintaining relationships require effort - even the successful ones. In fact, it is the effort put into them that keeps them strong. However, understanding that I do not need a man has allowed me to redirect that energy towards other pursuits. I am currently writing a book, volunteering and I will have visited 30 countries by the end of 2017, to name a few examples. I find these achievements more valuable than simply being someone's girlfriend and they bring me more happiness than any relationship ever has.
9. I can focus on myself
It may sound cliche, but we are all constantly evolving from the day we are born until the day we die. I enjoy working on myself, exploring new things, people and places, and seeing how they shape me. I am not the same person I was a year ago and I am likely to change again in the next six months. I will have experiences that will aid me in growing and developing, something that could be limited by a man in my life and that brings me great happiness.
10. I'm defying the "natural progression" of things
For a long time, society expected people to get married and have children by a certain age, while living in a suburban house with a two-car garage and taking occasional "date nights" away from their kids. That's not my path, and it never will be. Realizing that I don't need a man has allowed me to avoid mediocrity and chart my own course. Expressing just how happy that makes me is hard, but I can say that I have been truly happy many times in my life.