Q. I have really been thinking about relationships. I believe most people (including me) want to have a person in their lives to share intimate conversations, romance, traveling and just sharing life’s day to day realities. But when I see some of my friends who “have that someone” but seem very unhappy I think twice (or three times) that being single is really not that bad. What do you think?

A. I agree with your belief that most people desire to have a loving, intimate relationship. To love and be loved is a beautiful thing. For all those people who find that combination, they are blessed. And there are people who do!!
There are also people who don’t. Sometimes a contributing factor lies in the reason for the relationship. Why did we attach? What were we looking for? Were we in speed mode? If a relationship is created for reasons other than building a friendship that grows into an attachment that grows into a loving, caring relationship then it may be problematic.
Here are some of the reasons that might be problematic:
1. When the focus is to get away from home (early relationship/marriage)
2. To find financial security. (may come with hidden or not so hidden agenda)
3. To have a child. (hopefully both people want a child)
4. To avoid loneliness. (I have seen many married lonely people).
5. To be rescued. (the white knight, the codependent caregiver)
There are so many ups and downs in relationships that in order to weather some of the storms, the foundation must be really solid. That is the one built on trust, mutual respect, forgiveness and room to grow.
I have recently talked to two men who had been single for a long time who had given up on the possibility of finding someone to love. They were not depressed or isolating, they were living their lives and unexpectedly met women who “swept them off their feet.” One has married and one has a date set for July. Love seems to work better when it is not forced.
Judy told me that she started going to church hoping to met a man. When she did not meet someone after a few Sundays, she quit going. Brenda is on three different online dating sites. She connects with men but the outcome is lacking.
Maybe stop and let go. Get involved in activities. Glenn decided to go to wine tastings. Mary joined a book club. Denise started practicing yoga. Live life and see what happens.

Vicki L Mayfield, M.Ed., R.N., LMFT Marriage and Family Therapy Oklahoma City

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