Thursday, 15 March 2012

A Psychiatrist says: Being single is NOT an affliction

I am single and I am not unlucky in love, thank you very much.

I cannot understand why those who are partnered up, tend to be smug and content in their relationships and have the   need to pass judgments on another person’s relationship status. Being single is not exclusively down to choice, it could be for any reason (work, life situation, health reasons, geography  maybe), it just  may well be you have not met the right person for you as yet. Rather than jump at any opportunity just to update one’s Facebook status as ‘in a relationship’, you could feign being in a relationship just for the sake it, but ask yourself this, what will you be proving and to whom?

I am not in a relationship, so,  at the moment I am single. A year ago, I was not, and I may not be single a year from now. But, to judge my single status as ‘Unlucky’, you better be ready to explain yourself to me and to the rest of the single population (male or female). This is no longer a gender specific agenda, although women bear the brunt of having to undergo scathing statements and pitiful comments from  ‘Smuggos’ who are supposedly better off because they are in a ‘relationship’. ‘Smuggo’, I have to say this not a clinical term but surely fits the bill.

I may be single, I may feel the pang of loneliness on occasions because I am not in the company of a significant other, but I do know people who are lonely despite being in relationships. I do not have ‘friend envy’ neither, who knows what goes behind close doors. Most of my friends are either married or in relationships with or without children, it is their life and their choice. I am happy for them for sure.

I believe I too am happy, healthy, not crippled by annoyances that the ‘other half’ is taking me for granted, nor are my insecurities being ravaged by perceived carelessness of forgetting my dog’s birthday. Better yet, a side effect of not being in a stressful relationship, no unnecessary frown lines, how’s that for an anti ageing effect? I have managed to avoid the damages of being in the wrong relationship so far. Neither my ego nor self worth are  defined by my relationship status.

                              ‘Being unlucky implies that I am somewhat cursed with an affliction’

Being unlucky implies that I am somewhat cursed with an affliction,  excuse me, the only affliction I see here is that I have spent 5 minutes breathing the same air as 'Smuggo'.

                                              ‘My self esteem is not ‘pinterest’ed’

 I maybe a cynic because I do not buy into the romantic fairy tale story of happy ever afters, I am a pragmatist you see, but that does not mean I do no believe in love. In fact quite the opposite, I  respect love more so than I did 5 years ago. Love to me means more than just momentous effects of falling in love, sparks flying etc, it means that I am connecting with someone so special that my head and heart are just unanimously chiming saying this is it. It is a great feeling, and I am sure one day I will feel it again. Not anyone gets to be my ‘significant other’. My self esteem is not ‘pinterest’ed on a virtual wall dedicated to pictures of ‘look at me and my boyfriend’ and ‘see how happy I am‘. Relationships are private and sacred.

So for the all the 'smuggos' or potential 'smuggos' out there, being single is not a wart you need to point out on others. If you have a friend who is a singleton or happen to meet someone who is, think before speaking if this is possible. People are single for so many reasons, and assuming they are ‘unlucky in love’ and looking like you are sorry for them is of no need and of no value. If you have a single mate  and you want to set them up with someone , go ahead, but do it because it is fun, not because you feel sorry, believe me, people can smell sympathy from a mile off.

For singletons,ladies and gents; being intelligent and successful means you should feel able to evaluate your choices and not cripple yourself with insecurities. It is likely you will be the source of envy by those who are not.  Men share the same crippling thoughts as women too by the way. The right person for you may not be around the corner yet, but he or she is out there looking for you. Try not to waste your time with friends whose sole source of self esteem comes from putting someone else down. As a Psychiatrist, I know when someone has had a session with ‘Self -esteem Vampires’. Instead of wasting any more time with them, invest in making yourself emotionally available and free of ‘baggage’

My advice is know your friends and know them better. Being single is a wonderful time of anyone’s life. Cherish it as it will make your relationship life even better because you knew who you are as an individual  first. Define yourself this way, and you are likely to have a better relationship experience filled with respect, mutual admiration and the best of all, a passion for who you are as individuals. Best aphrodisiac for sure, trust me.

As for recognising ‘Self esteem Vampires’, my first tip is this, if you have walked away from someone feeling drained, angry or sad about your life, then you have just been with : ‘ Self –Esteem Vampire'.


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