College / Happiness / Relationships

Finding Your Bliss Before Finding Someone Else

I am so tired of feeling like my happiness depends on having a boyfriend, or at least a guy to flirt with. Is society to blame for this? Or is this my own problem formed from reading too many Cosmopolitan articles, watching too many sappy rom-coms, and listening to all my friends talk about their relationships?

Now usually when you hear someone say “all my friends are in relationships, ” they’re exaggerating. Well, my friends, I’m not. Literally all of my close friends are in relationships. It’s a little discouraging and defeating listening to them talk about how happy they are, even when they’re fighting, and annoying to hear them say to me, “I just know you’ll find someone too.” Yeah, I realize that. But somehow their saying that makes it seem like they think I’m unhappy being single. I mean, I can’t always tell what I sound like from the outside, but I’m pretty sure I don’t complain every time we hang out that I’m depressed having the bed to myself and not having someone with whom to exchange flirty texts.

The thing is, when I’m not talking to a guy, I feel fine. I get my work done, I’m focused, and I remember what my number one goal right now is: finish college. I guess that should be ETA “with or without a boyfriend.” On the other hand, when I am talking to or dating someone of interest, it somehow makes every day that much better. You do have someone to exchange flirty texts with, you do have someone to fall asleep next to, and you then become one of those “we” couples. You know, “we didn’t like that movie,” or “we tried that Mexican place the other night,” and “we have plans this weekend.” It can be fun having someone with whom to lump your opinions with. The problem is, I get too caught up in even flirting, and pretty soon my mind starts to wander, and that goal changes from finishing college to figuring out what to do on our next date.

I’m not dumping on everyone in a relationship, and I’m not saying being in a relationship is a total distraction… My question is, why does our mindset suddenly change when we have a someone? Why can’t a lot of us find our happiness even when we’re alone? Is that quote “you can’t be happy with someone until you can be happy on your own” true? Can you be happy and successful in a relationship when you aren’t that way off the court?

While some college students may feel they don’t need to be in a relationship, there are a lot of us who feel the opposite. Lately I’ve been hearing “I would be happier if I was in a relationship,” and “I haven’t been able to sleep lately because I don’t have someone next to me.”

My own best friend had a scare two weeks ago. I got off work and checked my phone to see a panicked and desperate text that her boyfriend of seven years had just broken up with her. I did my best to console, reassuring her that he would come around eventually (which he did), but her attitude changed completely. For those two weeks they weren’t together, she was sad every time we hung out. She didn’t wear makeup, she was a little moody, she lost motivation to get herself to class, and she wasn’t really responsive to anything that wasn’t about her no-longer relationship. I was worried about her and it was scary to see her like that. Those feelings only heightened when she told me she felt like she no longer knew who she was; that she had to change her entire routine because the shows she watched or the movies she wanted to see reminded her of him. The entire time this went on, I wondered “did she know who she was before she got in this relationship?” Looking back, it sounds like she let(s) the relationship define her which, in my opinion, is a risky move. You’re basically saying you aren’t anything without this other person and quite frankly, that’s a lot of power to give someone else. How, if you two break up, will you move on? Does that mean you have to start all over and reinvent yourself? No wonder people are lost after a breakup. We put everything we have and all of ourselves into it. It’s no wonder we’re left feeling empty and as if someone ripped the road map out from under our feet.

In no way am I saying we shouldn’t work hard at our relationships. But take care to get to know yourself first – “find your bliss” as comedian Kathy Buckley says. It seems to me that we don’t spend enough time on ourselves, investing so that when the right person does come along, we can only add positivity to it, and not worry what effect a breakup will have (other than the normal stuff).

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