I often find myself asking, “Is being in a relationship actually necessary?” to myself and a few others. Relationship here refers to an intimate relationship rather than friendship if you haven’t already noticed — although “many close friendships begin with romantic feelings, and we don’t like to admit it.”
I’ve always been curious about this, yet I have never once gotten an answer — or maybe there isn’t an answer. I may offer an explanation for this curiosity of mine but that isn’t the point.
Part of the reason why I felt compelled into writing this topic is because recently, one of my close friends just broke up with his longtime girlfriend — which I never, ever would have thought it could happen between them two. His girlfriend was a kind and naively-nice (gullible and innocent, if you will) lady, the type that you definitely wouldn’t expect to be the reason for the breakup, yet she was. To be honest, it was kinda none-of-my-business yet it seemed like I took this breakup much harder than my friend did; and somehow, strangely, I felt betrayed. Maybe because I hung out with that couple one too many times, and inadvertently had expectations of them — I expected that they’d get married, have kids and live happily-ever-after. But nooo, one day, after 3 long years of being together, she decided that what my friend has been doing all this while wasn’t enough to make her feel special — she wanted more.
“Kill expectations, as it kills happiness.”
I don’t actually have a lot of friends being in a relationship that long. My closest friend, whom I have known for more than half a decade, is currently in a relationship of 6 years. I don’t see them breaking up in the near future, or I hope they don’t at the very least. It occurred to me why they are still together — both parties believe that they are reaching for someone better, someone with so much more to offer, someone that is worth striving for, and more importantly, they both compromise. Have you ever heard that in every relationship, there will be a ‘settler’, and also the ‘reacher’. As the name implies, settler settles, for someone below their league; and reacher reaches, for someone above their league. And precisely because of this mindset — one party thinking that he or she may be settling for someone lesser — that many relationships end. Other times, why a relationship ends may be because the relationship wasn’t a right one to begin with — i.e. The intimate relationship began for the wrong reasons — hence the integrity of it is easily compromised.
I’ve asked my closest friend many times, “Would you rather be single right now?” It sounds mistakenly conniving — like I’d want him to break up the sort. But each time he would say something like, “Being in a relationship has its own pros and cons, likewise being single too.” I’ve always made him tell me what kind of perks there are to being in a relationship but it always ends up with him saying, “I can say ley but you’ll never understand one lah … unless you got one you never will.“
I have given much thought about the up and downsides to being in an intimate relationship. By being in a one, you’re as good as submitting yourself to ride an emotional rollercoaster, where it is both suspenseful and exciting.
For starters, expectations. In the point of view of men, women expect far too much and say too little as what women want is for men to understand them for them to feel loved — ie. Put in tireless effort to understand the complexity of a woman’s mind without any clues — which is kinda impossible. Also, the uncertainty as to where the relationship will head is another downside. Basically, no one can foretell where a relationship will head in a year, 5 years or even 10 years’ time. By getting into a relationship, you’re as good as handing over your delicate heart to the other party, because you trust the other party to handle it with utmost care. But always remember, no one can foretell the future. If one day they decide to betray your trust, it isn’t and won’t exactly be their fault that you are devastated because of it. At the end of the day, you were the one who trusted the other party, you were the one who gave the other party the key to your heart — believing that they wouldn’t lose it or break it. Additionally, accountability. You no longer have just yourself to be accountable to, you have another significant other; you are not alone anymore, and you need to make (significant) decisions together as it will affect not just you, but also them, as you both are now playing the game of life, together. So should you not get into a relationship because you wouldn’t want to risk getting hurt and feeling devastated, or being accountable to someone else?
There are plenty of perks to being in a relationship too, of course. I’ve always thought that having someone by you is great — or rather it’s fanfuckingtastic. You have someone to share the joy and pain of life with — someone to tell things to, to complain to; someone to do things with, to have fun with — and that someone that will put unceasing, tireless effort into understanding you and caring for you. It’s a great motivation as well. You will be convinced that you can go through all the difficulties that life has to offer because well, you have someone who would with you, and you would want to because of him or her too. It’s great, isn’t it? Yes, it is, until the time the other party decides to jump ship and abandon you — you can only trust they wouldn’t but, human complexity is far too great for us to accurately predict anything or anyone for that matter.
Going into an intimate relationship is complicated and rough but, that’s life too, isn’t it? Have you ever heard from others that you should find someone that is distinctively different from you? Reason being you both have much to explore and learn from each other that you won’t get bored of one another. Well.. that is a horrible advice, mate. What you should do rather, is in fact, find someone so much like you that you both understand each other at a without-a-word-spoken level. Yes, my advice is to find someone likeminded — someone that actually has the same values as you, or at the very least, similar — unless you already have a wicked mind, a rotten character and an abominable attitude in life, in which case, I highly suggest you better not get into one. In other words, my advice is to find a stable individual with a clear identity and purpose. Last but certainly not the least, and quite important at that, I think you should find a partner who is able to inspire you to improve or, be a better version of yourself every day for him or her — and yourself.
Also, I’ve gathered that communication is key. If you are able to be naked in your life — be totally transparent and vulnerable with the other party, there is no way that your relationship could go off-road — which is what my closest friend and his partner do: communicate openly, vulnerably and honestly.
With so much being said, I think I’d like to say that a relationship is much like a gamble. You have to take on the risks in hope for the rewards; you have to plant the seeds in hope for the fruits to grow as you put in abating effort day in, day out, nurturing it. If it works out, you WILL be so glad you made the gamble. If it doesn’t.. move on. Thing is, if you won’t ever bend over and search for the gem amongst the dirt on the ground, you won’t ever find it. Likewise, if you don’t ever risk anything, you still risk living your life to the absolute normalcy, and you will never ever find your significant other that could potentially propel you to greater heights. But by saying that I don’t mean to say that you need a relationship to be happy, to be successful. And to answer whether a relationship is necessary for you, I think it still depends — it ultimately lies on you to decide whether it’s a necessity or a neediness for you.