I was talking to a friend the other day about how our society tends to define how we’re supposed to view relationships. It’s funny that we grow up with a concept of belonging.

Ever since I was a child, hell even back to first grade, it was engrained in our heads that to be attached is the ideal. If you didn’t have a boyfriend or girlfriend you were a loser, a loner, and unlovable. I watched all of my friends hook up in grade school. It was a BIG deal to have a steady boyfriend/girlfriend. It was serious.

That’s the way it looked from the way our culture sets it up. It was all set in bold even more by the fact that break-ups were huge! There they were, these kids, not even twelve years old feeling as if they had failed at life because they couldn’t make a relationship last more than six months. All that mattered was that you belonged to someone.

I had a unique perspective obviously because I never hooked up with anyone. I was able to observe from the outside. I asked my dad a lot why I didn’t have a boyfriend. He would say that it would happen when it happens like it was going to be some cosmic magical force that was destined in life. Looking back, I find it rather absurd and amusing. I guess he certainly couldn’t have just said, “you don’t fit the standard mold of what people are looking for.” That would have been too cruel so I thank him for that.

In retrospect, I’m very glad I never had to ride the crazy rollercoaster of relationship issues my peers went through. At a certain point in high school, I decided I didn’t really need boys (or girls) to feel whole. My girlfriends would spend so much time obsessing and lamenting and constantly saying, “I need a man! I need a man! I want a man!” 

My mantra back to them is, “You don’t need a man.” But the truth was that they didn’t just want a man. They were longing to feel whole. For most of the people around me, all I hear is how life isn’t complete without a dedicated companion. So you can imagine how disappointed people spend their whole lives based on this concept?!

I wonder why in our culture we aren’t taught to think we are enough and it’s simply the sharing and growth we gain from other people that makes the human connection so powerful and beautiful. It’s just such an unhealthy perception that we need someone else to make ourselves happy, to be complete.

It feels great no doubt, to let yourself fall…To allow those social constructs of happiness seem to check themselves off the list. Even the most cynical of people want to fall in love, get married, and share a lasting, passionate, comfortable life together. The sad truth though is that no one can “make” you happy except you and that’s a scary fact to be confronted with. It’s way easier to put your life’s happiness in the hands of an external force.

Of course after all my stupid psychoanalyzing and coming to terms with this, I have not yet come to any solution as to become my own source of happiness. I guess just like everyone else, I’m hoping it’s as simple the happiness fairy coming by and sprinkling me with happy dust. [insert pharmaceutical joke here]. And this where I loop back around to my default defense mechanism: Isn’t happiness over-rated? If we chase happiness, won’t we always feel unhappy?