When we are growing up, the concept of love and marriage is thrust upon us from an early age. We see our parents, our friend’s parents, other family members, television and the internet, portraying loving parental relationships with not a care in the world.
So finding love and getting married is the norm, and as a result, we strive to attain what we see everybody else has.
Over time, our minds have been conditioned to believe that if we are single then we cannot be happy. Others around us might believe that there is something “wrong” with us, or that we are simply “not good enough”.
Culture, religion and gender roles, among other things, can also impact our quest to find a meaningful relationship.
There are several factors in determining why some of us may feel depressed by being single:
Society Pressure to Get Married
Recent studies have shown that young adults of today were 177 per cent more likely to feel pressure to get married, compared to previous generations. The results showed a range of reasons, from wanting a partner and children to simply pleasing their parents.
The comparisons to previous generations are still widely upheld by many, even though our society has become a more free and tolerant environment. Gone are the days where women are expected to be married by a certain age, stay at home, raise the children and feed their husbands.
Women of today are feeling more empowered to have a career, travel extensively or put themselves first before deciding to settle down and have a family. So why do some women feel as though this isn’t an option for them?
Cultural Significance and Expectation
For some cultures, marriage is still highly regarded as a symbol of social status. But several studies have shown that Australians today don’t emphasise marriage as much as previous generations.
Many cultures see marriage as the cornerstone to family life and raising children. Cultures that place a very high value on family and having children are bound to place more pressure on those around them to settle down. As a result, our efforts to please society and be met with social approval means we endeavour to get married.
But with today’s world becoming a more open-minded environment, what if you don’t want what your parents want? This question is more commonly being asked by today’s young adults and is the cause for much anxiety and depression.
Gender Identity and Stereotypes
Gender roles and identities have become more traditionally ambiguous in recent years. But modern day society still leans toward identifying how males and females should think, speak, dress and live. There is still the perception that men are the dominant sex, strong and independent, while women need to be protected.
All of this is reinforced by additional social factors, such as the internet and social media. Our learning of gender roles always occurs socially. The values of the parents and their society is essentially being passed along to the children of successive generations.
These stereotypes often undermine an individual in our more modern world. With society today being a more progressive one, many people’s opinions are becoming more in-tune to their own personal satisfaction, instead of fighting to please everybody else around them.
This can cause conflict among family members or relationships and an increased risk of mental and physical health problems.
Learning to be Happy and Single
While some of us are happier in a relationship, we can’t always guarantee that we’ll be in one. There will be times when circumstances dictate that we will be single – maybe a previous relationship has ended, work commitments get in the way, or a partner has passed away.
If you’re unable to cope with being alone, being single can be a very lonely and difficult time. These times can raise feelings of missing out on something, or like you are doing something wrong. It is often in these times that we pursue a new relationship for the wrong reasons, which typically continues the vicious cycle.
Some people crave companionship more than others, preferring to be in a relationship rather than spend time alone. While there is nothing wrong with this, it may become an issue if you start to come undone when you are not in a relationship.
Some helpful questions to ask yourself are as follows:
What scares me about not being in a relationship? – Breaking things down to specific issues can help you begin to understand what’s holding you back.
Are others judging me because I am single? – Think about trying to focus less on other people’s opinions, and more on how YOU feel.
Was there anything in my upbringing or in previous relationships that could be affecting how I think now? – This could be learned behaviours from when you were younger, or specific issues related to trauma.
What do I want in a relationship? – Having a better understanding of who you are and what you want can help you to feel more independent.
How important is an intimate, loving, caring relationship and how can I attract a healthy and complimentary one? – Sometimes our past behavioural patterns need to be addressed and change is required within ourselves before we can attract the perfect partner.
There’s no doubt that positive relationships are often hard to find, and maintain, in today’s world. This is especially true in regard to intimate relationships as thoughts and feelings are often heightened, due to the intimate actions (and reactions) we share with one another.
It’s not all about you and your behaviour, but a myriad of factors that your partner brings into the union, and how you are required to deal with them.
Finding a partner that we can form a relationship with is hard work, and is dependent upon both partners supporting each other, over time, through thick and thin.
When separations occur, our negative experiences with previous relationship breakdowns can severely impact how we relate to future partners. It is in our nature to avoid having to deal with those negativities again.
Counselling@Voxen is here to help if you feel like you’re stuck in a rut. Book a session today so we can help you overcome your fears and anxieties about being alone in today’s world.