Numerous studies, like the one conducted by the University of Buffalo, show that being single or in a high-quality relationship is more beneficial for one’s health than ever being in an unsatisfying or abusive one. This isn’t to say that romance shouldn’t be pursued at all. It, like familial love, is a part of human nature, and should not be stamped out or suppressed just as it was in the ancient world.
The unfortunate part is that the older you get without a long-term relationship and frequent sex with a romantic partner, the more you’re viewed as pitiful or shrewd. The viewpoint is worse for women as they get older than it is for men, of course. The terms “old shrew,” “spinster,” “cougar,” or “old witches” didn’t come from thin air, after all. If a woman isn’t in a relationship with anyone she is a spinster or a prude. If she’s experiencing frequent relations, but not in a serious relationship, she’s disrespected as well. These terms are regarded for women over 30 who have never been married and don’t have a romantic partner—typically, a husband or boyfriend—in their lives.
Perhaps it is time to make a slight detour from the quest for romance. It works out exceedingly well for some, but it doesn’t work out well for others. A man in his 50s or 60s shouldn’t feel obligated to find love and get married just because it is more socially acceptable. A businesswoman in her 20s or 30s should not feel an expectation to put her career on hold in order to marry and raise a family. Our views on romantic love are a little warped and a lot obsessive.
Romance is a strong part of our lives. It’s inundated in our media, our conversations, and our decisions when moving forward with our futures. That’s inarguable. But, it also makes you wonder: Where does that leave people who never have a long-term romantic partner, get married, or have kids? How does our view of romantic love’s fundamental importance affect them?
Regardless of reasoning, being single in today’s society is seen as somewhat of an oddity, despite the push for more acceptance among millennials to deemphasize the importance of having a romantic partner in life.
As according to Mark Manson, once Hollywood got a hold of romantic love, it celebrated it into oblivion and placed it on a pedestal. Movies and shows focus on the most passionate, dramatic moments, and how the couple lives happily ever after instead of the real effort a romantic relationship takes to thrive and last.
There is thus, a real danger to society by clenching onto romantic love. Abusive romantic relationships (or even unsatisfying ones) are an unfortunate side effect of human interaction. Some people even feel that being in an abusive or tumultuous relationship is better than being single. This is because the idea of that fairy tale romance and marriage is so ingrained in us as a goal that we fear being alone, of being losers or weirdos because we don’t have anyone to share a bed with at night.
The moral here is that as a society, it is high time our definition of a successful life be expanded to include the worth of other relationships that can be just as fulfilling as a romantic one. The love of parents, siblings, friends, God(or otherwise) and yes, even the desire for personal success, are all just as worthwhile as romance. The focus on finding a permanent romantic partner should be expanded to include maintaining positive friendships and familial relationships. We’re not expected to focus the majority of our time and effort cooking and perfecting one dish, are we? So why are we all expected to wholly focus on one type of relationship for the majority of our lives?
What do YOU think? Tell me in the comment section below.