Despite all the doom and gloom, love and relationships are not yet down for the count.
The truth is that many relationships are happy and are fulfilling!
And when you look at the subject overall it’s clear to see that people in relationships are generally happier than single people.
1) Relationships help you grow
“Relationships are hard work. Long-term relationships aren’t as good as you think, trust me.”
I can’t count how many times people have said that to me in a way to discourage me from wanting one.
The people telling me this are almost always folks who have had their hearts broken or are in a relationship with someone they don’t really like.
The truth is that the difficulty of relationships is part of why they’re worth it.
Even when they don’t work out, they help you grow and learn more than almost anything.
You grow in yourself as a person and in navigating conflict and understanding who you are and how to relate intimately to another human being.
That’s a deep and worthwhile thing, most definitely.
2) Relationships improve your health
Relationships are good for your health, generally speaking.
Some relationships are toxic, unhealthy, and destructive, of course, but overall people in relationships are healthier.
It comes down to biology and neuropsychology.
When we’re in a relationship, we’re engaging in the kind of close social and intimate bond that humans evolved to have as part of the survival process.
This in turn stimulates health across the board, including boosting the immune system, a sense of well being and longevity.
As Better Health website from the Government of Australia’s Department of Health notes:
“Strong, healthy relationships can also help to strengthen your immune system, help you recover from disease, and may even lengthen your life.”
3) Relationships can make you feel more validated
There’s no doubt that relationships are a powerful form of validation.
Knowing somebody has feelings for you that you also feel is deeply intoxicating.
The irony, however, is that often the most rewarding and long relationships are those in which each partner already feels internally validated without the need for the external.
Still, I think it’s very important to be honest about what’s going on here:
Validation can be a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy.
When you get it early on in life and then in relationships, it just keeps rolling.
But if you have gotten the message that you’re unworthy or unwanted, it can be very hard to kick.
And when you’re single and beset by doubts about your worth or even unable to find a partner you want, it can be an extremely miserable experience.
As graduate psychology researcher Arash Emamzadeh notes:
“There is a difference between choosing to be single and failing to find a suitable partner—or singlehood that results from being divorced or widowed.”
4) Relationships encourage you to reduce neediness
Relationships are also worth pursuing because they help you be less needy.
When you’re in a relationship you receive a certain level of validation just by being wanted in that way.
This can sometimes assist in dropping the part of yourself which is very focused on being validated or found “good enough.”
You can let that relax and focus on other parts of your life, such as your physical health, career or other goals.
Now, to be sure, some people in relationships are still needy and can even fall into codependence.
Despite knowing their partner cares about them, they may seek constant reminders and reapproval.
This can be a huge roadblock in the path to finding true love and intimacy, which is something I was really helped out with by this free masterclass on how to find love from the shaman Rudá Iandé.
5) Relationships can help you to drop bad habits
One of the biggest reasons people in relationships are happier than single people is that relationships can help motivate us to be better people.
When you love somebody, you care what they think about you and their vision of you.
This can include doing your best to drop bad habits that annoy or distress your partner.
It might be everything from finally getting help for your intense snoring issue to working on quitting smoking or dealing with depression that’s been hounding you and left untreated.
“In romantic relationships, a partner often gives up bad habits—like heavy drinking or smoking—in support of the relationship,” explains the University of Utah’s Health Program.
“As a result, healthy habits increase longevity.”
6) Relationships hold up a mirror to our faults
Relationships aren’t all easy or fun, which is part of why they tend to be so rewarding with the right person.
One way in which they can be rewarding is by holding up a mirror to our faults.
When you are in close contact and intimacy with someone, you may notice many deficiencies or problems in yourself that you weren’t previously very conscious of.
These could be difficult ways you express your feelings all the way to a tendency to be over-controlling, overly critical, or start arguments when you don’t get your way.
You may also notice how your words and behavior affect your partner and feel a strong urge to improve and change how you relate to them as part of your relationship.
Then, as you make changes and your understanding clarifies, you feel a sense of joy that you are making progress.
7) Relationships can deepen meaning in our lives
Relationships are never something which we should cling to as an idol.
But I think it’s important to be brutally honest here:
One of the top reasons people in relationships are happier than single people is that relationships can give a deeper meaning in our lives that’s often lacking when we’re single.
Humans are tribal animals, and we get stronger when we relate in close ways to other humans.
This can be friendship and family, and being single can give us invaluable time to grow and mature.
But there’s no real replacement for the kind of meaning and motivation that a love relationship provides.
It lights a fire in your soul and makes you see life and love in a thousand ways you never thought of or experienced before.
8) Relationships challenge your comfort zone and introduce you to new things
When you’re on your own and can make your own decisions, you tend to stay in your comfort zone.
This isn’t true of everyone, of course, but as a general rule, you do your job and you use your free time to do what you want or attend to other responsibilities.
It’s different in a relationship. Your time isn’t all your own, and you may be asked to try new things and step outside your comfort zone.
That could start with being patient while your girlfriend shops the racks at the big store downtown…
…And could extend to learning about a new culture that your partner belongs to, or spiritual beliefs they practice!
There’s a lot that you can be exposed to and learn about when you’re in a relationship that you otherwise might not ever learn about or discover.
That’s the beauty of it.
9) Relationships can provide a high amount of physical intimacy
Sex doesn’t make you happy, and anyone who says it does is trying to book you an escort service or has a pretty shallow view of life.
But sex with a beautiful person is unlikely to make you unhappy, and in the right context, it can be a part of a committed partnership.
That’s one of the reasons people in relationships are happier than single people:
They’re getting laid.
Not to be too blunt about it, but the studies show that younger generations are having less sex with more partners.
This has been correlated with increased depression and lower life satisfaction.
“Researchers have found that Generation Z is less likely to be having regular sex than their parents and grandparents.”
Relationships aren’t always sexually exciting, but having sex repeatedly with one person you have feelings for can be a lot better than just seeing who pops up next on your smartphone screen.
10) Relationships boost our communication skills
Being in a relationship means learning to communicate effectively.
Most partners who don’t learn how to understand the other end up breaking up quite quickly.
Communication skills undergo a stress test like almost nothing else when they are forged between two intimate partners.
You need to ensure that you’re being heard, but also that you’re listening.
You need to learn not to read into bad moods as necessarily being related to you.
You need to sometimes ask for space and be firm but polite about it in a way that’s understood.
You need to learn to listen to anger or frustration without immediately lashing back.
One of the most frustrating things in the world is wanting to tell somebody something but not knowing how or in what manner to do so.
When you crack that code and find your voice in a relationship, it’s a eureka! moment.
Relationships are a communication masterclass, and in this way, they make us much happier by improving our ability to communicate across the spectrum.
11) Relationships can help avoid chronic loneliness
Let me be clear:
Not all single people are lonely, and many may have chosen to be single and be excelling at it.
But one of the general reasons people in relationships are happier than single people is that they have a higher chance of avoiding the negative impact of chronic loneliness.
Having another person around doesn’t mean you won’t be lonely, but it certainly means it’s at least less likely.
And when you’re lonely, you suffer.
You don’t only suffer emotionally and psychologically, you also suffer physically and in terms of your overall health.
Science now tells us that this is indisputably the case and that too much loneliness kills.
As author Kendra Cherry writes:
“Feelings of loneliness, including romantic loneliness, can have a serious impact on health and well-being.
Feeling isolated, unsupported, and lonely is linked to decreased immunity, worse sleep, lower cardiovascular health, and increased mental health problems.”
12) Relationships can make you choose more wisely
Another of the big advantages of relationships is that they force you to choose.
Those who might be tempted to play the field or avoid committing to one person find themselves in a situation where they have somebody special and it’s not easy to switch.
In a world of endless swiping and choice, this can be a wonderful exercise in maturity.
You can’t just easily chuck this person aside when they annoy you or when you have a day of doubt about the future of the relationship.
You’re in this boat together, at least for the time being, and that’s that.
This not only increases your fortitude and makes your decisions have more gravitas, it also tends to make you more selective and valuing of your time in the future.
In other words, even a disastrous relationship can help you by making you choose a partner more carefully next time.
This increases a sense of confidence and discernment in choosing who you go out with and why down the road, rather than just saying
“sure” to the first good-looking person who comes along.
There are various reasons people in relationships are happier than single people, which I’ve gone through above.
At the end of the day, there are many happy single people and the idea of being pressured into a relationship is wrong.
Nobody should feel invalidated or less valuable due to being single for a long time even if it’s not by choice.
That said, the value and depth of a loving romantic relationship is something we should all celebrate.
Just remember that one truthful and deep relationship is worth more than a dozen shallow and toxic relationships.
All the time you may be putting in alone or post-breakup to find a relationship that resonates is worth it!
Time is never lost, just used differently, and we’re all on various roads to deep relationships with ourselves and with others!
Can a relationship coach help you too?
If you want specific advice on your situation, it can be very helpful to speak to a relationship coach.
I know this from personal experience…
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