Today, I want to address the idea of sacrifice, and how it relates to life as a single person.
To put it simply, I do not see being single as a sacrifice at all. I do not see my choice to remain so for a currently indefinite amount of time to be a sacrifice. I do not think I am sacrificing happiness or physical affection in order to remain so.
Nor do I think I’ll be sacrificing my values should I happen to enter into a relationship in the future.
There’s a very odd (to my mind) ideas that I’ve been observing in society;
Being Single is a Sacrifice.
To be Voluntarily Single means that we must make certain Sacrifices.
Voluntarily Single People have less options than those in Relationships
These ‘sacrifices’ and ‘options’ are generally involving things like romance, affection, and sex. I’m sure there are single people who voluntarily abstain for such things for any variety of reasons and I am supportive of their choice, but I’m rather annoyed by the assumption that such things are mutually exclusive. This strange social idea that I cannot remain voluntarily single while being romantic or affectionate or sexual.
To me, these are all states of mind, or ways of being. They are not an event or a present or a person. I think its perfectly possible to be affectionate with yourself or even romantic or sexual. I suppose some people will tell me that I’m verging on narcissistic, but like I said, I see these as states of mind and I don’t see how this is connected to my relationship status in any way.
I suppose that having a partner does give you the benefit of an individual who is socially expected to meet these requirements, but I find that idea quite presumptuous.
What if they don’t want to? What if they can’t? What if you need more or less than they are comfortable giving? In regards to sex; What if they are asexual? What if you are? What if they aren’t sexually attracted to you? What if you aren’t sexually attracted to them? (I suppose if your relationship is based on the idea of having sex, that would be a reason to end it… but thats another argument) What if their style of romance/sex/affection does not work for you? What if you need something they cannot give you?
Why do we assume that someone else should be solely responsible for all of the affection, romance, and sex that we need? The very idea that all of my own needs and desires should be a partner’s responsibility just rubs me the wrong way. Conversely the idea that I should be responsible for all of a partner’s needs and desires also strikes me as wrong.
I was talking to my friend recently and she brought up the idea that different people can fulfill different functions (I know it sounds clinical, but go with me on this) in our lives. The person we cuddle with might not be the person we talk about our day with or the person we have sex with.
I like this idea that we don’t need to expect all our needs to be requited by the same person and I’m really confused as to why I haven’t thought of it before. Why are we programmed to believe in having a ‘One and Only’? Why do I have these thoughts in my head?
This idea of ‘One and Only’ is oddly bizarre now that I analyze it. It’s like believing that all you need is one person on a desert island. That we are completely isolated from everyone and everything around us.
No man is an island, Entire of itself. Each is a piece of the continent, A part of the main. — John Donne
I accept that people often have a primary relationship, often a monogamous romantic one, but that does not preclude them from having friends or people that they are affectionate with. In fact, now that I think about it, that often doesn’t preclude them from having sexual/romantic/affectionate relations with anyone they fancy. In fact I would argue that having different people serve different functions is the norm and not the aberration.
I am not suggesting that people should cheat on their primary monogamous partners, I am merely pointing out that it is done. The FACT that it is done shows the inherent fallacy of the ‘one and only’ argument, (When did I start arguing?) since the primary reason for cheating seems to be to fulfill a need that isn’t being met. (Note: I think for some people that need is simply the need to cheat on people, or maybe the ‘thrill’ factor)
So back to my main point
I don’t believe that being single is a reason to sacrifice the amount of affection, romance, or sex in my life. Likewise I don’t think that being in a relationship is a reason for that amount to increase. Simply put, I am the one in charge of making sure my needs are met, regardless of my relationship status and it is my job to make sure I meet my needs and ensure my mental and emotional happiness.
I’m not always good at meeting my own needs, but I think this realization will help me get better at it.