Status: Me, Regardless.

Relationships are complicated.

There are the parts that people see–the social aspect, and then there’s the stuff that goes on behind closed doors; the late-night conversations, the stolen moments, the whispers that you and that person share. Behind-the-scenes, a relationship may not be what it is perceived to be on the outside.

I love my friends like family. So, like is typical in my family, when they start dating someone, I eye what’s going on, I make notes in my head, I try to figure out what makes this person tick. One of my closest friends started dating someone who I know to be slightly…creepy, for lack of a better word. A mutual friend mentioned that he had also noticed some changes in our friend. After our conversation, it got me thinking.

Is my friend with the guy she’s with because she wants him, or because he makes her feel wanted? Is it the guy or the status that being in a relationship brings?

How many people does this apply to?

This played on my mind even more. How many people define their happiness, their self-worth, et cetera, on their relationship status? How many people see themselves as a mirror reflecting how many dates they’ve had or how many relationships they’ve managed to have?

I may not have been on this earth a ridiculously long time, but I’ve been on it long enough to see that people tend to estimate themselves based on the opinion of others; on the social standards and expectations presented to us.

While I could easily delve into each and every one of those expectations and pressures, my focus is the pressure placed on people to be in relationships, if not be the King/Queen of Flings.

The sad thing is, this pressure has been around for centuries. Of course, in earlier decades, it was the pressure to wed. Now that comes later, but there is a push for relationships that will result in marriage.

One of the things I’ve noticed is that many people jump into relationships and lose themselves or they jump in before they ever got the chance to figure out who they were. Why is it that we all place this weight on the value of romantic relationships but there is so little weight put on the relationship we have with ourselves?

It is my belief that in order to truly love somebody else, one has to be able to love themselves. If you’re ridiculously insecure, how will that make for a good relationship? The society we live in is quick to jump to the conclusion that a relationship will solve everything. We know it won’t, but still, this is rammed down our throats from infancy. Movies, books, television, advertisements, et cetera, all reiterate the same idea; there is no escaping it. Being in a relationship won’t suddenly make you look at your thighs in a positive light, it won’t shrink your waist, or clear up your skin, or get you that promotion at work. It won’t improve your other relationships, or your grades; that’s all up to you.

Yes, I am single, but I’m also me. I don’t need another person to make me happy or to push me to do what I need to do. That’s my job. If I’m not happy, it’s up to me to fix it. If I pack on ten pounds, it’s my job to work out to change that (if I choose to). If I want to be taken more seriously in work, I’m going to work harder, not go out with people and complain about it.

In the same breath, I’d be me even if I was in a relationship. Regardless of whether or not you’re with someone, you should be confident in yourself and willing to define yourself without that person, but still be considerate of the person you’re with (though you should just be considerate in general). We are all individuals. Dating someone doesn’t make you better than anyone else (no, I don’t care if he’s the richest or the most handsome or the most talented); it doesn’t make you better than the you prior to being in a relationship. It’s just you with another person.

If I could get my friend to listen, that’s what I’d tell her: Your relationship status does NOT define you.

[A/N:] I apologize for the rambling and some of the more incoherent phrasings, but, as stated in the introduction, I’m writing in a stream of consciousness.

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