The question that has been the origin of debate for decades: What is more rewarding? Being in a relationship, or being single? I’m going to take you through the pros and cons of both and give my reasoning for why I ultimately believe that being in a relationship is far more rewarding.
Relationship Pro: You will Usually have Something to do
When you are in a relationship, it is hard to not have something to do during the day. Even the days when you don’t have anything to do, you still have something to do. Confused? Let me explain. When you’re single and all of your friends are busy, your family is out of town, you don’t have work or classes that day, or nothing that’s going on really seems appealing, there’s not really much more you can do to make plans unless you want to go out alone, and who wants to do that?
On the flip side, when you’re in a relationship and are faced with the same circumstances, or maybe you and your partner just don’t want to go out, you still have something to do. You’re with the person you love (or depending on the stage of the relationship, someone you want to grow with). Stay in and have a relaxing day. Curl up with your partner and watch a movie, start a new show, play some games. This stuff you could of course still do by yourself, but when you do it with your partner it is much more fulfilling. Anything you do with them is quality time that you will both be happy you spent with each other. No plans? No problem.
This, however, is based on the assumption that you and your significant other live either with each other or near each other, which brings me to a relationship con.
Relationship Con: Distance Sucks
Long distance relationships can be just as rewarding if you are with the right person, but that doesn’t mean the distance is fun. I’ve heard time and time again the saying “absence makes the heart grow fonder.” That’s true, but it doesn’t mean the distance itself is enjoyable. It’s similar to telling someone with a bad cold that he shouldn’t view his clogged nose as a negative experience because it will make him appreciate more his ability to breathe freely following the sickness. Even though the assertion is true, the experience itself is still no more enjoyable.
Single Pro: Less Commitments
I want to make it clear that I do not mean less commitment in the sense of being committed to someone. I mean obligations regarding scheduling and time management. Ironically enough, this is not something that people in long distance relationships face. Making commitments and sticking to them can be challenging to some, and time management is not always a person’s strong suit. People who make plans a week in advance can sometimes forget they’ve made that commitment and end up booking something that overlaps that period of time.
I personally love spending time with my girlfriend, and since she gets along with all of my friends, having time for everyone I want to see and everything I want to do on any given day is hardly ever an issue. However, I wasn’t always good with time management, and in previous relationships I ran into problems surrounding it numerous times.
Single Con: Loneliness
Okay, I’m not saying that if you’re single you are always going to be lonely, but I can promise you this: Days will come when something is going wrong and you won’t feel comfortable talking to anyone about it. You won’t want to burden your friends with such a problem, or maybe you don’t trust anyone with what is happening – and let’s be honest. These days it is not typical for one to make their family a first responder to a mental breakdown.
In a healthy and loving relationship, this is seldom ever an issue. Ideally, you and your partner will be able to talk to each other about anything, and usually they are the only person you will want to talk about certain things with. In a relationship, both parties gain a confidant, and ditch the loneliness.
Relationship Pro: Someone to be Yourself Around
Everybody has a side to themselves that they usually keep to themselves. It is generally not a bad side, but it could be something you are maybe embarrassed to share with the world. If you are with someone who truly loves you, worries about truly being yourself fly right out the window. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve seen my girlfriend do something hilariously goofy and then look to me and say “I’m literally not like this with anyone else.”
The best part is she always has a smile on her face. She’s not saying it because she messed up or did something wrong. She says it with a smile because she’s happy that she’s able to act that way around me and not be judged. Instead, she is appreciated. The result is the same when I am myself around her. There is no real judgement – only jokes and appreciation.
Relationship Con: Worries
If you told me you never worry about your partner, I would gladly look you in the face and call you a liar. Even the smallest amounts of anxiety can fall into this category, whether it’s worrying about your partner when they walk down the street alone at night, or feeling anxious when they are being curt with you, worries will arise. It is inevitable.
Of course, any specifics will depend on the stage of the relationship. Married couples tend to worry about vastly different things than those in dating relationships. Relationships of any kind are incredibly dynamic, and as the positives change over time, so will the negatives. When worries do arise, the key is to communicate them in a thoughtful manner. Without communication, they will bottle up and grow into a much larger issue and, eventually, they will come out – far stronger than intended.
Single Pro: You can Search for that Special Someone all you Want…
…if you catch my drift.
Relationship Pro: You may have Already Found that Special Someone
The saying “when you know, you know” gets tossed around a lot, and it really does have some weight to it. When you know, you really do know. If you feel like the person you are with really might be the one, don’t fight that feeling – explore it! The idea of forever can be very intimidating to some, and rightfully so. Not everybody is ready for that level of commitment, and even if you are, it can still seem scary. I constantly hear people tell me they are afraid of commitment, and it can almost always be traced back to something deeper: a fear of getting hurt.
People who experience this fear may be shocked to learn how many others are in the same boat. The thing is, if you let that fear control you, you may never find what you are looking for. Contentedness does not equate to happiness. Those who want to stay alone tend to want to shield themselves from repeating painful experiences. Only when we open up will we discover the truth behind our biology – humans are not innately isolated creatures; we thrive on companionship. The deepest way to experience love and companionship is undeniably through a loving romantic relationship.
“For love, we will climb mountains, cross seas, traverse desert sands, and endure untold hardships. Without love, mountains become unclimbable, seas uncrossable, deserts unbearable, and hardships our plight in life.” -Gary Chapman