All my friends are either hooked or dating or married with kids. I am single, and though I proclaim to be a bachelor for life, I often have some self-doubt about whether I’m just afraid of all that comes with initiating and sustaining a relationship which would make me an escapist, or am I really happy as a bachelor ? How can I know for sure whether my decision is right for me? What if I have a huge blind area of my personality and what if I regret not being in a relationship a few years down the line when all my friends are fully absorbed in family life and only hang out with other couples? Please shed some light.
As human beings, we all have blind areas to our personalities. However, it is our responsibility to find out what we really want from our lives and to act with clarity so that we can tactfully, patiently and mindfully go after what we really want. In the adult world, there are no ‘permanent handouts’ from ‘nice people’. The world always exacts a price for what it seeks and offers. Human beings have a way of thinking up clever ways to have their needs met. If you have a need that you would like to address, you’re going to have to introspect for a little bit longer. A friendly chat with a counsellor may prove revealing. All human beings regardless of where they come from must make decisions based on a best guess and then learn to deal with the weight of those decisions. If your friends are dating or married with kids, then that was indeed their decision to make. Many romances culminate in marriages due to the following reasons – To celebrate love, the pursuit of companionship, the assurance of sex with the same partner, the desire to have kids and give birth to a new generation, because a person feels lonely being single, because a marriage would make their families happy in general, because a family member requires ‘caring’ for, because someone wanted to get married at the socially indexed ‘right age’, because marrying may accrue to someone certain financial rewards or opportunities to upgrade their lifestyle, to spite and invoke jealousy in an ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend or even due to the guilt of ‘going too far sexually’ with another person. As you can see, people get married for various reasons and it is indeed difficult to postulate what reasons were chosen by people to ‘tie the knot’.
Now let’s try and understand why you feel the need to declare your intentions to the world. Telling people that you are a bachelor for life is not the same as merely enjoying your own company and in fact going down the path of being a bachelor for life. The fact that you find the need to make proclamations possibly indicates that you might secretly hanker for the ‘approval’ of others since perhaps a part of you ‘doesn’t approve’ of yourself. Is making these declarations a way to justify your decision to stay single to yourself by now making it ‘official’ to other people? What are you really afraid of?
Know that in all relationships, you’re going to have to negotiate and compromise to find win-win solutions. This can’t happen if you’re escaping yourself. Make a detailed pro and con inventory on why you feel like marriage may be an interesting choice for you versus why you feel like you ought to continue to be single. List building is one of the basic techniques of clarity so you can see which way the choices are skewed.
The thing about regret is that it’s always felt as an afterthought to something you’ve said or done (at the outset) that may have felt like a great idea in the moment it occurred. So regret by its very definition cannot be felt pre-emptively. Fear can be felt in advance of making a decision and the thing about fear is that it’s usually a cover emotion for a discomfort we feel with ‘a change’ that we may not be quite ready for.
Life is transient and sometimes opaque. We may not always know about the end destination as we choose a road to walk down but what we can be sure of is ‘what motivates us’ to go down that road.
If your friends chose to filter out their friend circle to only hang out with other couples, that would mean that their duration process of ‘people to hang out with’ is based on marital status as opposed to ‘whom they have an emotional connect’ or ‘value match’ with. Such friendships are shallow, image friendly but mostly tacit alliances based on the need to address boredom and loneliness.
A hard choice doesn’t need a soft landing. As a bachelor you’re surely a lot more free to do what you want to do – without having to ‘check in’ with another person’s requirements, schedule and moods but as a companion you have someone to share your life journey with. Whatever you choose, you’re not going to get everything on your terms so put some thought into it before you plan your best course of action.