Is It Possible to Be Single (& Happy) Long-Term?

Written by: Rajiv Mirchandani

I know, I know. Your initial answer to the question is a resounding, “Hell nah!” And I definitely understand that. It seems like we’re groomed from an early age to get a degree, get a great job, and most importantly, get married and start a family. Even before you get to that whole marriage part, the pressure to just have someone to date is nuts!

That’s why online dating has become so much more acceptable during these past few years. When you see someone swiping left and right on their phone, you automatically know they’re on Tinder. Everyone and their moms are on Okcupid. When you see an Eharmony or Match.com commercial, you no longer automatically laugh at the idea of anyone trying such a thing. With today’s technology, you can’t really escape that ever-so-present pressure to find someone. Even if we look past the online dating for a second, it’s apparent that our behaviors reflect this “chase” to find happiness through relationships.

In our 20’s, we date around just so that we don’t feel lonely. You’ll still be single. But hey! As long as you’re dating someone, you’re falsely comforted by the fact that you’re at least trying to find someone. As you get into your late 20’s and into your 30’s, you can’t even open up Facebook without seeing “Mike is engaged to Sarah!” and automatically having your (still single) life flash before your eyes! Why do we do these things? Why do we act like this? Well, part of it is because we’re living in a time when not having a partner is almost seen as unacceptable.

These external pressures aren’t the only reason why people don’t find peace in their own singleness anymore. When we add in our own internal problems and baggage, it really makes it that much worse! Think about every heartbreak you’ve ever been through. Yes, you were sad because you cared for that person, you connected with them, you loved them and you wreck your brain wondering why it didn’t work out. But why else does heartbreak feel so devastating? I would say it’s because the idea of starting that whole process all over again (with a different person) is FRUSTRATING. That shit isn’t easy to go through over and over and over again. You just got over heartbreak, which was extremely difficult to do. You’re finally ready to get back out there. But now, not only do you have to find someone new, establish that connection again, and make sure you don’t make the same mistakes again, but you still have to deal with the pressure that society has deemed upon you to get it right this time. It’s almost like starting over at square one, but with double the pressure every time a potential relationship doesn’t work out for you. This is a HUGE reason why being single can be hard at times. I mean, constant failure resulting in being single AND heartbroken would make anyone hate being single. I think the real problem is the heartbreak, not the singleness. So why don’t we just cut out that part.

So to recap all that I’ve talked about thus far, the two biggest obstacles to happiness through singleness are 1) the society that puts an emphasis on having a partner, and 2) our past failed relationships and failed potential relationships that eat us alive while we’re single.

So, is it really possible to be single AND happy for an extended period of time? My answer is, yes! BUT, it’s not for everyone. The best way to achieve this is to stop dating. I know what you’re thinking. “Rajiv, I can’t just STOP dating!” Like Sherman Klump says in Nutty Professor, you need to say, “Yes I can!” If you chose to stop dating, you would literally wipe out obstacle number two. If you don’t date anymore, you don’t run the risk of failing to secure the relationship. This means no heartbreak, no losing your mind over why things failed, no worrying about how in the hell you’re going to be able to go through that grueling process again. I know this is an extreme step, but like I said, it’s not for everyone. Now that you think I’m absolutely crazy, I can briefly fill you in on my experience, which might help you to understand where I’m coming from.

I’ve always been the guy that women meet when they’re “not ready for a relationship,” for whatever reason. Maybe it’s their past, maybe they’re just lying, who knows? Basically, they meet me, they date me, they like me, but their heart is so hardened to a relationship that eventually things end between us. And then, like clockwork, between two and four months later, I find out that the same girl who wasn’t ready to commit to me, is now conveniently in a relationship with someone else. This has happened to me enough to know that these women are not the issue. The issue is with me, and I’ll be the first to admit it. It definitely hurt every time, it left me wondering what I did wrong every time.

But then I realized something. Maybe I’m just not “relationship material.” Maybe I’m simply the guy that warms you up to the idea of a relationship, so that next time you won’t be so against it. This was definitely a scary/depressing thing to think about at first. But after giving it some extra thought, I realized that maybe it isn’t the worst thing in the world.

In reality, maybe I’ve helped a few women get out of their shell just enough to give the next guy a fighting chance. It sounds cocky, I know. But do you see what I did there? I took the negative heartbreaking situation, and I spun it to become something positive. As simple as it may seem, I think that is one of the keys to being happy while you’re single. If you accept the fact that dating isn’t working for you at the moment (or ever), then simply don’t do it, and realize that it isn’t a bad thing at all! Remember, the heartbreak is the real problem here, not necessarily the singleness. The best way to cut out the heartbreak is to cut out the dating!

Ok, Rajiv. You’re nuts. But I’ll humor you. We’ve gotten rid of obstacle two. What about obstacle one? Well, I’m glad you asked! Obstacle one is living in a society that constantly pushes you to believe that being single doesn’t come close to the happiness of being in a relationship. As bad as it’s been in modern society, this pressure to find your match has been around for a long time! However, I would argue that it hasn’t been around forever.

If you look at our basic biological tendencies and needs, being in a relationship isn’t technically one of them. Biologically, we need air, food, drink, shelter, warmth, and my personal favorite, we have the need to fuck! As you may very well know, you don’t need a committed relationship to do any of that (fucking included). If we can make a conscious effort to remember that finding a partner is more of a cultural ideology instead of an actual need, then maybe, just maybe we can overcome this obstacle.

Now, I’m not writing this as a claim to have all the answers. I’m not writing this as a guide on how to be happy. I’m not even writing this to suggest that being single is better than being in a relationship. I’m simply writing this as my personal take on what I’ve observed, what I’ve experienced and what I’ve learned. It may not always be easy, and it may not be the ideal path for most people, but I truly believe that you can be happy in your own singleness for long periods of time. If you put your heartbreaks into a positive, avoid future ones by avoiding dating for a while, and educate yourself on the truth about our culture on relationships vs. singleness, then you’ll have a good chance at this thing! I think it was George Clooney that said, “Life is better with a co-pilot.”

I think life can be just as good when you fly solo.

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