Towards a Happy Personal Life: Is It Unhealthy to Want Someone?

I have received many grateful messages for my series of posts on dating. This makes me think I should continue discussing issues people may confront as they attempt to build their personal lives. Today, I am inaugurating a new series called “Towards a Happy Personal Life.”

Blogger Miriam makes the following observations on her blog*:

Similarly, people are expected to be “happy on their own” before they can be dateable. That’s preposterous. If you’re 100% happy being single, why would you need a serious partner in the first place? Why is it considered unhealthy to really, really want someone to share your life with?

I believe that addressing these concerns is crucial for anybody who is currently on a journey towards personal, romantic and sexual happiness.

Let me start with the last of the questions Miriam poses:

Why is it considered unhealthy to really, really want someone to share your life with?

I am one of those people who considers this unhealthy and who always fled at a fast pace from folks “wanting someone to share their lives”. It is wrong to want “someone” because nobody wants to play the role of “someone” in your life. People normally hope to be wanted not in the capacity of just someone but, rather, individually. Wanting a specific, concrete John, Anna, Daniel, or Pepita is healthy. Imagining a relationship and then trying to massage live human beings you meet into this vision of what you want your personal life to look like scares people away.

In the course of my long and eventful dating life, I met quite a few folks who were looking for someone, for a relationship, for marriage, for commitment. Every single time, these people turned out to be completely toxic as romantic partners. They were incapable of caring about me, a specific, concrete human being with a multitude of issues, problems, distinctive features, etc. They needed a “someone”, an actor to play the part of a romantic interest in the scenario they had created for themselves. This made them completely incapable of loving another person. They loved the idea of having a partner. The actual partner, however, was a lot less exciting to them.

So here is my advice: stop wanting “someone”, stop creating scenarios of relationships in your head. Look around yourself, identify a specific Jill or Jack you like and concentrate on wanting them. If there isn’t anybody like that and hasn’t been for a while, this means you have a serious problem that you need to address.

* None of this is supposed to be a personal criticism of Miriam who is a blogger I highly respect.

(To be continued. . .)

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7 comments on “Towards a Happy Personal Life: Is It Unhealthy to Want Someone?

  1. I don’t know why relationships are difficult. If you’re doing what you want to do in life, they ought not to be. These days, I don’t mix with anybody whose goal is to create an identity for themselves. I understand them less and less. When I met Mike, it was on the Internet, over ten years ago. He decided to quit his job and come live in Australia. Our relationship was immediately physical and we have been together ever since, with no quarrels, nothing like that. Moving from one side of the world to the other — taking that risk — is immense. You have to respect that level of audacity — it’s fueled our relationship ever since.

  2. But, realistically speaking, is it possible to completely separate “pure love in the vacuum” from lifestyle expectations? Some personalty traits (which one prefers in a partner) do make some lifestyles or romantic scenarios more likely and some lifestyles and romantic scenarios less likely…

  3. I agree with you that wanting «someone» is unhealthy. I have no problem finding specific people in wich I have an interest in, but it’s never mutual.

    But you did not talk about the core of the matter : «Similarly, people are expected to be “happy on their own” before they can be dateable. That’s preposterous. If you’re 100% happy being single, why would you need a serious partner in the first place?»

    This is imporant. If you feel complete, wich is 100% happy for me, why would you want to be in a couple with Jack or Julia? If you are fully happy on your own, you will remain on your own. The fact that you decide to join Jack or Julia indicate for me that you were not feeling complete and fully happy in the first place. Nobody should wait before they are 100% happy before dating. This is lasagna. I don’t think nobody on this earth is 100% happy.

    But just because you are not dating or not in a couple, does not mean you should be unhappy and feel miserable. Not as much because you won’t meet somebody else, but because your life will be a mess and living hell. At some point you get over it and do your things.

    • “I agree with you that wanting «someone» is unhealthy. I have no problem finding specific people in wich I have an interest in, but it’s never mutual.”

      – You are in luck, then, my fiend. :-) A post on this very subject is scheduled to appear soon. :-)

      “But just because you are not dating or not in a couple, does not mean you should be unhappy and feel miserable. ”

      – Of course.

  4. If there isn’t anybody like that and hasn’t been for a while, this means you have a serious problem that you need to address.

    AND

    It is wrong to want “someone” because nobody wants to play the role of “someone” in your life. People normally hope to be wanted not in the capacity of just someone but, rather, individually.

    Isn’t there some contradiction? I mean if it’s extremely personal thing, as such mental & physical attraction is, then it makes sense that only a few people will provoke such feelings. Why not meeting for a while is a sign of a big problem then? Didn’t you too date for a long time before meeting your husband and wouldn’t be happy this way with other candidates?

    On another topic, I wondered at the similarity between

    “There is very little political awareness among the majority of Egyptians,” claims Sanaa Abdel Rahman, a hairdresser who lives in a neighborhood around the pyramids. “When people voted for Salafi and Brotherhood candidates, they were supporting what they thought were religious elders and were unaware that these people would destroy their livelihood. Almost everyone in our neighborhood works in tourism, but they all voted for the Nour Party.”
    (via wonderful ECHIDNE OF THE SNAKES blog)

    AND the link I gave in Sunday Links describing American politics:

    Republican voters, especially evangelicals, have been trained to listen for candidates’ “dog whistles” — language that goes over the heads of those who aren’t listening for it. They’re especially attuned to code words.

    “People read Republican policy statements metaphorically,” Klein says, “so people are reading Rick Santorum [saying he's] against contraception, the way people code that is, ‘Oh, he’s in favor of containing sexuality and not having people use sexuality in a bad way.’ The small detail of, you know, that you might not be able to walk into a drugstore and get condoms without showing an ID? That just goes over people’s heads.”

    Thoughts? I mean I am sure numerous people would scoff at those Egyptians with “little political awareness “, but don’t many in US (and in other Western countries) do the same?

    • “Why not meeting for a while is a sign of a big problem then? Didn’t you too date for a long time before meeting your husband and wouldn’t be happy this way with other candidates?”

      – I dated people I was attracted to. There was hardly a period in my life since the age of 9 when I wasn’t attracted to somebody. I’d have two or three days, at most, without a romantic interest. What I’m saying is that not being attracted to anybody for a long time is a sign of serious issues that might well be organic in nature. It doesn’t mean you will want to marry them all or be happy with them. It just means that a healthy adult sexuality is addressed someplace. It doesn’t lie dormant for years without a very powerful reason.

      As for the second part, Santorum is a Catholic, which is why he is against contraception. His supporters are also legitimately against contraception for the same reason. I think they are well aware what being against contraception means.

      I’m not comfortable with the argument that people don;t know what they are voting for when they vote for a candidate. We might not understand why one would support economic policies that would destroy one’s own livelihood, for example, but it doesn’t make the choice of such a person either irrational or uninformed.

  5. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting someone to share your life with, and even less wrong with the wanting of someone specific and I say this as a very semi detached person myself. What I think the op is missing is that when people talk about this in a negative way is that they mean there’s something wrong with not being able to live without someone, which I totally agree with, because at that point you stop being a partner and become a clinging barnacle.

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