By Peter Sacco
It is that time of the year again, the season of nostalgia, romance and longing to be with a ‘special someone’. Actually, when you think about it, when isn’t it that time for many? Okay, I am being a little facetious with the latter remark, but in all actuality, people, yes both men and women begin to yearn to have someone ‘special’ in their lives once the Holiday season rolls around, and if that isn’t enough, the new year brings even more hope, as you know what is right around the corner shortly thereafter… I will type it in a whisper, Valentine’s Day.
Society, which I use as a generic, trite term seems so hell-bent on people needing to be in relationships all of their adult lives in order to be ‘happy’. When you get into the whole notion of relationships and happiness, oh boy–that folks is a whole other can of worms, or book (complete with drama, melodrama and anti-climatic moments)! Relationships are awesome, and yes, should be the goal of most people.
Starting a relationship, or staying in one should be done for all of the right reasons. Too often, people stay in them for the wrong reasons, namely they do not want to be alone. Interestingly, people who stay in dysfunctional relationships, the bad ones because they do not want to be alone, often feel lonely. Talk about an oxymoron!
A relationship should establish not only a physical connection, but emotional and spiritual connections as well. A relationship should be more than a warm body laying next to you in bed, or staring across from you at the dinner table making small talk, or disagreeing to disagree. It should be about connecting, feeling connected, and evolving together based on similar goals, interests and dreams.
Too many people ‘just settle’, missing out on the potential ‘right one’ because they are not with the wrong one, rather in the ‘wrong relationship’ for them.
A relationship should be ‘healthy’ meaning that it adds to your well-being. You are adding to another person’s life, rather than tearing someone down, and/or making each other’s lives insidiously miserable.
Life is too short to be miserable, and too many people choose this discomforting option! Running your own race and maintaining health, peace and joy is a job in its own right for any individual. Having someone tear your life apart and contributing to your unhappiness is not a great way to live, and dare I say, try to derive some enjoyment out of your life.
Too many relationships ‘exist’ or ‘endure’ over time, rather than being based in enjoying each other–you know, cherish, respect and appreciating the other person for who they are. For some, their relationship status could best be described as possessing the traits of the TV shows Survivor and The Amazing Race, sprinkled with a bit of MAD magazine. Gee, someone out there is waiting for the tribe to speak to vote their spouse off the island before they go crazy!
If you are looking to start a relationship, or work on an existing one, then note to ‘self’… a relationship should be about accenting and complimenting your life and another’s, rather than complicating and becoming the other person’s life. Too many people look to establish themselves or their identities based on who they are with.
Furthermore, lots of folks get used in relationships, only to feel emotionally and physically drained from them. A good, healthy relationship should be based on reciprocity– equal giving and taking. People are so different, uniquely talented and possess diverse traits that there will be some parts of a relationship where one can ‘give’ more than the other, but another part where the other can offset this with their unique giving. When relationships are purely based on ‘lust’ from the get go, people are more in it to see what they can get out of it!
You only get one life, it is not a dress rehearsal! You owe it to yourself, as well as your partner or potential partner to not only be your best self in a relationship, but feel your best because the relationship you are in truly deserves you. Don’t fall into the trap of believing you need to be in a relationship to be happy. Relationships are great, but you need to first be happy with you, and be in a satisfying relationship with yourself.
Peter Andrew Sacco Ph.D. has received the Award of Excellence in Teaching and lectures at universities in the US and Canada. He hosts the weekly hit radio show, “Matters of the Mind,” featuring experts and celebrities with whom he discusses mental health, relationships and addiction issues. An award-winning executive producer, he has hosted many documentaries on relationships, psychological issues and child issues. He is the author of 25 books and over 700 articles. For more information visit www.petersacco.com and www.bullyingisforthebirds.com.