The Bitter Single Guy wants you to know that he’s no sideline coach; he’s actually out there in the dating jungle trying to make it happen just as most of you are. Recently (predictably), the BSG himself became single again (it’s a pretty consistent state for him), and one of his friends was devastated. Seriously devastated. The BSG, as he read her email, was pretty sure that she wept a little on his behalf while she was writing it.
“Oh BSG!” she said (although using the BSG’s actual name), “I thought you had found THE ONE! You must be crushed as I am crushed for you <insert sob>. I hope your hunt for Perfect Love is finally successful very very soon.”
The Bitter Single Guy explained to his wonderfully empathetic friend that he’s not among those who believe that there is a “one”. Rather, he believes that there are “many” or at the very least “several” and that the merging of lives has way more to do with timing than anything else. The BSG was also reminded that his friend has for years complained that her marriage is passion-less and soul-crushing. Yay for finding “the one”!
The BSG wants to tell you a little of what you may already know about this idea of permanent mating or as it’s more commonly known: marriage. Now, the BSG won’t enter the brouhaha regarding whether same-sex marriage should be allowed because he thinks all that is silliness. But marriage itself is supposedly the nirvana of relationship permanence that we’re all supposed to be working toward. C’mon, you know the drill! Somewhere in your 20’s you start dating and soon (but not too soon!) after that, you get engaged, spend tons of time and money planning for a wedding (nearly breaking up several times in the process), and finally getting married and getting yourselves a litter of young-uns who you spend the next several decades managing and launching into the world. It’s the way the world works, right?
Well, no. Not really. Sometimes there is (gasp!) divorce and then RE-marriage. Sometimes there is divorce and (don’t say it!) singlehood! The short version about all of this is that relationships end. Let’s think about some of the previous reasons for marriage, shall we:
- Ensuring sexual exclusivity to keep bloodlines “clean”
- Breeding captive farm labor
- Perpetuating the idea that women are exchangeable for cows and land
And since some of those are becoming a little outdated (although the BSG thinks there is something to this idea of breeding a captive labor pool), people are increasingly realizing that as they grow and develop and change, that sometimes their relationships don’t change with them and SOMEtimes, they realize that they would be happier (hold onto your hats) OUT of their relationships than IN them. (shocking, the BSG knows)
Yes gentle readers, the BSG has learned that when relationships aren’t fun any longer, sometimes people opt out of them as if their relationship were an email solicitation they had been receiving every month for years until one day they realized they could click on a little “unsubscribe” button at the bottom of the email and that mild monthly annoyance would simply go away! OK, probably most relationships aren’t quite that bad, but you get the BSG’s drift.
Unfortunately though, ending a relationship carries the stigma of failure. You failed. You failed to stay in a relationship even though you were unhappy. And the logic that makes the BSG’s blood run cold every time he hears it employed: “I’ve already got [enter random number] years invested in this relationship, I can’t give up now!” Yes, that’s the logic that the BSG wants you to employ: you’ve already been miserable for 5 or 10 or 40 years, how could you possible give up on misery now?
By the way, the BSG wants to clarify here that the absence of misery is not happiness. If you’re sailing along numbly in your relationship and a little voice reminds you that there was a time when you laughed often and generally felt good about yourself and the world, you should listen to that voice and not to the voice that tells you that you’re “content” or “on auto-pilot” or “waxing the tadpole” (sometimes the voices are unclear in their intention). The short version of this: the absence of disease is not health and the absence of misery is not happiness. Think about it.
So the BSG wants to turn the Big Finger of Failure around and point it at people who are failing to make themselves happy! That’s right gentle readers, the BSG hereby grants you full forgiveness for your relationships that didn’t last forever and those that won’t last forever in the future. The BSG grants you the power of owning your own happiness and wants you to come in and out of relationships in a way that makes you happy, even if that means staying in a relationship for decades…if it’s working, the BSG says go for it!
Look for the BSG’s next installment in his Breakup Series: So You’ve Decided to Dump Someone!