Are you in your relationship because you’re afraid of being alone? Despite the increasing divorce rates, many of my close friends are still married, not necessarily happily, but not all are unhappy either. Many of my single friends are reluctant to settle down again and enjoy making their own decisions, having time to themselves and not having to accommodate their lives with or without kids, around a new partner.
For many newly single people however there seems to be a burning desire to find a partner quickly, like somehow they are validated in life if they have someone who fancies or loves them. Which is not that surprising really, given that the message in our society seems to be that the most important relationship is the intimate one – the partnership one where all your needs will be fulfilled. But how about fulfilling your own needs by yourself. Fear of being single and being different is certainly prominent with clients in my therapy rooms. Many clients arrive with a desire, now they are divorced or separated, to settle down again, find someone, fit in, replicate their marriedearly years over again, move in together.
I say, ‘Stop!’ Question! Ask why!’ Often the landscape of our lives at midlife, our second adulthood, is differentto the landscape of our first adulthood when we were in our twenties and making decisions about how we will live our life and many followed societal expectation (marriage, kids) without a second thought. But now, you are 20/30 years older and for many there are ex-partners and kids/teenagers involved – we have more accoutrements and attachments at midlife to juggle.
At midlife the most important relationship you can have is with yourself. Why not shake life and expectation up a bit and challenge the social norms.If you fear being single, stop and ask why.Work through this in therapy and open up new avenues for yourself.
Contentment and not being afraid to be alone (which is different to being lonely) can open up opportunities for you and takes away the urgency to repeat old patterns and quickly settle down. Guess what! You don’t have to be in a relationship.You can take time out for yourself to discover how you want to live now you’re older.
You have an opportunity as a single midlifer to live the second half of your life differently and not automatically replicate the first half all over again.
As Muhammad Ali said ‘The man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.’