For anyone who loves being a free agent—independent and in control of their own lives—it can be challenging to try to share your life with another person, no matter how much you might love or care about them. Enjoying someone’s occasional company can feel vastly different from trying to “be in a relationship,” a phrase that carries with it all sorts of connotations and assumptions.
We assume by default that all relationships are domestic, monogamous, and involve a complete union of two separate souls (hence the phrase “my other half”). The two people live together, spend a lot of time together, share their finances, and make all their big decisions together. For many people, that sounds like a blessing—to be able to share so much of one’s life with a committed partner who’s always at your side. For many others, the idea of being tethered to someone this way can feel absolutely suffocating.
First of all, recognize that you’re not alone—no matter what the romance-obsessed media narratives will tell you. Many people, as they learn to love themselves and take responsibility for their own happiness, find it difficult to live with another and want nothing to do with marriage. Pew Research Center data shows Americans are staying single longer, and the number of unmarried adults has been on the rise for the last several years.
But our culture’s newfound celebration of self-love can sometimes be framed as a replacement for other kinds of love. The big question is: Does enjoying independence mean that relationships are impossible and out of the cards for you?
Not at all.