Do not call my boyfriend my “other half.” The last time I checked, I was a whole person. I can assure you, unless I’m involved a horrific incident which results in me being severed in half, I will continue being a whole person, and so will he. There’s this romanticised idea about love and relationships that is damaging us, and we do not even realise it is happening.
When you’re in a relationship, you find yourself identified as “*Insert name here* boyfriend/girlfriend.” Well, yes, I am. I understand that is your association and a common ground for us to discuss, but I have a name and I am an entirely separate person.
You are suggesting we need each other to simply exist. For each individual to exist they need to be able to metabolize oxygen and expel carbon dioxide. At no point does a boyfriend or girlfriend fit into this equation; unless we are talking about reproducing, obviously. But that is a topic for a different day.
I am fed up of hearing, “I can’t live without *insert partner’s name here*”
Bullshit. Yes, you can. You can live without them, because you did before you met them. Why are you allowing someone to be in control of your happiness? Why put that pressure on the person you love and yourself? I understand that breakups are unpleasant, that’s why they are called break ups. It’s like breaking a bone. It really hurts, but you get a cast and wait for it to heal over time. You carry on with your life. Once it’s healed, you still carry on because it’s your life and it belongs to you. There’s nothing I enjoy more than belting out Harry Nilsson’s “I Can’t Live Without You” with friends after a few glasses of wine, but I refuse to rely on my boyfriend for my own survival and happiness.
There is a huge difference between not wanting to live without someone and being incapable of living without someone.
The majority of films, TV programmes and songs all focus on finding the elusive “one” and being in love. Dolly Parton’s famous lyric, “I wish you well, and above all, I wish you love” is a very noble wish, but it suggests that after splitting up with someone you need to find someone else otherwise you will not live a fulfilled life.
We live in a society where it is frowned upon if you are on your own. We judge each other’s success by whether they are in a relationship. I understand that company and companionship is comforting. It’s something we crave, but if my self-worth is going to be judged by whether I’ve got someone to come home to every evening, after I’ve spent 16 years of my life in education working towards a career, then I’ll be damned.
We’re conditioned to believe that happiness requires someone else. The word “alone” is synonymous with unhappiness and it shouldn’t be. If I decide to grow old in a bungalow on my own, or with cats, dogs or Wilson, then that’s my choice and I’ll own it.