Things You Might Learn In A Relationship


1. Being single can be scary

After some amount of time in your relationship, there may pass a point in time during which you come to doubt its sustainability. A moment of irreconcilable difference, during which, perhaps, you can not imagine moving forward. Or maybe while you and your significant other are simply walking down the street one night, you see a group of cologned and perfumed young people obviously headed to a club or whatever, and you look at each other and say “Thank god we don’t have to do that anymore.” Whatever the case is, one thing you learn in a relationship is that being single can be fucking hard, and that, once in a relationship, the prospect of being single again is scary, and that dating can suck, and that you’re so glad you don’t have to put yourself out into the world of embarrassing dates and lonely nights anymore.

2. Completely forgetting what your life was like and becoming dependent on your significant other is frighteningly easy

Perception is temporary and strange. What did I even do for dinner before I was with her? With certain people, this weird sense of loss stretches to encompass not only how they behave but their entire identity. Friendships developed before the relationship can become skewed and awkward during the relationship. Routine habits and protocols can be all but forgotten. It comes to pass – for many – that daily life before the relationship is just impossible to recall. Maybe this is called dependency. It’s frighteningly easy, given the right circumstances.

3. Alone time is absolutely necessary

When one is single and alone, she may – most of the time – be capable of mostly just wondering when she’s going to not be alone. Friends may seem to not have enough time, the internet only seems to increase the distance between her and humanity, and an invite to the bar might feel like a reprieve from all the boredom and loneliness. This is not the idyllic “single life” so celebrated by mainstream culture and better-adjusted bachelors and bachelorettes. Ironically, a fantasy notion of this very loneliness – perhaps the idyllic “single life” – is a thing one may begin to long for during the moments the relationship is more akin to a prison than a loving union between two individuals. Even more immediate, though, can be the need to simply get away and have time apart. It feels like fresh air.

4. You aren’t as composed and logical as you thought you were

I think as single people we tend to form unencumbered perceptions of ourselves and our logical/ emotional capacities that go unchecked by the feedback of another person with whom we’re romantically involved. Being in a relationship can quickly break these ideas down, and before you have time to realize what you’re saying, you’re shouting. Where the fuck all that came from is a question you’ll have a hard time answering after you let it all out.

5. Fantasies are powerful, delusional and weird

As a relationship wears on one may begin to fantasize about certain things, such as the body of another person who they just passed on the sidewalk, or about just leaving everything behind and backpacking Europe, or simply about breaking up and being single again. The problem with these fantasies are that they’re both powerful and almost completely delusional. Imagine if you actually did have the opportunity to leave everything behind and go to Europe for a year. In your fantasy, everything is wonderful, meaningful, stoic and beautiful. In real life, you’ll be sleeping in piss-smelling hostel rooms while the bro above you gets a loud blowjob and you have the spins and are totally fucked up in the head after just packing up and leaving someone who may or may not be a person you could legitimately grow old with. Not that easy.

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image – Joshua L