Before You Can Be Successful in Relationships You Need to Become Happy and Single
“How can I make my relationships work? How can I find happiness?” These are questions we hear a lot but before you can build healthy relationships you should first ask: “How can I be happy and single?”
You’re not ready for a partner until you learn to really enjoy being single—but how do you do that? Here are some tips for how to start.
Don’t Look to Relationships to Make You Happy
People often look to relationships as a way to avoid the process of learning to feel comfortable with themselves. This helps them avoid the crisis of being on their own. As a result, they gradually start to resent that relationship because they feel too dependent. They start blaming their unhappiness on their partner, when they were never happy and single to begin with.
This is so often overlooked because people don’t feel they can talk openly about their own anxiety with being alone. However, a relationship is a not a cure for loneliness or unhappiness—it only hides the problem.
Instead, when seeking happiness, ask yourself:
- Can I make it on my own?
- Do I have confidence that I can run my affairs and maintain myself financially?
- Can I spend spend time alone without feeling panicked or uncomfortable?
- Have I learned how to enjoy the different aspects of my life, and how to relate to myself and others?
- Am I happy and single?
Only when you’ve confidently fulfilled those conditions can you build a truly happy and healthy companionship. A well-adjusted person is someone who has dependent and independent sides working well together. People who are enjoying themselves naturally attract others to them.
So, how do you learn to be happy on your own?
Learn How to React to Changes in Your Life
Some of the most important components of happiness are feeling comfortable, free, and in control of your own life. Structuring your own life and knowing how to handle disruptions in healthy ways is key to achieving happiness.
Entering a new relationship shakes things up. You have to get familiar with a new person, figure out how to relate to them, and incorporate them into the structure of your life. In a way, our reactions to this are a lot like our reactions to culture shock.
Consider the Peace Corps. Founded by Kennedy, the Peace Corps was recruiting fresh graduates for service periods of two years. The program sounded exciting and many young people enlisted. However, they soon discovered a problem. Half of the recruits were returning home before their service was completed. This often happened within their first three months of service. Culture shock and homesickness was resulting in a lot of wasted resources and training.
The Peace Corps responded by training field managers to better prepare and support the new recruits for what was to come. Incoming enlistees were warned that they’d be upset and frustrated by how different everything was. This included the language, the food, the sleeping arrangements, the weather, the social manners. More importantly, they were coached on how to cope with that frustration.
As a result, early returns dropped to below 10%, with less than 1% returning for emotional reasons. When Nixon later cut that training program to save money, the rate went back up, so it was soon reinstated.
What does this tell us about happiness and relationships? It tells us that preparing yourself to manage the changing structure of your life is vital to feeling comfortable, happy, and able to relate to others.
So, how do you learn to manage your life, feel good about yourself, and form positive relationships?
Achieve Independence While Happy and Single through Planning and Time Management
There are certain milestones to growing up and becoming independent. These milestones include gaining confidence, figuring out who you are, how to stand on your own feet, how to enjoy yourself. However, when those Peace Corps recruits became homesick, they were a lot like children at summer camp or students entering college. They were transitioning through steps in the process of emancipation but stumbling because they were underprepared for it.
When one of those steps is skipped or not prepared for, you’re at risk of burning out, growing resentful, and running away. In order to become happy and ready for a relationship, you have to learn independence through planning and time management skills. This allows you to become happy and single before entering into a relationship
Unfortunately, in modern life, our families often make us quietly dependent on others. Young people these days are rarely encouraged or even allowed to take an active role in structuring and running their own lives. As a result, they’re not ready for major changes later on in life.
Kids who were never on their own much and never learned independence are the least prepared for school and for college. This is because they’re unprepared to manage themselves. As a result, each of these transitions is all the more difficult. Many young college students get overwhelmed and burnt out. They binge drink to wipe out their experience because they haven’t had room to learn to enjoy themselves in a healthy way. Eventually, they drop out and return home.
Those who do stay in school often become dependent on the schools themselves to give their lives structure. From there, many go right from graduation to getting married. They never experience making it on their own and truly owning and enjoying their time. They never learn to dictate their own lives, become comfortable and happy with themselves, and relate to others in a relationship that isn’t built on dependence.
So, in their relationships and marriages they experience the very same issues they faced when they went off to camp, went off to college, went abroad, etc.:
- They’ve avoided learning to be comfortable and in control when they’re by themselves. This makes them feel uncomfortable and powerless when on their own.
- They panic and use the relationship to cover up the problem and give their lives a sense of structure and direction.
- Over time, they become resentful of the relationship for not making them happy, and resentful of the feeling of not being in control of their own lives.
- Eventually, they give up and try to escape.
Rushing into a relationship without learning to run your life first is like rushing into a Peace Corps program without preparing for culture shock or going to college without ever having spent any time away from home. Before you’re ready for a partner, you have to learn to manage your own happiness—but how?
Here at Critical Thinking for Success, we use cognitive skills training improve your life skills. Some skills we work on are planning and organization, managing emotions, relating to others, and more. By training your core cognitive skills you’l learn how to love yourself before you accept love from others. We’ll teach you how to shape your own life, become comfortably self-reliant, and cope with your own feelings of emptiness and loneliness.
Give us a call and start learning to how to become successful at being happy in a relationship. The first step is learning to be happy and single!