Do you blame lacking the partner that you want for making you feel unhappy? It might be that you’re single and becoming increasingly convinced that “the one” for you just doesn’t exist, or that you’re in a relationship which seems unsatisfying. Below are some ideas on either changing things, or simply appreciating what you’ve got!
If you’re single and looking for a partner
I remember how I hated being single; all my friends were coupled-up, and I felt that I would never find that special someone. The world seemed geared up for people in couples: food comes in two-person sized packs, tables for one at restaurants are rare, and going to the cinema alone just feels odd.
Rather than spending every spare moment desperately scouring the Personal column of your local paper, decoding the GSOHs and the WLTMs, get out and enjoy yourself! There are some undeniable advantages to being single:
- You can eat whatever you like for dinner, which means that being single is a great time to sort out your diet.
- You have plenty of time to explore your interests: join a new club, or pick up an old hobby.
- You probably have more freedom than most people: if you want to quit your job, move to another country, or book a holiday at the last minute, you won’t be dragging a partner and family with you.
Finding a good friend who’s also single to have a drink or meal with can be a real help – you can commiserate together about over-hyped couple-events (such as Valentine’s day).
When your partner isn’t supportive
Maybe you do have a partner, but things aren’t working out how you’d have hoped. It’s very discouraging when you don’t feel appreciated or supported by your partner. Perhaps they belittle you, mock your ambitions or constantly make little digs about your failed attempts to diet, your weight, your fitness…
If you feel criticised and underappreciated, don’t stew away in silence. When your partner says something that hurts, let them know. All too often, I nag my longsuffering boyfriend without realising that it’s getting to him – and if he stays quiet, I don’t realise what I’m doing. When your partner laughs at your “This time, I’m really going to stick to my diet”, don’t just grit your teeth. Let them know (calmly, but seriously) that you’d really appreciate their help and support.
Sometimes, talking over problems with a close friend can help. All relationships go through ups and downs, but someone outside your immediate family may be able to help you gain perspective. Is it just a momentary blip, or have things been going steadily downhill?
When your partner doesn’t share your interests
I’m lucky that my boyfriend and I have quite a few hobbies in common. However, we both have our own particular interests that aren’t always quite so fascinating to the other person … The finer details of being a law student are lost on me, and my encyclopaedic knowledge of calories makes him yawn.
If you have a particular passion for something which your partner is completely uninterested in, try finding a group of fellow devotees who you can share it with instead. I chat to lots of health and fitness writers via email and forums, for instance, and my boyfriend talks about Latin terms to his heart’s content with fellow students.
When you feel as though you and your partner have no shared interests, though, it might be time to find some common ground. Try out a new activity together – an evening class, an art gallery, a walking holiday – anything you’ve not done before and which you both think might be fun.
(This post is the third in the “Healthy Mind” series.)
(Image of partners by Natmandu)