Don't Let Your Relationship Status Determine Your Happiness

You’re not supposed to have regrets…right? When you’re asked if you have any regrets in life the “right” thing to say is, “no…if I could I live my life over again I wouldn’t change a thing.”

Well…I have regrets. Not a ton, but a few.

One of my biggest regrets is that I didn’t enjoy being single. Let me clarify, I didn’t allow myself to enjoy being single. I spent most of my 20s feeling like my life would finally start once I met “the one.” It wasn’t like I hid in my room or never went out. I had a lot of fun in my 20s yet there was always a part of me that felt like I was missing something.

Looking back I realize I didn’t allow myself to enjoy or take advantage of all the great things about being single, like having a whole day to myself where I (and only I) decided what to do. I didn’t relish having the freedom to decide where I would live or how I would live.

As someone who has been married for a while, I can tell you that being married and in a committed relationship is wonderful in many ways, but having to take into account another person’s wants and needs, can be a bit of a…bummer.

This regret hit me hard about a year after I got married. I had gone to New York by myself to visit a good friend. She was subletting an apartment in the lower East Side and I loved being able to walk out of the apartment into the city streets to go grab a cup of coffee or sit at a café to read a book. It made me feel like a real New Yorker (if only in my mind).

I was still in fantasyland when I called my husband the second day of my trip. I told him that we should move to New York. He hesitated for a second and said, “I don’t know…New York is not my thing…I can’t imagine living there…too crowded.” My heart sank and then it hit me like a ton of bricks…I’m married and my decisions are no longer my own.

That’s the thing about being in a serious relationship and being married. You’re life is no longer your own and just because you’re married or in a serious relationship doesn’t mean that things are going to be better or easier.

If I could do it all over again, I would relish being single.

I would stop feeling like I was missing something and I would stop feeling bad about myself for not being in a couple.

I foolishly thought that being in a relationship was validation that I was important and special.

I know I’m not alone in this because so many of my clients tell me that they feel so awful because all their friends are in couples or getting married and they’re the “loser” who will be alone forever.

I know…I know…the last thing you want to hear is, “you can’t love someone else until you love yourself.” I get it. You already know this and quite frankly tired of people telling you how you should feel.

But…here comes to but…how we feel about ourselves, not only determines how happy or satisfied we are, it also affects every single relationship we have. Not just romantic relationships, but all relationships.

So it’s a bit of a Catch 22. In order to have healthy relationships you need to feel good in your own skin. Yet, if you don’t allow ourselves to love (or like) yourself until you’re in a relationship you’re going to be feeling pretty miserable and may not feel worthy enough for that amazing relationship when it shows up.

I see a lot of people wait around for their “lives to start” once they meet someone special. This is a recipe for disaster. Live your life now and if you meet someone, wonderful.

If you don’t…well…keep going and living until you do.

Kate Rufener