Something that has always puzzled me is that there exists a very common sort of individual who always needs to be in a relationship. Perhaps it is related to testosterone or hormones in a way that I don’t really understand or find myself subject to, but this mindset is completely foreign to me although I see it nearly everywhere I look. I know a few people who are like this, and I can never relate to how they feel or put myself in their shoes.
I understand the desire for some close friend or romantic partner as well as the benefits that come from such an arrangement. It’s nice to have people who you can rely on, tell things you wouldn’t say to anybody else, as well as (in the case of romance) have the other individual constantly giving you some sort of validation in the form of desiring you and seeing you as special in comparison to everybody else. All of those things are quite nice and I don’t mind them or disparage them in the least, but this compulsive need of them does seem to me to be some form of neediness that is not desirable or admirable.
In the proper context, when you have the rest of your life ordered and the ability to provide for a second person squared away as well as no neurosis that is leaving you miserable, the desire for a romantic partner seems healthy and even praiseworthy. You have enough for yourself and are looking to use your excess to provide or benefit somebody else. In the context of these people who always need to be in a relationship, it seems like this is some form of distraction from internal distress.
This might be related to a sort of insecurity and need for external attention that is completely foreign to me. I am not bragging, as I never did anything (at least consciously) hard to earn my soul’s contentment, but rather making an observation that seems logical. People who always need to be in a relationship to feel whole are fundamentally broken people. There is something wrong with how they are processing things, some internal conflict that remains unresolved, and instead of fixing these problems inside them, they are constantly seeking external stimuli in the form of other people to either distract them from their flaws. They may think that this second party will fix them, will make them whole, but it never works out and eventually they end up alone once again, even more miserable than they were before the relationship began, most likely because the problems at the root of their compulsive behavior have festered and mutated even further over time.
Upon writing this it strikes me that I am most likely describing the type of person known as co-dependent, which makes my writings on this a bit useless for the reader. Nevertheless, I will continue as writing my thoughts out helps me go from noticing things on an unconscious and undefined manner to more concrete and thus examinable form, which benefits me. And, as I have stated multiple times prior, my writings are fundamentally beneficial for my own understanding and enjoyment before they become of any use to those who read them. Back to the topic at hand.
Fundamentally, self-worth comes from the self. This is very simple and should be understood by everybody but somehow most people seem completely unaware, and perhaps this is the reason for people getting into these sorts of relationships that validate them but are headed nowhere. I myself am not immune to looking for validation through women and admirers, but this seems to stem from boredom, a love of novelty, as well as a lack of productive discipline rather than any insecurities or need for others to tell me how special I am. I do not believe I am special, nor do I need anybody to tell me that I am special. I am quite content to simply be above average, which is not a very high bar since the average is essentially being an ugly stupid moron who consumes resources and never has a moment of honest self-reflection in an entire life. I pass that bar quite easily.
At the end of the day, relationships need to come from a sort of excess that is overflowing rather than being restorative. If you don’t have your income, living situation, and habits in check before you sign up for a relationship with somebody who also has those things squared away, you are simply signing up for a dysfunctional nightmare. It may take a month or even a year or three for the dysfunctional nightmare to make itself visible, for the excitement of somebody else caring about you and putting energy into what you care about to wear off, but the dysfunctional nightmare will always eventually reveal itself. At that point, you can pretend you don’t see it and allow yourself to be further consumed and eventually destroyed or made completely miserable, or you can do the reasonable things and rid yourself of nightmare via ridding yourself of your romantic partner. Of course, the people who habitually sign themselves up for these sorts of bad situations are not good at recognizing what is going on or they wouldn’t habitually sign themselves up for these situations. Furthermore, once they have eventually rid themselves of the nightmare they learn nothing and it is only a matter of time (usually only weeks or months) before they sign up to engage in another nightmare that can only end in another disaster. This sort of amnesiac behavior is disturbed and not something to emulate, but there is a sort of humor that can be extracted through observing it.
This essay isn’t really applicable to young people, as most of us need to make some serious mistakes in order to learn why the mistakes shouldn’t be made as well as what types of stupid thinking led to the mistakes. When you’re in your mid to late teens, your brain isn’t really working and you aren’t able to make great decisions even when provided ample information that any rational self-aware person would be able to parse effectively and make rational self-aware decisions as a result. When this sort of behavior is indicative of a serious problem that needs to be addressed is in the early to mid-twenties.
The reason the early to mid-twenties is so important to form good habits and really take stock of self-destructive behavior such as needing romantic partners for validation is that this is the period in life where you have some genuine self-awareness (should you honestly and dutifully work towards gaining it) and also the ability to change as a person. Once you’re in your late twenties and early thirties it’s increasingly impossible to change who you are. Your character and habits are pretty much baked in at that point, if you’re a loser who abuses drugs and repeatedly engages in relationships that set you back months or years, you’re most likely always going to be a loser who abuses drugs and repeatedly engages in relationships that set you back months or years.
The entertainment industry has really messed up a lot of people with regards to romance. Love is not some fluttery feeling in the pit of your stomach. It’s not dysfunctional and it doesn’t make you crazy. Those things are symptoms that can happen from infatuation, and they’re not horrible in their proper context, but they are more phenomena that come from the combination of affection and immaturity, and immaturity is not something that should be enabled or praised outside of their healthy context, which is in youth where we flail around awkwardly and try to find how we fit into the world and how everything works.
The compulsive need for a romantic partner is not impressive and is similar in caste as a homeless mutt humping a fire hydrant. It is very distasteful to observe and shows poor breeding. If you find your life lacks meaning without some other person to take up your time and energy, then the problem isn’t the times when you don’t have that other person, but rather some deep flaw inside yourself that you should do your best to root out and destroy before it turns you into the lowly debased thoughtless creature growing inside you that you have a tendency towards doting on and feeding.
The fact of the matter is that if you are mildly successful in any respect and not completely hideous, it is extremely easy to find somebody of the opposite sex and charm them enough to fall in love with you. I’m not rich, I have made a ton of stupid missteps, and I find this whole process disgustingly easy. Most people (of both genders) essentially exist in the context of a very simple skinner box. If you say the right words to them, show affection in moments that are proper, and give them even a small amount of attention when they don’t think they deserve it, they will attach themselves to you like a leech in a river attaches itself to a swimmer’s unprotected skin.
You shouldn’t get your validation from other people; this leaves you vulnerable to what you can’t control. They might change their mind, hear rumors, or simply find a better person than you which causes them to view in a less than flattering light. At that point, if you have put your self-worth in them caring about you and seeing you as some sort of god or superior individual, you will find yourself even worse than when you entrusted your worth to them.
Get your validation from how competent you are. Do you spend your time on worthwhile activities? Do you abstain from behaviors that harm you, whether those be social activities like parties and gossip or antisocial activities like drinking and abusing substances like drugs or pornography? Do you put your energy into projects that will pay off in the future or increase your worth? Are you fit and healthy? All those things are what should be driving you, giving you some sort of satisfaction with yourself, not relationships which are good in their proper healthy context, but completely poison in the context of making you feel like you matter.
What is also funny about this pattern of dating or forming relationships based on personal insecurities is that anybody who knows how things work will agree that the most attractive thing to potential partners is being somebody who does not need potential partners. If you want to have other people care about you, if you want to be valued in a sexual or personal light, then be somebody who doesn’t need others to care about you. No woman has ever thought less of a man who told her he was too busy to hang out or talk. The reality is that being somebody who is genuinely busy, who is constantly working on genuine projects, who is not able to waste hours a day talking to some woman, is somebody who is valuable, and quality women are attracted to people who are genuinely valuable.
The people you interact with when you’re needy and desire constant affection are not quality people. They are people who also have this serious flaw, people who are not headed anywhere in life. Much like communities oriented around making money are filled with people who are incapable of making money, people who are attracted to people who need love are people who also lack love. And who lacks love besides those who have some problem that makes them fundamentally dysfunctional and practically useless? This incentive structure/environment is made explicit with regards to apps like tinder, where you can see how the women on it are suffering from severe emotional problems that scale in proportion to their attractiveness. If they didn’t have those severe emotional problems, they wouldn’t be on a dating app in the first place.
If you’re somebody who this essay relates to, take stock of yourself and how you expend your energy. Do you really need to feel good that bad? Do you really need to engage in masturbation via sex (since you’re not having sex for any real purpose) habitually? No, you don’t need to do either of these things; you’re just covering up some sort of unaddressed problem. Most likely, the problem you’re distracting yourself from isn’t even that bad. Put that energy you spend into trying to find a relationship into fixing yourself and doing things that are actually beneficial to yourself, and most likely within a matter of months or a year you’ll realize how silly you were acting. It’s really simple to fix this problem, but it requires admitting that you have a problem and then realizing that it’s not that hard to improve yourself and actually take life seriously instead of constantly searching for external validation. Until you stop looking to others for happiness your baseline is going to be misery which only gets worse as time goes on.