Happiness And Remaining Single Are Not Mutually Exclusive

“Why do I stress a man when there’s so many better things at hand…” –Amy Winehouse, Tears Dry on Their Own

In a club in Shanghai, I met a girl from London who knew Amy Winehouse: “She used to be my friend when she was fat. She was really nice back then. Then she got skinny and famous, and now she’s a bitch.” Regardless of Ms. Winehouse’s personality flaws, I think she hits on some good points in her song lyrics.

One of my friends is 30 and single after a 5-year relationship with what I can only describe as an utter and complete psychopath. With deep blue eyes, long black hair, a quirky smile and a sarcastic sense of humor that I can’t get enough of, I can hardly believe that she put up with a man who now sends her trash (consisting of pen tops, paper clips, and discarded scraps of paper) in the mail and asks her to pay him by check in return for his courtesy.

Another of my close friends is 26 and on the verge of having a nervous breakdown about once a week because she is currently single and feels that she is running out of time to get married. 26 and single. Maybe what she is ignoring is the fact that she graduated from Stanford, is in one of the top 5 medical schools in the country, and is a brilliant writer and beautiful, giving person. In her free time, she makes earrings that could sell for $100 per pair.

I myself was once the victim of this desperate desire to “find someone.” For several months, one of my lovely-recently-become-single friends and I went clubbing and bar-hopping 4/7 days each week, hoping to meet men and fill that void that our verbally and physically abusive ex-boyfriends had left in our lives.

Fortunately, another of my friends stopped by Saint Louis to hang out with me prior to departing for his second tour in Iraq. Like a drill sergeant, he slapped some sense into me before he left. “You and your friends are beautiful, talented women. You are going to be doctors! Honestly, I’m insulted that you feel the need to chase after men. They should be chasing after you! Why are you wasting your time? What happened to all the things you used to like doing? What about poetry and art and singing?”

I finally admitted to him that I was just lonely. But he made me think. Would another controlling, insecure man in my life really make me happy? Really, I could be doing so much more with my time. In fact, in the 3 years I had wasted with my ex-boyfriend, I could have better applied myself to the study of medicine. Someone might die because I don’t know something that I could’ve learned during the time I spent trying to get him to stop being mad at me.

Why do so many people feel the need to find a relationship to be happy? There is so much more to life. Write. Sing. Work towards your goals. Start a business. Save the world! You don’t need someone else to make you happy. You can find happiness in yourself. A caring relationship is just a bonus. Think about Jane Austen; she never married, but if she had, do you think we would still know her name today?

Following the end of her horrible 5-year long relationship, my beautiful blue-eyed friend told me: “It’s better to be in no relationship at all than to be in a bad one.” I can attest to that.

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