By Sydney Bucholtz
When’s the last time you got a text from a person resembling something along the lines of “I’m doomed,” “It’s whatever,” or “I’m going to die alone lol”? People, especially those in college-aged groups, tend to pass these thoughts off in a joking manner, but recent statistics demonstrate genuine concerns otherwise.
A poll from Medical Daily illustrated that people would rather spend time in an unhealthy relationship rather than being alone. The sample was taken from college students and post-graduates in the United States and Canada, and while “40 percent, reported no stigma attached to being single,” “the remaining 60 percent said they felt inadequate going stag.” Within this sample, approximately 20 percent felt anxiety about “dying alone.”
Who is to say what the root of these feelings are? Just as it is subjective as to how to “make a relationship work,” it is also extremely subjective as to why people choose to stay in them, whether they are healthy or not healthy, as well as why people choose to seek relationships out in haste of not “dying alone.”
A potential underlying feeling in this category could be with the perceived need for validation. In fact, according to the article “The Psychology of Oversharing Facebook Couples” from The Atlantic, “New research from Albright College found that people whose confidence is more closely tied to the strength of their romantic relationship—or those with higher levels of relationship-contingent self-esteem, in psych-speak—are more likely to use the social networking site to broadcast their happiness.”
Just as complements or other forms of validation sometimes sound “better” coming from someone else, individuals feel better with glimpses of approval, whether from the public, one’s parents, friends, or a Facebook post about how “Six months with this guy have just flown by <3”. However, these complements sound “better” in people who are not currently able to validate their own credibility enough to understand that a self-complement might just be as valuable as one from another person.
Granted, this self-validation can, in turn, typically only come about when an individual gives themselves the indefinite time and mental space to breathe. This is why individuals owe it to themselves to be, well, individuals. When people get out of a relationship and immediately create a dating profile, they are not granting themselves the deserved recovery time to explore who they are, what they want, and find what they like about themselves — characteristics that, once they know for themselves, they might not feel like they need another person to tell them via complements.
Some young adults are ultimately afraid to take chances on themselves, and to be single when other people aren’t. There might be so much “wasted time”, or they might be a “third wheel” to friends in relationships.
But what if they made the decision to stay in a relationship that has passed its expiration date, or to jump into a fling of hook-ups for the sake of minor companionship…? What if they chose this, to the point where the potentially “wasted time” that they could have been single, breathing, asking themselves questions, they were in a relationship that was not fostering their best self…? And now find themselves extremely committed to a person who does not allow them to grow?
They will not “die alone,” God forbid, and there’s plenty of “love” between the couple — but where’s the self-love there? Where’s the personal development for the purpose of being the best version of oneself and maybe, who knows, finding the right person — just later in time? I think I’d stick to “dying alone” any day, as long as I had my self-questioning, my room to grow, and the knowledge and understanding that I am enough to validate myself.