One thing I learned from all my years in school training to be a therapist (eight years to be exact) is that understanding human behaviour consists of research and observation. I’m taking this approach in trying to unlock the psyche and motivation of people in Vancouver when it comes to dating.
I chatted with one of my best male friends the other night and thought I would get his input as a mid-20s single guy in the city. I’ve known him for about 10 years and he’s always been in serious relationships but single for the last two years. The text conversation went a little like this:
Amy: So why don’t you want to be in a relationship?
Friend: I just don’t feel ready for one or really want one. To be honest I like being alone in general and not just relationships.
Amy: Interesting. Do you feel relationships are a lot of work or a burden?
Friend: I feel like when I can’t help myself with someone, then it must be right. Not so much work or burden (with the right person) but I spent time bouncing from relationship to relationship that I lost sight of myself. Not to be cynical but I really don’t believe in the ideology of “love” anymore. And I’m not being cliché.
Amy: Really? Is it that bad?
Friend: The city is a mess. It’s pretty tough. All women think they aren’t the snobby unapproachable one but they can be.
As a response to the final statement, I must add that there really is no good way to tell someone you are not interested. If you’re nice to someone and politely tell them you’re not interested, men may sometimes get angry that you wasted their time. They suggest that you should have just told them right away. However, if you tell them right away then you are snobby for not giving them a chance. In both cases, you will never win and are portrayed as the villain.
One thing that stood out for me was the idea of independence. In a relationship, we need to be able to depend on our partner and know that they will be there for us in times of need. Today, relationships have taken a strange turn where we look for a sense of separate togetherness.
Relationships require time, commitment and the willingness to mentally share an emotional space with your partner. Success depends on the balance of what people bring into the relationship and what they receive. An imbalance can lead to resentment when one partner feels they are losing something. This can lead to a dynamic where one partner demands their needs to be met while the other withdraws.
So I guess the question really is: when we have it all, do we really want/need a relationship? A majority of society now moves at an incredible pace with many people multitasking between multiple roles. This leaves us little time to foster a relationship when all we really want is to just take a nap or vacation somewhere. The fact is we have become too busy to think about relationships. The ones that do consider it are often frustrated because they’re not ready for the challenges that come with it.
It may be time to ask one important question: what’s the point of having it all if you have no one to share it with?
Amy Yew is a researcher and therapist. Tell us what you think and submit any questions you have to email@example.com. You can also tweet your thoughts on Twitter @AmyYew.