What Makes Singles Go to Extremes?
By Claire Aldrich
Most of us have a friend who's on one end or another of the singles scale. There's the pal who's always living with a partner. Then there's the one who's never in a relationship for very long. What inspires these extreme singles?
It all boils down to security - or insecurity, in some cases.
You've probably got a friend who always seems to have a partner, but the two of them don't seem all that happy. He clearly doesn't want to be alone. So each new relationship moves fast. You've just met his new girl and they're moving in together.
Sometimes this need to be attached stems from wanting comfort from a relationship. Physical closeness is healthy. But wouldn't the relationship be healthier if you got to know each other well before living together 24-7?
Others hook up because they like the security of sharing the bills and knowing they have a financial partner as well as a romantic one. Sure it helps to split the living costs, but there's lots of tension if you have different financial philosophies. You'd be smarter to find that out before agreeing to share the load.
Forever a Free Agent
Then there's the friend who seems extra picky about dating prospects. Your pal's looking for love, but no one seems good enough. What gives?
Often this is a sign that your friend is afraid of getting hurt. He's not willing to put himself out there unless it's the woman of his dreams. And she's just not materializing. Or your gal pal finds something wrong with every guy you nudge her way. He's too overweight. Too immature. Too sappy. Too annoying. The list goes on.
You want your friend to be happy, but you just don't understand the hesitation. So you set her up with a cool acquaintance, and it works briefly but then fizzles. Again! Now she's back to where she started. Afraid of getting hurt.
Reliable Safety Net
You can help your friends by being a safety net instead of a critic. Of course it's easy for you to diagnose what's causing your pal's relationship freefalls. But if you're not asked, don't share your analysis. Nobody appreciates unsolicited advice.
When your buddy does ask for help figuring out what's going wrong, go easy on him. Suggest that he learn to live alone for a while before shacking up with the next girl he dates. Stress what's good about that - not having to negotiate everything with a partner, eating whatever you want, going on road trips on a whim.
When your girlfriend bemoans that there are no good guys out there anymore, help her consider dating casually and getting to know some of these so-so guys to see if there's more substance than meets the eye.
Just remember, encourage rather than criticize. You wouldn't want your friends constantly rehashing your relationship mishaps, would you? Be sensitive and gently nudge your single friends away from the extremes and into the zone of realistic relationship expectations.
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