Throughout Americanah, the issue on relationships and their worth has been brought up multiple times. Whether it’s being cheated on, the mistress, long distance, the bum, or the unavailable; every relationship has its problems. Although relationships can be fun and exciting at first, if things start taking a turn for the worse you might need to reevaluate the importance of this relationship (whether they’re romantic or friend-related). In regards to my title, it might sound too simplistic to assume all we have to do is look for signs to guide us in our life endeavors–which is true–, but hey, it was my analogy and it’s a damn good one.
As a junior in high school, my relationship advice/experience is at the bare minimum, three boyfriends: the first one didn’t really count, the second wasn’t much of a relationship, and the third I’m currently in–which, if I may add, I’m happy in. But that’s all beside the point. I can’t speak as someone who has been cheated on or has cheated on another, but I can offer my opinions on these situations and stories from my MOTHER’S dating escapades.
A long time ago, after graduating high school in 1980, my mother decided to marry her “mature-er, two-years-her-senior boyfriend,” Rob*. What a mistake that turned out to be. After a nine year downward sloping marriage, popping out my two half-brothers, realizing Rob was a toxic and lazy bum, my mom said, “Sayonara.”
Jump forward to the high times of the ’90s and my mom was dating Lars*, a daddy’s boy–maybe these descriptions of men are too harsh, but if the shoe fits–whose father was CEO of Medtronic. Going boating on the weekends and having a family who rented out a castles in France for a long weekend didn’t faze her simplistic ways. Lars didn’t take too kindly to sarcastic comments ergo my mom could not fully be herself in the relationship–not that she tried to change for him, she just had to restrain a part of her personality. Lest to say, it ended on an angry note: “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out,” my mom joked one evening. Apparently he took it as her way of ending the relationship, and they lived happily ever after–without each other.
Of course there were single stages in between divorce and dating; you always need time for yourself and where your priorities lay. It’s nice to have a partner, but it’s never a necessity. My mom was 19 the first time she got married and 36 the second. Some people become too obsessed with the idea of marriage and believing their window of opportunity at having a life partner closes with increasing age, but it really doesn’t. Anyone can marry at any age, and with that being said you shouldn’t settle for less just because you’re afraid of being alone nor should you worry about never finding a new partner just because of a sudden breakup.
Loneliness allows you to be completely free to make any decision you want, along with not being responsible for another person. I won’t preach one type of relationship over the other (a relationship with only yourself versus a relationship with another person), but it is healthy to have a mixture of both in your life–the latter relationship is not exclusive to romantic types, human interaction in general can fall under this. I’m sure–hopefully–anyone can make a pros and cons list to either relationship type, but what I’m saying is that if you’re feeling mistreated or unhappy in a relationship it’s time to quit it. If you feel you’re “too much alone,” it’s time to go out into the world and interact with others.
*Name has been changed.