You may believe that finding that elusive girlfriend will finally make you happy, but I’ve got news for you – the happiness that you find in the beginning of your relationship will not last. I once read an article that compared finding love to buying a new sweater. You feel great after you’ve obtained what you desire. You feel sexy for a while, but in time, the sweater fades and you return back to your original level of happiness. You begin to take the new sweater for granted and you start looking for a new sweater so that you could recapture those initial feelings in the beginning of a relationship. Why do some say that the phrase “I do” is the biggest lie in Hollywood? So many celebrities are used to getting what they want, and when the “love” in the beginning of a relationship wears out, they feel entitled to that “happiness” again.
Many married couples will tell you that what you decide to do after your “sweater” has lost its initial appeal is real love. Real love is seeing the faded color and the worn seams and consciously deciding to stick with that sweater for the rest of its existence. Love is an action. It’s not the magical feeling that the inexperienced believe it to be.
You may be itching to enter the dating world, but remember that there are some consequences to dating: You have to spend money on dinner dates, activities, and hotel rooms (if necessary.) There may be times when you’d rather watch the game at Applebee’s with your friends than be with her and her friends for the night. I worked in jury duty with a divorced man who told me that a boyfriend is just a “husband-in-training.” There’s truth to his statement. A boyfriend is beginning the lifelong process of sacrificing his two most valuable assets – money and time – for a girl, a process that will only continue over his lifetime as the relationship ideally leads to marriage and children.
When I was single, I used to tell myself “I’m sick of being alone.” Now, although I am a happy married family man, I relish time that I have alone. Thinking back, it was wonderful to wake up every day and focus myself. It was wonderful to have all roads of possibilities in front of me. One could compare a single man to a man with a world map and a plane ticket to any city and a man in a relationship to a man with a nice house in the suburbs. Both men have their advantages and disadvantages.
Suppose you are 29 years old, the average age of a US male when he has his “first” marriage. You may think that it is time to settle down, especially if you have friends who are doing the same, but I have news for you: If you live the average male’s lifespan up to age 73, you’d have 44 years of marriage – one woman for the rest of your life – ahead of you. What’s wrong with waiting till you’re 39? You’d still have 34 years of marriage ahead of you if you lived the average lifespan.
I’m not trying to disparage marriage, but I am telling to you enjoy what you have before you lose it. Enjoy what you have before you find a girlfriend. Take a stroll outside and look around you. Can you tell which men are in a relationship and which men are not? Do the men with significant others walk and talk with a little more pep in their step? You may see a young man looking like he’s on cloud nine as he walks with a pretty woman down the street, but will see him ten years later when he’s pushing a stroller in Buy Buy Baby with another baby strapped to his chest? Will you see him in twenty years when he’s in the bagel store by himself and other married men talking about how it’s great to be alone for one hour a day? Don’t get me wrong – love is great. Marriage is great. Studies show that married men longer, happier, and more fulfilling lives. But being single and free isn’t a bad thing either. If you’re single, don’t take this time for granted.