As the Soundgarden song says: “The grass is always greener / Where the dogs are shitting,” and I can think of few more pertinent situations for that statement to apply than a column dedicated to hashing out the intricacies of love and relationships.
So, which side of society’s favorite invisible divide is preferable? The one where you’ve been supposedly made whole by the addition of a significant other, or the barren, lonely world beyond? Let’s be logical about it and break it down into pros and cons for each.
THE PROS OF BEING SHACKED UP:
- Someone to have sex with anytime you want, until you literally can’t feel anything anymore.
- The likelihood that even when you have nothing to do, you’ll be doing zip all with another person, making it feel like something more meaningful (though it’s really not necessarily so).
- You can put away your hunting gear for however long it lasts — if you’re out and about, bleary-eyed at bars until last call, it’s probably because you’re annoying the rest of the world by pawing at each other incessantly, rather than because you’re on the prowl for the least offensive prey you can kill that night.
- It’s like getting into a new video game. No matter where you are or what you’re doing, you have this fun thing you’re looking forward to getting back to and playing with.
- It’s pretty lovely, validating and comforting to know that another human reciprocates all of the above and probably more, depending on how far up you’ve shacked.
THE CONS OF BEING SHACKED UP:
- You’re shacked up.
- Chances are that you’ll eventually become more like fancy roommates than snarling wolverines ravenous for each other’s genitals and company. These chances are very high, no matter what you will likely tell yourself during the months and years it takes for it all to unravel. (Note: I was first called a pessimist at age 8, but I feel I’m more of a realist.)
- Your emotional investment in each other makes you a fucking basketcase. For every chunk of security and safety you feel with your precious other half, you will have moments of sheer, primal insanity over what will likely end up being nothing more than a misconstrued blip. But you’ll probably say a ton of shitty things in the process, thus laying the foundation for the aforementioned demise.
- It can (read: will) distract you, inevitably, from other parts of your life, whether it’s work, friends or hobbies. Chances are other loved ones will feel neglected and there will be some sort of resentment jambalaya a-cookin’ between you.
- Secretly, all you want to do is be with them, and the rest of your life becomes the means to an end. (This one’s for all you freshly-baked lovers).
THE PROS OF BEING SINGLE:
- You’re FREE! You can do whatever you want, whenever you want, without having the answer to anyone or worry about upsetting and/or disappointing them (which, in turn, spares you from the ordeal of “talking it out” until you want to vomit).
- You can make sexy notches on your belt like Edward Scissorhands after hooping an 8 ball, if it so behooves you.
- The world is your oyster. You can pretty much have anything you want. Who knows what’s in store? The future is a magical choose your own adventure waiting to unfold before you, with potential for fun, adventure, success, love, giddiness, infatuation and passion potentially lurking around every corner.
- Compromising is for schmucks! You can lay out your life exactly as you see fit without consideration for another’s preferences.
- Your social and professional networks are likely massive, rich and full because you haven’t had that extra succubus of a distraction that is a relationship taking up all of your time. Your friends might actually see you regularly!
THE CONS OF BEING SINGLE:
- Everyone thinks you’re a leper because you’re single. Especially if you’re happy that way.
- Okay, those sexy notches I mentioned earlier are usually disappointing, ill-advised what-the-fucks. Usually. (editor’s note: usually turns into sometimes the older you get! – Nadia)
- The dating world, even casually, is a cesspool of neurotic, narcissistic people who can’t think good. It’s not that it makes you wonder if you’re fundamentally unlovable, it’s that it depresses the fuck out of you to think that most people are, indeed, really that shitty and bereft of substance or reason.
- Paying rent is hard, yo (Maybe that’s just me; I work in the arts). And I don’t think baby Jesus intended for us to live in a world where we have to put our own fitted sheets on the mattress every time, or take our own garbage out. It’s nice to be able to pawn off the things we consider most menial on someone else (and vice versa).
- Yeah, it can be lonely. Let’s be real. You’re allowed to have those feels every so often.
So, which side wins? *drum roll*
Life isn’t about absolutes or forcing round pegs into square holes. Chill out, enjoy the good moments and what you have. If something isn’t working with someone, give it your best shot and get out if it doesn’t get better. If you’re lonely and a spouse is the only thing you can think of that will fulfill you, take up a new hobby. Relationships shouldn’t be about codependency or filling voids. You don’t have to be a serial monogamist or militant lone wolf. Paranoid over-analysis of every aspect of yourself or your situation probably won’t lead to anything healthy, either. Whatever you do and whoever you’re doing it with, try to have fun and appreciate each other. When you’re about to croak, I doubt your final thoughts will be, “Boy, I’m glad I suffered through X years of marriage,” or, “Damn, I wish I’d banged more sluts n’ bros!”
And, when it doubt: bourbon.