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JET Love

Single Vs. Taken: The Myth of ‘Lost Freedom’

For whatever reason, many people think that being in a relationship is signing away your independence, especially if you get married. While marriage definitely makes it more difficult to just “pick up and go,” by no means does the commitment imply that your life is over as you know it.

Will things change?

Yes, but change isn’t always a bad thing.

Recently, a friend asked me to write about the benefits of being single vs. being married. I’ve never been married, and to reach a broader audience, I will swap out the term for “in a relationship.”

When you’re single, you’re only responsible for making one person happy, and that’s you. You can come and go as you please, and make decisions for yourself because well…you’re it. You don’t have to worry about whether or not your mate wants to see a certain movie or what he/she wants for dinner because you don’t have anyone to ask. But honestly, when you’re in a relationship, you can still come and go as you please, eat whatever you want and watch whatever you feel like watching. It isn’t a ball and chain. The only difference is that your desire to do so will evolve if you’re in a healthy relationship, because you’ll want to do more things with your mate. And if you happen to want time for yourself, which is a very normal and healthy desire, you’ll just have to communicate that to your mate.

Those that equate being in a relationships with losing your freedom have a very tainted view of the status. When you enter a union for the right reasons, i.e. love and companionship, you WANT to spend time with your mate. You want to make them happy. Taking their thoughts, feelings and actions into consideration isn’t a chore, but a natural instinct; a desire even. And when you have a partner who does the same for you, then nothing but goodness, growth and evolution can come from that.

As someone who truly values her independence, I can honestly say that being in a relationship does not take away from your freedom. In fact it’s the opposite. But a relationship with a controlling, manipulative, paranoid, uncommunicative person does. Instead of placing such restraint on the title, consider the source of your pessimistic views on commitment. Is it because of what you’ve seen or experienced in the past? Or are your feelings rooted in fear of what could occur? Either way, you’re not allowing the present to guide your life, and that is often a reason for commitment phobia.

Your ideal life partner is someone who allows and encourages you to be your full and complete self. That includes your right to be free in all aspects that do not violate the terms of your relationship. It isn’t a prison where you can’t go out with the boys/girls because your man/woman will complain. The only thing that you’d have to sacrifice is sleeping with other people, and that’s IF you and your partner decide that is a deal-breaker. I happen to know quite a few successful couples who are swingers. Just sayin.’

I’m definitely team healthy, loving, supportive, desirable relationship. But I’m more inclined to advise you to do what works for you. So if being single is your thing, by all means do you. Just make sure that you’re not allowing fear to hinder you from progressing and actually being happy in a rich, fulfilling relationship.

YOUR TURN: Which is better? Being single or being in a relationship and why?  Share your tips with me at digitalpitches@ebony.com or simply comment in the section below!

 

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Shantell E. Jamison is a Chicago-based writer, radio personality, and cultural critic. She’s also JET Magazine’s Digital Content Editor. She’s been featured on WBEZ 91.5FM, “The Monique Caradine Show,” Vocalo 91.1FM, KDKA Newsradio 1020AM, WBGX 1570AM, WYCA 102.3FM, Chicago Now, The Grio, The Black Youth Project, The Gate Newspaper and “Launching Chicago with Lenny McAllister.” Her debut book, “Drive Yourself in the Right Direction: Simple Quotes on How to Achieve Your Best Self” is available now on Amazon.com.