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Why Some Women Feel They Must Be in a Relationship

Grace loves to write commentaries on psycho-cultural and sociocultural dynamics in their myriad forms.

Women are told over and over that they are only successful if they're in a relationship.

Women are told over and over that they are only successful if they're in a relationship.

"I Just Can't Live Without a Man!"

Women have been indoctrinated, even inculcated, since they were girls that they must have a man in their lives in order to feel whole and complete. They are further told that men provide them with needed companionship and security. In addition to that, they are taught that, without men in their lives, their lives are only second rate. They are further inundated with the idea that it is never good to be alone.

Women don't only hear this from their parents, relatives, friends, and associates. Society as a whole conveys this message, not to mention magazines, advertisements, and other entertainment media.

Women Are Measured by Their Relationships

Women are told that a relationship will make them feel beautiful, sexual, and desirable. Relationships are often the parameter that determines how desirable a woman is. Women who are in relationships, whether noncommittal or marital, are often viewed as more desirable and sexual than women who are not in relationships. In essence, the degree of a woman's allure and femininity is measured by being in a relationship.

No matter how outwardly successful a woman is, whether in her career or other arenas, if she is single, she is often viewed as less of a person than a woman who is in a relationship. In the eyes of some people, a woman is considered to be successful only when she's dating or married; her career status is only secondary. It seems that a woman must be in a relationship to be considered acceptable.

Women Are Told That Relationships Are the Most Important Thing

Women are furthermore led to believe that the most important thing in their lives is to be in a relationship. Even if they have successful careers and outer lives, they are often not considered legitimate until they are in a relationship. Society conveys to women that being in a relationship is crucial to complete happiness in their lives.

Women who are in relationships are viewed more positively by society. They are viewed as being more attractive, sensual, feminine, and desirable than women who are not in relationships. Women also use relationships as a status symbol. It is not unusual for some women play the game of one-upmanship, stating that at least they have a man while the other women do not.

For some woman, the single most important thing in their lives is to be in a relationship. To these women, being in a relationship is the be and end all. They have such an obsessive need to be in a relationship that they put their careers, friends, hobbies, and/or even themselves in second place. There are some women who actually put their entire lives on hold until they are in a relationship.

The Fear of Being Alone

There are many women who are extremely fearful of not being in a relationship. They are phobic of being alone. A woman who is not in a relationship is often looked upon quite negatively. She is considered to be unattractive and undesirable. In addition to that, her femininity is quite suspect. In fact, she is subjected to pejorative and disparaging remarks regarding her sexuality.

Women who are not in relationships are told that something is wrong with them. They are told that they have what is considered too many negative characteristics to be with a man. They are further instructed to be more submissive and more traditionally feminine in order to obtain and keep a man.

For fear of being alone, many women would often sublimate their true identity and present a false persona. They are fearful that if they are their individual selves, the men in their lives would not like it. So they downplay any characteristics when their male companion deem unacceptable in order to make them more appealing. They portend that they rather be inauthentic persons in a relationship than to be their authentic selves without a relationship.

Pressure to Find a Partner Leads to Bad Relationships

Many women who are not in relationships are either overtly or covertly pressured to be in a relationship. They are routinely told that they are quite insignificant in themselves. They are further told that they would be "secure" unless they are in a relationship as it is not good to be without a man, especially as one gets older.

There are women who are so afraid to be alone that they endure less than positive relationships. Many women even chose to be very deleteriously abusive relationships because they believe that they possibly cannot survive without a relationship. There are some women who are told that a bad relationship is infinitely better than no relationship. There are many women who tolerate less than positive men because they so desperately want to be in a relationship. These women actually become quite emotionally unhinged if they are not in a relationship.

Examples From Women I Know

I remember my maternal cousin who always had to be in one relationship or another. The only thing on her mind was having a man in her life. She put men before her own self-development and career. She even endured disrespectful relationships for the sake of always having a man in her life. Another maternal cousin informed her that she does not always need to have a man in her life. This second maternal cousin furthermore told her that a woman can have no relationship and be quite happy.

One of my supervisors always had to be involved in a relationship. Most of her relationships were quite disastrous. The men whom she was involved with routinely disrespected her. However, she maintained that she was quite afraid to be alone and/or be more choosy regarding her relationships.

This supervisor was a bright woman; however, she was relegated to a low paying job. Men were the alpha and the omega in her life. She actually put her life on hold because she believed that men were utterly necessary to make her feel worthwhile. In essence, her main emphasis in life are relationships, often to the exclusion of everything else.

When Marriage Is Viewed as the Ultimate Goal

In relation to this topic, many women are taught to believe that their ultimate goal in life is to be married. Many women do not value their relationships for a learning experiences but often as the stepping stone to marriage. In this society, marriage is often presented as a security measure for women. Many women view marriage as the ultimate prize. They portend that once they get married, their relational life is made. They feel that they no longer have to endure the histrionics and melodrama that dating involves. They have their men and that's it.

Marriage oftentimes is not permanent and there is divorce. Let me not digress from this issue. Many women either consciously or unconsciously believe that marriage is a permanent thing and they go through plenty to ascertain this. Some of them endure less than positive marriages and convey a happy marital façade even though the signs of marital dysfunction are clearly present. They refuse to acknowledge this because they are afraid to get a divorce, knowing that they will be without a husband.

The View That a Bad Marriage Is Better Than No Marriage

Such women view the prospect of a divorce from a less positive marriage to be the kiss of death. They believe that they cannot exist without their husbands so they would rather endure a negative marriage than not to be married at all. In essence, they are in deep denial regarding their situation.

Attracting the Wrong Kind of Man

Ironically, women who are desperate for and/or are obsessive to be in relationships often attract men who treat them disrespectfully. Men can sense who is needy and the more mature and self-assured men veer away from such women. The more mature, intelligent, and self-assured men usually wants a woman who WANTS to be in a relationship. This man wants a woman who views a relationship as only part of her life with her other interests. In essence, the mature, intelligent, and self-assured man wants an independent woman who can hold her own and is not solely dependent on a relationship to make her whole—she is WHOLE!

Women who need and must have relationships usually attract men who prey on their dependence. These men feel that they can treat these woman any way they wish because the latter does not possess the prerequisite self-consciousness to assert their rights and leave the relationship, if need be. These men know instinctually that these women are loathe to be alone, so the former use negative psychology to subordinate the latter and keep them in their "place."

Your Sense of Self Is the Most Important Thing in Your Life

Many women elect not to realize that they are sufficient in themselves. They do not need a man to make them complete, sufficient, and/or even whole. Anyone who conveys such an idea is quite atavistic indeed. Relationships are fun and exciting; however, they are not everything. Women must realize that the most important thing in their lives is their sense of self—nothing more, nothing less.

In summation, women are inundated from early childhood that they must be in a relationship. They are further ingrained with the idea that they are not sufficient in themselves but need a man to complete them. As a result of this constant inundation, many women become quite obsessive, always searching to be in a relationship.

Relationships Are Not the Be All, End All

To many women, being in a negative relationship is better than being in no relationship at all. Conversely, women who feel that they must be in relationships usually attract men who treat them less than positively as the more positive men want women who are comfortable with themselves with or without a relationship. Relationships are well and good but they are not the be and end all in women's lives.