Relationships are celebrated everywhere in American culture. The idea of the perfect relationship drives a billion dollar retail industry, banks in every February 14th, and has it’s own genre in Hollywood.
We’ve been conditioned to crave the right relationship since we were kids.
Think Mickie and Minnie, Bugs and Lola, Kim Possible and Ron Stoppable.
Erika Brodnock, CEO of Karisma Kidz, which helps children raise their self-esteem and Judy Reith, parenting coach and director of Parenting People, in an article for Huffington Post on dating in school, said that parents and children are facing the onslaught of pressure from the media. Reith says,
“Early sexualization encouraged by media influences is increasingly available and places huge pressure on girls to have boyfriends before they are emotionally ready.”
From my earliest memories in high school to college, the perks of having a girlfriend were always overstated. The only reason you were not in a relationship was because you was getting out of one.
And it’s this idea of feeling inadequate without a said significant other that’s troubling.
Relationships should be seen as a luxury. And as any luxury, we should evaluate whether our lives can afford a tax of such magnitude.
The problem is that the majority of us do not realize how taxing a relationship can be. With the benefits of emotional relief, companionship, and personal growth come depletion of energy, the sacrifice of personal time and far more monetary investments.
When relationships are viewed as a necessity, it enables you to bring people in your life before you’re ready, it makes you spend when you need to save, and it distracts you when they’re supposed to be grinding and focused.
Luxury of Time
What can and can’t you afford? Having a solid gauge on the amount of time and energy you need to execute all of your goals in the most efficient way possible is essential to getting ahead in life.
Understanding that in a relationship a reallocation of this time and energy is inevitable. So in this instance you must ask yourself, is a relationship a luxury you can afford?
Entering a relationship without factoring the dedication needed towards a new lover is emotional suicide.
Especially when you are a businesses owner, entrepreneur, or anyone who is currently honed in on accomplishing a goal. Not factoring in such variables and dynamics of a relationship like ‘quality time’ will blindside you and will ultimately make the relationship a waste of time for everyone involved.
When you approach a relationship viewing it as a luxury you either do or do not have, you will factor in all the fine print details and make a more clear-headed decision.
Even if evaluating a relationship as a luxury opens your eyes to alternative relationship approaches such as casual intimacy or friends with benefits, it’s better than entering an ill-advised relationship.
Luxury of Money
When I see friends of mines enter a relationship, I immediately see them in a higher tax bracket.
No matter how frugal your significant other may be, eventually, you’re going to have to spend a penny on them. And much like your time and energy, you have to assess if that is something that you can afford in life.
Many will say that money and romance — a true romance that is — are separate, and that they have no influence on the other. Conventional knowledge, however, says otherwise.
CNBC ran a story last year with the headline that finances are the leading cause of stress in a relationship, according to a survey of people in a relationship or partnership released Wednesday by SunTrust Bank.
Even if you are financially dependent, there are going to be expenses that you may be tempted to indulge in simply because you care deeply for them.
Gift-giving is a language of love that you may not be able to afford to speak, and making that assessment prior to entering a relationship is easier when you view it as a privilege.
Luxury of Rest
Having a partner can be like a vacation, even a distraction. A distraction from reality, a distraction from problems, work, stress, whatever. That’s what makes relationships such a great luxury, being able to have someone for an escape.
But the truth of the matter is that most of us are not ready for that luxury.
We can cry all night and day about what we don’t have, the goals we have not reached and the places we haven’t been, but if we are not willing to have a tunnel vision for accomplishing it, it’ll be hard believing we wanted it at all.
The same goes for assessing your pockets before paying for the luxury of a relationship.
If you are positive you can afford to rest, then the periodic alleviation a significant other provides is definitely worth it. But if you know you need one hundred percent focus and that any time not spent on your ambitions is spent on resting so that you can, maybe a revaluation of that luxury would be wise.
Viewing relationships as a luxury is doing nothing more than helping keep our self-awareness keen. It’s easy to bite off more than you can chew. And in the gluttonous society that is America, it may be worth going on a relationship diet.
Next time when you’re deciding to enter a relationship, evaluate if it’s a luxury you can afford. It will do you better in the long run.