Being in a relationship

What does being ‘in a relationship’ mean to you?

by Eharmony Editorial Team - November 2, 2016

If you’ve recently left a long-term relationship or been single for a while, you may believe that being in a relationship will be the answer to all of your problems. But are you really looking for the right thing? Rebecca Perkins shares what she’s learned…

I used to believe that being part of a couple was the most important thing in the world. I believed that a partner would complete me, that they would be the missing jigsaw puzzle piece in my life. I believed that for a very long time – and I know I’m not the only one! Let’s be honest; the majority of the film industry is built on this belief. We believe that we’re seen as somehow less than whole if we don’t have a partner, and I bought into that myth along with everyone else.

Things changed for me when I started dating in midlife. I thought a lot about my life and explored what I wanted and what a relationship really meant to me. I certainly wanted to go into any new relationship without dragging a suitcase full of past relationship baggage with me – and I’m sure you do too!

Dating second time around, and in midlife, things are admittedly different. We’re not usually looking for a parent for our children, someone to support us financially, or even someone we want to live with on a full-time basis. A friend said that she thought it was cool that we were creating a new genre of relationship in midlife, one that we weren’t being defined by!

Being ‘in a relationship’

So, what does being ‘in a relationship’ mean to you? I think it’s one of the fundamental questions that we need to ask ourselves if we want to enjoy a fully satisfying relationship in the future.

Before I could reach a place of contentment within a relationship, I had to come to the point where I could accept that there was nothing wrong with me, that I was perfectly whole. I was complete without having a partner to fill in the missing bits that I thought needed filling. And you know what? This outlook makes dating, and being in a new relationship, so much more fun and lighthearted. I no longer needed to look for a knight in shining armour because I was my very own lady in shining armour! I didn’t need fixing, and neither do you!

The relief was huge. It meant that I could simply ask the one important question that a very wise woman asked me once, ‘do you like hanging out together?’ Knowing this has enabled me to look at my relationship again and realise that yes, we do like hanging out together, and that’s all that really matters.

I discovered that what I wanted more than anything in life and from a relationship were these three little words: fun, effortless and ease. Those are my guiding principles these days. Fun, effortless and ease is what being in a relationship means to me now, and I know from past experience that’s it’s a whole lot nicer than dull and difficult.

What are the three little words that describe what being in a relationship means to you? I promise, once you know them, it’ll make online dating so much easier and a lot more fun!