“Resistance is futile. Individualism is irrelevant.” You have heard this before. For those of you who are (or have been) Trekkies, you know exactly who I am quoting. The Borg. The Borg is a group that seeks to replace individuals’ thoughts and behaviors and assimilate them for the good of the collective. The individual loses his/her identity and becomes one with the group forever.
These days, many people view couples the same way; they feel that a person getting into a relationship is forsaking his or her own identity for the chance of acceptance. This is not always the case, but The Couples Culture is doing nothing to hinder the stereotype. In fact, if you are different from those in The Couples Culture, they will either ignore you or attempt to have you join and become “one of them.” Couples get a bad rap, and I think I know why.
The truth must be revealed.
I am going to come at this from a guy’s perspective, so ladies, please bear with me. Let’s say there is a guy named Joe. Joe has three really close friends, and he does everything with them. They hang out all the time and feel like a band of brothers. Then Joe meets “her.” Guys, you know what I am talking about. She is cute, but not good-looking enough for Joe; she is nice, but not nice enough, etc., etc. After all, Joe desires a lady that is incredible, and this girl, well, she is just mediocre. The problem is, however, that he really likes her. No, he really, really likes her. He likes her so much, in fact, that you hardly ever see him anymore. He spends all of his time with her, and the little time he spends with you is awkward because he is looking at you through the lens of “we-ness” (i.e. “WE do not like that”). You can even tell that he secretly pities you because of your singles solitude. Then, the realization hits: “Dear God, he has been infected by The Couples Culture! He is one of them!”
It does not have to be this way.
Granted, we have all been in situations where we are hanging out by ourselves with a couple that does not seem to know you exist. They are so “into each other” that you are barely a blip on their radar. Any conversation you make somehow ties in to the love they have for each other. It looks like true love, when in fact it is rude and disrespectful to the other person. “That will never be me,” many people state until they are assimilated.
You do have a choice.
Do not be fooled by the wedding band on my finger or the marriage license with my name on it. Alison and I utterly refuse to take part in that culture and have been ostracized. We are fine with that. But now, I would like to give you a few warning signs that you, my friend, might be taking part in The Couples Culture.
Another couple instantly becomes your new best friends. After all, “Single people can never relate to you anymore. Only couples can! You must be friends with a couple first and foremost.” Why is this? You do not instantly become another person as soon as you are in a relationship … unless you are in The Couples Culture. Your single friends are still your friends. Being in a relationship does not change that.
You become increasingly awkward around single people. See above. It is a vicious cycle that forces you to claim a couple you barely know as best friends. Again, there is no need for awkwardness around single people. They do not need your pity for being single; they need you to be their friend.
You ask permission to do things. You do not have to ask your mate’s permission to do anything. Of course, you need to show consideration, but there is a fine line between showing consideration and acting whipped. This applies to guys and ladies each. It is not, “I need to check with her and see if it is okay.” It is either, “Of course, let me call and let her know,” or “Well, I would love to, but I already have plans.”
You feel the need to proselytize all of your single friends into The Couples Culture. In other words, you try to hook everybody up. Do not bother. It is not your responsibility to put everyone in a relationship. Resist the temptation. After all, if you try to fix a single friend up, it confirms the fact that you have pity on them and that their life will not have meaning unless they are in a relationship. That is inaccurate and hurtful.
Part of this was meant in jest, but there is a serious issue at stake here. We do not achieve our “destiny” by being in a relationship. That is not our goal. Our goal is to grow closer to and love God; you can do that as a single person or as one in a relationship. The people around us will all die someday; if we allow ourselves to be defined by them, then where does that leave us when they are gone?