The student news site of Whitney Young Magnet High School in Chicago, Illinois.

BEACON

The student news site of Whitney Young Magnet High School in Chicago, Illinois.

BEACON

The student news site of Whitney Young Magnet High School in Chicago, Illinois.

BEACON

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How Much Does a Relationship Really Matter?

Oftentimes, I find myself contemplating about if I’d be better off staying single, or getting into a relationship. I usually come to the conclusion that I should most definitely learn independence and self-reliance, but that a relationship is ultimately more fun. Nowadays, there is a lot of pressure around getting into relationships and finding your “highschool sweetheart” while you still can, but my question is: how much does finding a life-long partner really affect you in the long run? 

I recently learned in my AP Psychology class that as we grow and mature as adults, our attachment detaches from our parents and slowly lends itself to our peers and partners. I’ve also learned that we as humans have an inherent need to be social, to fit in and build close relationships with others. What comes in hand with that, is that when humans are faced with ostracism, or exclusion, the toll it takes on our mental state is more than you’d assume. 

Northwestern Medicine has a list of 5 benefits of forming healthy relationships in life. In this list, they state that “being in a loving relationship…can give a person a sense of well-being and purpose.” Now, it is important to note that while Northwestern Medicine mentions that people in committed relationships share these benefits, they also never explicitly state that they all had to be romantic. In fact, Psychologist Sheehan Fisher says that, “It’s important to not focus on trying to get everything you need from one relationship. Instead, focus on having a network of social support with a variety of different types of relationships.” 

Fisher answers our very important question. Finding a romantic partner can help you form healthy habits and romantic relationships are linked to less stress, but you cannot ask for everything you need to satisfy you in life from one person. Building healthy, strong relationships with everyone around you, including your friends, co-workers, mentors, is something that not only boosts our happiness, but is essential to our daily lives. Bringing us back to AP Psychology, in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the “Love and Belonging” tier that outlines the necessity of friendship, intimacy, and connections, is the first to appear after our physiological needs and safety needs. In other words, after we have all established that our bodies are taken care of and we are safe in our environment, we must reach those connections in order to reach self-esteem and self-actualization. 

On the other hand, Professor Kipling D. Williams at Purdue University says that “If exposure to ostracism continues over a long period of time, then the individual’s resources for coping are depleted, and he or she is likely to experience alienation, depression, helplessness, and unworthiness.” To put this into context, not only does isolation prevent us from growing as individuals, but it hinders our ability to find worth in ourselves and life.

Combining William’s and Fisher’s findings we have a very simple answer: balance is key. You cannot expect one person, your partner, to fix all of your problems. Though they may be the person you trust the most, or even the one you love the most, we must strive to create steady and meaningful connections with all of those around us. To add, we cannot detach ourselves from those around us, only relying on ourselves to stay content. Friendships, love, and family are what makes us human. It is quite literally innate to yearn for an attachment to someone else. So, the next time you stress over how lonely you feel without a partner, take a deep breath in, and look around. You might find more love than you ever could’ve expected!



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