Advertising
Advertising

Exploring Relationships with the Single Weirdo

Exploring Relationships with the Single Weirdo

One of the many interesting things about being a life-long, single male in his early forties is people’s reactions to that single-ness (yep, a word). Everyone has an opinion on it. Depending on the person’s thinking, it can place me anywhere on the scale from ‘complete social outcast’, to ‘coolest bloke on earth’ and ‘luckiest man alive’. And elicit responses ranging from pity and ridicule, to envy and admiration. Or in the case of my mother, complete devastation. My darling mom sees me essentially as a means to a grandchild and to be honest, I have been a bitter disappointment. Sure, she wants me happily married, but what she really wants is that kid. And yes, she lets me know it.

I love the mentality that says “single at that age, must be something wrong with him. Weirdo.”

Yep, had plenty of that.

“He’s how old? And no woman? Must have a lot of issues.”

“Poor thing.”

Interesting psychology that. Yet, very common.

Advertising

What’s wrong with a little Enya?

It’s like they have a picture in their mind of me sitting at home every night in my underwear, in a room lit by candles, eating meatloaf flavored ice-cream from a paper plate, with my pet rat Eugene on my shoulder, my feet in one of those foot spas, a little ‘Enya’ playing in the background and some strategically placed cushions with images of my ex-girlfriends embroidered on them, lying around the room.

That’s okay right?

If I had said tuna flavored ice-cream, now that woulda been weird.

Waddya mean the cushion thing is creepy?

Oh well.

We all know that married people have no issues and that if, per chance, they do enter into their matrimonial journey with a few problems, the marriage ceremony will alleviate those instantly and forever. Great how that works isn’t it?

Advertising

What people think about me being single doesn’t bother me at all, but it does interest me. For some bizarre reason, my single-ness is fascinating to some. I personally don’t think it’s interesting at all, but you would be shocked by the number of people who want to interrogate me regarding my ‘lack of wife’ status, in an attempt to discover what’s wrong with me. “There’s gotta be something, it’s not normal” someone told me recently. I wonder if I wasn’t single, whether people would say “so Craig, why are you married?”

The marriage rule

Apparently, as a Personal Development speaker and writer I should be married. It’s a rule. People have suggested that my career would benefit from my extrication from the world of single-dom. Doesn’t really matter whether I’m happily married or not, as long as I’m married.

A woman said to me recently, “I thought someone as evolved as you, would have found your soul-mate long ago.” I actually laughed out loud at her. “Clearly, I have a way to go”, was my response. Her friend (in the same conversation) suggested that I was probably gay but didn’t know it, or want to admit it. “Oh, I’m pretty sure I’m not”, I shared. “You think you’re sure”, she said. “All the pretty girls you meet, and not one wife?” I didn’t realize ‘pretty’ was the determinant for a life partner. Missed that memo. Okay, note to self: if she’s hot, marry her. There’s my big mistake: stupidly, I’ve been looking beyond appearance. Weirdo.
Apparently, my single-ness is some kind of indicator of dysfunction. That’s it; I’m getting married this week. That’ll fix me.

Marriage issues

I would never have thought to write an article on this topic, but some people seem to be fascinated by the whole single verses married discussion and in my little world, the conversation seems regularly to be directed back towards me. Of course there is no wrong or right, only opinions, so that’s what I’m sharing. People often want to hear my thoughts on marriage because I’m single. Don’t know why. “Do you have marriage issues”, I got asked last week. No, I love the idea of marriage and maybe I will be happily married one day, but if I don’t get married, that’s cool too. What I do have a problem with is, marrying someone who I’m not desperately, hopelessly in love with; marriage for the sake of not being single – seen it a million times.

For some people it’s like…

“Yep, he/she ticks all the right boxes, definitely a candidate. Let’s see, money – check, good family – check, career – check, looks – check, marriage it is.”

Advertising

“Er, yeah but I don’t really love him/her.”

“Stop being unrealistic, you’re thirty four. Stop being so fussy, you won’t do any better.”

Ticking enough boxes

Over the years I have had many people say to me, “Hmm, you’d be a good catch… you need to meet my sister/daughter/cousin/girlfriend!” And their reason for saying that I’m a ‘catch’ is not because of my values, personality, integrity or all-round fantastic-ness (a word), it’s because they see me as being moderately successful and financially secure. A safe bet.

I find that sad.

“Yes, he ticks enough boxes; put him on the list Sally.” To me, some people seem to be more in love with the ‘idea’ of marriage than the actual person they’re marrying or are married to. I see this as a catastrophe in waiting. It’s also apparent that some people are so petrified of being single, that finding their ‘soul mate’ gets compromised down to “is he or she breathing? Wouldn’t have been my first (or tenth) choice but hey, I have limited options, so giddy up cowboy(girl), get me that ring.”

I have had literally thousands of conversations over the last three hundred years (you know I’m immortal right?) with people who are miserable in their marriage, yet amazingly, do nothing to fix it, or change the situation. For many people, marriage is something to be endured, tolerated even and of course for others, it’s the best thing that will ever happen to them.

Advertising

Okay, here are some random thoughts on the matter. Feel free to correct me or teach me a lesson – I am just a single Australian bloke…

  1. I am not against marriage in any way. Most of my friends are married and I know it can be an incredible part of the human experience. Given the opportunity with the right person, I would love to share my life with someone but, I’d rather be single forever, than married for the sake of it. And yep, I’ve been close a few times.
  2. I don’t believe that people need to be married to be fulfilled, functional, balanced or happy; those things are not dependent on marital status. You don’t need to be a researcher to discover that marriage doesn’t (automatically) equal happiness, just open your eyes. People seem to struggle with the thought of me being single and happy. They think I’m lying. It bothers them.”You’re not really happy, you only think you are… you’re just trying to convince yourself.”

    “Er, okay. I didn’t realize how miserable I am – thanks”.

  3. Some people are so terrified of being alone that they will compromise themselves to the point of actually losing their identity. “I’ll be whatever you want me to be..” You’ve seen it. Maybe you’ve been it. Misery and frustration is always the result. It’s important (for many reasons) that we learn to be comfortable and secure on our own before we launch into a life partnership.
  4. Too many people enter into marriage wearing those rose colored glasses, only to have them ripped off by about day three. They spend a year planning how to have a great wedding and zero time planning how to have a great marriage.
  5. People who have that sense of urgency to get married are less likely to find marital bliss and less likely to appeal to a potential partner. Note to all wanna-be brides and grooms: Desperation – not attractive.
  6. While I’m open to the idea of marriage, and I would love a little Craig or Craigette one day, I love my life right now and I gotta say, singledom… not as horrible as some would have you believe!!!

Okay, now that I’ve opened that can of worms, I’ll let you play with them. I’m off to finish my meatloaf ice-cream and revel in my dysfunction.

Hey, where’s Eugene gone?

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

More by this author

Do You Make These 10 Common Mistakes Before Weighing Yourself? If your Childhood Sucked – It’s Time to Stop Blaming Your Parents! Fifty Habits of Highly Successful People Exploring Relationships with the Single Weirdo Education Should be More than Academic Basics

Trending in Lifestyle

1What Really Works: How to Relieve Lower Back Pain Effectively 210 Benefits of Sleeping Naked You Probably Didn’t Know 36 Compelling Reasons to Try Couples Yoga (And the Best Poses to Try) 4What Foods Have the Most Brain Vitamins for Enhanced Mental Strength 5Signs Your Lack of Sleep Is Slowly Killing You (And How to Turn Around)

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on June 18, 2018

What Really Works: How to Relieve Lower Back Pain Effectively

What Really Works: How to Relieve Lower Back Pain Effectively

Eight out of ten adults experience lower back pain once in their lifetime. I am one of those people and I’m definitely not looking forward to my participation award. I know how it feels like to step out of bed and barely being able to put on your socks. Having lower back pain sucks. But 9 out of 10 patients that suffer from lower back pain don’t even know the primary cause of it.

Video Summary

Back Pain? Blame Our Evolution

Once upon a time in our fairly recent past, our ancestors felt the urgency to stand up and leave our quadruped neighbors behind. Habitual bipedalism, fancy word for regularly walking on two legs, came with a lot of advantages. With two rear limbs instead of four, we were able to more efficiently use our hands and create tools with them.

Sadly, life on two legs also brought along its disadvantages. Our spine had four supporting pillars previously, but now it only got two. The back is therefore naturally one of the weak links of our human anatomy. Our spine needs constant support from its supporting muscles to minimize the load on the spine. With no muscle support (tested on dead bodies) the back can only bear loads up to 5 pounds without collapsing [reference Panjabi 1989]. With well-developed torso muscles, the spine can take loads up to 2000 pounds. That’s a 400-fold increase.

Most people that come to me with a history of a herniated disc (that’s when the discs between the vertebral bodies are fully collapsed, really severe incident), tell me the ‘story of the pencil’. The injury with the following severe pain usually gets triggered by picking up a small, everyday object. Such as a pencil. Not as you may think by trying to lift 100 pounds – no, but by a simple thing – such as a pencil.

This tells us that damage in your back adds up over time, it’s a so called cumulative trauma disorder. Meaning back pain is a result of your daily habits.

Sitting Is the New Smoking

Whenever I sit for too long, my back hurts. In fact, 54% of Americans who experience lower back pain spend the majority of their workday sitting. But isn’t sitting something that should reduce the stress of your back? No, just the opposite.

The joints between the bones of the spine are not directly linked to the blood supply. These joints instead get nourished through a process called diffusion. Diffusion works because molecules (such as oxygen, important for cells) are constantly moving and try to get as much space for themselves as they can. A key element for diffusion therefore is a pressure difference. In the image below the left room contains more moving molecules than the right, that’s why the molecules from the left are moving to the right. This way nutrition gets transformed into the joints, whereas toxins are transported out of the joints.

Advertising

Sitting puts a lot of pressure on your spinal chord. The diffusion process therefore can’t function as efficiently. Nutrition and toxins can’t be properly transported, the joints get damaged.

    Sit Properly

    If sitting can play such a huge part in the creation of your lower back pain, how do you sit properly then?

    Is it better to sit with a straight back or should you rather lay back in your chair? Can I cross my legs when I’m sitting or should I have a symmetrical position with my feet? These are questions that I hear on a daily basis. The answer might shock you – according to recent science – all of them are right. The best sitting position is an ever-changing one. An ever-changing position minimizes the pressure on certain points of your spine and spreads it on the whole part.

      Credit: StayWow

      Stand Up More

      Even better than a sitting position is a stand up position. Standing dramatically reduces the pressure on your spine. If you’re forced to work on a desk the whole day though, you have two options.

      Advertising

      Take breaks every hour of about 2-3 minutes.

      Set an alarm on your phone that goes off every hour! In that time you stand up and reach to the ceiling, on your toe tips with fully extended arms. You’re inhaling during the whole process. You do this activity for 20 seconds. Afterwards you’re walking through the office for the next 2 minutes. You might grab a healthy snack or some water in that time. The exercise relieves the pressure on your spine, while the walking makes sure that the joints on your spine are properly used.

      Or get a standing desk.

      One of the best companies on the market for Standing Desks, according to my research, is Autonomous. Autonomous offers a rather cheap Standing Desk, with the ability to change the height. Which means you can start the day standing and switch to sitting if you’re tired.

      Exercise for Lower Back Pain

      Sitting is an immobile position. Your joints are made for movement and therefore need movement to function properly. If humans are moving, all moving parts: e.g. the joints, bones and muscles get strengthened. If you’re in a rested position for too long, your tissues start to deteriorate. You have to get the right amount of activity in.

      But not too much activity. There’s a chance that going to the gym may even increase your risk of lower back pain. I know plenty of friends with chiseled bodies that suffer from pain in the spine regularly. Huge muscles do not prevent you from back pain. In your training you should focus on building up the muscles that are stabilizing your back and relieve pressure. Squats with 400 pounds don’t do the trick.

      The more weight you carry around, the more weight your spinal chord has to bear on a regular basis. That’s one of the reasons why huge, muscular guys can suffer from back pain too. One of the most important goals of your exercise regimen should therefore be weight loss.

      Here are some important tips for you to consider when starting an exercise regimen:

      Make sure you implement cardiovascular training in your workout routine.

      This will not only help you lose weight, it will also make sure that your arteries, which flow to the tissue next to your spinal discs, are free of placque and can therefore transport nutrients properly.

      Advertising

      Important: If you have rather strong back pain, maybe even an herniated disc, don’t start running on a threadmill. Running is an high-impact exercise. Which means there are continuous, reocurring high pressure points on your spine. Your endurance training should therefore either be fast-paced walking or a training on the elliptical trainer for the beginning, because both have little to no stressful impact on your backbone.

      Focus on developing your whole core if you want to minimize your pain.

      There are some people that do hundreds of sit ups a day. While sit ups are a good exercise for your abdomen, it also puts pressure on your spine due to the bending movement. A sixpack workout routine is one-sided. Your abs may become overdeveloped in comparison to your back muscles. You’ve created an imbalance. A great way to train your abdominal muscles and back muscles simultaneously, is holding the plank position.

      Stretch only if you have tight muscles.

      I remember stretching every morning after I woke up. I took 10 minutes out of my day to just work on my flexibility and prevent injuries. Little did I know that I was actually promoting an injury, by doing so.

      Contrary to common belief, stretching is only partially beneficial to treating lower back pain. Stretching makes sense if tight muscles (such as the hamstrings) are forcing you to constantly bend your back. Stretching to treat pain doesn’t make sense if you’re already on a good level of flexibility. Hyper-mobility may even enforce back pain.

      If you found out that you had tight muscles that you need to stretch, try to stretch them at least three times a week. Don’t stretch your muscles right after you wake up in the morning. This is because your spinal discs soak themselves up in fluid over the nighttime. Every bending and excessive loads on your spine is much worse in that soaked-up state. Postpone your stretching regime to two-to three hours after you’ve woken up.

      Where to Start

      The key to improving your habits is awareness. Try to get aware of your back while you’re sitting down, laying down or lifting an object next time. This awareness of your body is called proprioception. For example, you have to be aware whether your back is bended or straight in this very second. Trust me, it is harder than you might think. You may need to ask a friend for the first few tries. But the change that this awareness can make in your back pain is absolutely fascinating. This consciousness of your body is one of the most important things in your recovery or prevention.

      Here are a few behavioural tactics that you need to be considering:

      Advertising

      If you’re leaning forward more than 30 degrees with your upper body, support your spine with your arms.

      Ever tried to show a colleague of yours a complex issue and found yourself awkwardly leaning forward on their desk, pointing with your fingers to his paper? If that ever happens again, make sure you’re using the not-pointing arm to support yourself on the desk.

      Keep a straight back.

      Be it while exercising, stretching or standing. If you’re bending your back you’re putting stress on small areas of your spinal chord. A straight back redistributes the force to a bigger area. You’re minimizing the pressure. Remember this whenever you’re at the gym and reracking your weights, focus on having a neutral spine.

      Put symmetrical loads on your spine.

      I used to play the trumpet when I was a child. The instrument is pretty heavy. The trumpet gets transported in a big, metallic suitcase – with no wheels. Being the nature of suitcases, you only carry it with one arm, on one side of your body. This forced me to constantly lean on the other side with my upper body, while transporting the instrument from A to B. Not really the healthiest activity for your spine as you can imagine.

      If you have to carry heavy objects, carry them with both arms. Put the object in the middle of your body and keep it as close to your mass of gravity as you can. If this is not possible, try to carry the same amount on the left side than you do on the right side. This puts the stress vertically on a fully extended spine. The load is much better bearable for your spine.

      Stay Away From the Back Pain League

      Our world is getting more sedentary. We will continue to develop faster transportation, more comfortable houses and easier lives. While our technological progress definitely has its amazing benefits, it sadly has its downsides too. The danger for back pain will continue to rise on our ever-increasing motionless planet. It’s time to raise awareness.

      Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

      Read Next