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Thursday, October 22, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Carolyn Hax: Relationship need not mean sacrifice

Carolyn Hax Washington Post

DEAR CAROLYN: I am a 28-year-old single male. I am in no hurry to get married, but I’m getting to the point where I’m tired of being the odd man out with friends.

On the one hand, I love my life because I can do whatever I please: spontaneous trips, happy hours, outings, going to see my family, etc.

On the other hand, it can be quite lonely. Independence is great, unless you’re missing out on connecting with that special someone.

I dread having to give up any freedom to do what I want, when I want. I am smart enough to realize a good relationship is not built on this selfish principle, but given that I’ve been living like this for so long (and it’s not all that bad), I find it hard to see myself being happy if I have to give up a lot of independence for someone else.

I guess right now I live in an extreme, and a relationship is about striking a balance, so how do I keep my independence while pursuing a relationship? Do I just need to face that growing up means making sacrifices? – E.

You’re right, good relationships aren’t built on the principle of having what you want, when you want it.

But they also aren’t built on the perceived opposite, of forcing yourself “to give up a lot” for someone else.

Life with a partner is different, clearly, from life alone. But choosing your partner well means you want this different life more than you want the old one. It’s trading old ways for new, not sacrificing them.

Instead of fighting your reluctance to change, use it. Let it alert you to the difference between trading up for a life partnership, or trading down. Any sense that you’re trading down to be with someone means you haven’t found the right someone.

E-mail Carolyn at, or chat with her online at 9 a.m. Pacific time each Friday at www.
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