There seems to be a lot of pressure in society and within families to be in a relationship. If you are single it is often regarded as a temporary unpleasant situation which needs to be fixed. Families and friends can warn of being left on the shelf, your social life may feel inhibited as you experience yourself as the “fifth wheel” at gatherings and events. It seems that almost every popular song is directed to falling or being in love. There is a (false) assumption that once in a relationship you will not be lonely.
Loneliness – experienced when young exiled parts are trying to get your attention – is not resolved by looking outside of ourselves. Despite cultural myths about soul mates and perfect love, young exiled parts require that you pay attention to them. They are parts that feel the need to attach to and feel valued by someone, and often other parts will regard them as too needy or bothersome, so their need goes unmet internally. They then seek partners who will act as the caretaker or protector (a role which no person can fill) and inevitably when a partner is found to be lacking in these qualities resentful parts become engaged.
Other exiles – those that have been mistreated – have an expectation that they will receive mistreatment again; and may seek out and remain with abusive partners. Or they may have protectors that attack a partner who attempts to get close to them. Or they may shut down – protectors have a variety of methods at their disposal.
When we are able to pay attention to these lonely exiled young parts, and help relieve them of their burdens then we no longer need to expect our partners to fill that role. And we can be content with ourselves – whether partnered or single – without experiencing ourselves as lacking something.