After a November 2019 Vogue interview, Emma Watson has become globally renowned for popularizing the term “self-partnered.” Currently, Watson and many others, use it as a replacement for saying that one is “single.” On a similar note, Gwyneth Paltrow, who was formerly married to Chris Martin, prefers to call their divorce as an act of “conscious uncoupling.” These simple yet strong statements are linked to the desire to detach from the aforementioned relationship status’ many negative associations. Instead, they focus on the positive aspect of it all: the opportunity to grow, discover oneself, and take a few steps closer to self-actualization.
What Does Self-Partnering Accomplish?
Self-partnering empowers you to address and slowly heal from trauma, rather than expecting another to fix you. In essence, it prevents individuals from entering a codependent relationship, wherein they or their significant others enable the other’s addiction, irresponsibility, and other negative habits. This inevitably leads you to becoming more self-aware and reinforces and affirms the need for self-care and self-growth. As a plus, it also actively shuts down arguments that say otherwise, an act which further strengthens your sense of self-worth.
Moreover, it opens the narrative of putting an end to singlism and discussing the highlights of being single. For instance, Bestselling Author and Relationship Expert Susan Winter explains that “the price of love” is the time you spend arguing about little details. In addition, an individual might also pay for the time worrying for the well being of their partner. Therefore, on a more positive note, she shares that “being single is an act of purging the clutter and making room for new thoughts (and dreams) to breathe and grow.”
Additionally, self-partnership shines light on the expectations normalized by society all around. With romantic comedies and movies at the forefront of our media consumption, we’ve been taught and conditioned to think that being in a relationship is the end goal. This leads Social Psychologist Bella DePaulo to confirm that therefore, “When a celebrity says that they are happily single, that normalizes single life even more than when some non-celebrity says the same thing.”
Is It For You?
Nevertheless, what may be the best outcome out of all of this is that, despite its name, self-partnership is for everyone. This is because it doesn’t negate the probability that the currently single or self-partnered individuals may eventually enter romantic relationships in the future. However, when you do enter a relationship, it doesn’t mean that you’re breaking your self-partnership. You’re simply acknowledging that you’re a whole person and that a relationship is a partnership between two whole individuals—a recipe for a strong relationship overall. This is also the reason self-partnership can work for those who are already in a relationship and are simply on the process of working towards improving it.
Moreover, labeling yourself as a self-partnered individual alters your direct community and overall social network’s perspective of you. Words are powerful. And if all it takes is exchanging a word for a simple phrase to improve your self-presentation, you may want to consider associating it with yourself. As The Script clearly put it in one of their iconic songs, “how can you love if you don’t love yourself?”