Most of last night's analysis was about internal problems, but Monsieur did make a point of general interest late in the session after I launched into a minor tirade about how annoyed I am people complain about being single when it's so easy - no worries about hurting feelings, no worries about over-reacting to minor annoyances, no questionable sense of dependency, et cetera. His answer could have gone straight on a Hallmark card: being in relationships helps secular Westerners improve their comprehension of the human condition. Okay, maybe it would need a little editting but nonetheless I found the idea cloyingly icky.
But then he pointed out that the annoyances to which our lovers subject us, which we can't walk away from because of our emotional attachment, force us to confront ourselves by witnessing our reactions, and force us to ask questions about our lovers because we care enough to want to understand. The difficulties of romantic or reproductive relationships translate into better comprehension of the self and the human condition. That means single people get to skip lots of annoyance but by so doing skip parts of the learning process, since the second they're annoyed they can withdraw from the situation instead of asking questions about how it came to be.
Other relationships that may have picked up the learning-through-annoyance slack, like with the church, extended family, or community groups, have eroded in modern secular society to the degree that people don't learn from them the way they used to, since it's so much easier (thank god!) to walk away from them now. And so, people who want to learn about themselves and their race want to be in relationships.
It makes sense, I guess. When I think back on being single, it seemed like a pleasant but fairly boring tropical holiday with too much lying down on the beach and not enough trekking through a savage jungle full of hallucinogenic plants, mysterious ziggurats, and silly monkeys. That's not bad, but it's not good either. So I'll try to stop complaining about people who complain about being single. No promises, though.