Row Your Own Canoe: Navigating Dating From a Place of Self Sufficiency

Updated: Feb 18

Row Your Own Canoe

Sometimes we feel like we can’t live with them but we can’t live without them. But the truth is, sometimes we have to. Our lives for a variety of reasons, do not always include a partner. But that's ok.. why? Because you are more than enough on your own!

It's like that old saying, “Love many, trust a few, just make sure to row your own canoe.” Meaning we are whole as is, and we have to begin recognizing that. We are perfectly capable of changing lightbulbs, paying bills, putting together Ikea furniture. Yes, that’s right, I said it, we can put together Ikea furniture, sans a partner.

So...Can You Row Your Own Canoe?

There's no denying partners are pretty awesome. Well, good partners that is. And we should absolutely want them around, but we should not NEED them around. There is a difference and it could be what is causing our dating lives, and society, to be such an imbalanced mess.

When you seek from a place of need or lack, you are looking to fill a void, which limits your options greatly. You may become willing to overlook some small(or big) issues in someone's personality, lifestyle, or behavior, in exchange for something you perceive to need. So maybe he gets drunk and yells at you occasionally, but he knows how to change your oil and rotate your tires, so you keep him around. See the problem here?

It also creates a power imbalance. It allows them to call the shots, break the rules and participate in some seriously bad behavior, all because they know at the end of the aren't going anywhere.

So we have to learn to stand on our own two feet. Yes, it’s nice having someone around, in more ways than one, but let’s keep that list short. If the list of reasons you want a partner around, looks more like a handyman’s to do list, than a love letter, you’ve got a problem.

We do not need to enter into a relationship, knowing that we have the lower hand. That means, feeling like we have to give people a free pass, because we “need them”, especially when we aren’t afforded that courtesy back.

But when we begin to approach relationships from a place of wanting instead of needing, then we can recognize genuine compatibility aspects in partners. We want them around for companionship, intimacy, fun, adventure, all the things that make a good relationship.

Is Your Relationship Sinking Or Swimming?

So be honest. Are you happily floating along in your relationship, or are you clinging to it like it's a lifeboat in the middle of the ocean and it's your last hope of survival. Yikes. If so...time to loosen your grip.

Our relationships, as our society, have to become more balanced. When we are able to stand on our own two feet, without the assistance of another, we have a lot more options, in both life and the dating realm. Now, to be clear, we as humans are social beings, we like to have companionship and we are biologically programmed to have attachment objects, so wanting a partner around, is not a bad inclination, wanting a partner around to pay your bills, do your chores and fix your car, now we are getting into problem territory. But, luckily, there’s a simple answer.

Row your own canoe. Build a solid foundation in your own life before bringing someone else into it. It doesn't have to be perfect, nor will it ever be, but it should at least be somewhat balanced. Things like having a good group of friends, being centered on your goals, having your finances in line, having an actual handyman on speed dial. I’m not saying your life has to be perfect by any means, having your finances in line can mean you are actively paying off your debt, having your goals centered can mean you are working on that side hustle on weekends, whatever it looks like for you. But have your own life, because looking for someone to give it to you is only going to poke holes in the canoe of your relationship.

Life Comes At You Fast

If you are already married or in a relationship, you may be thinking, this article isn't for you. But keep in mind, is life is very unpredictable. People breakup, get divorced, die, run off with stewardesses, and a myriad of other mishaps. Meaning you can never depend on anything or anyone to fully support you, other than you. You are the only constant in your life. By building your own solid foundation, you can handle these mishaps. Your world won’t fall apart just because you and your boyfriend breakup. It will hurt for a while, you will fall back on your solid foundation of support but then you will begin to build your life back up again. Trust me, it's a formula for success.

So remember, “Love many, trust a few, just make sure to row your own canoe.” Row your canoe, build your foundation, take whatever analogy you want, just make sure your life is put together and is great as is, no assembly or handyman required.

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