I’ve known a lot of people who seem very unhappy because they keep forgetting one of the most important relationship facts ever.

It’s an idea that has totally saved my bacon:

There’s plenty of fish in the sea.

There have been times when I was struggling with a situation, struggling with a relationship, worrying that if this person left me, then I would be all alone and unlovable and no one would ever have anything to do with me and I would die alone and sticky in a low-rent motel room.

No, not really.

Because I remembered that there’s plenty of fish in the sea.

This is powerful.

What this means — from a relationship perspective — is that one’s options are much, much wider than one ever hoped for! There are close to seven billion people on this planet, and a lot of them are online, or out wandering around looking for partners, looking for lovers, looking for friends. Some significant percentage of those people are near enough to date, and of that, there are also a significant enough number of them who would want to date me, would be willing to say so, and are willing to be the kind of partner I want.

So, if I ever thought “Well, this sucks so much all I can do is hurt about it,” then I remind myself “There are plenty of people out there who would not only happily date you, but treat you well, too!”

Here’s an example that I like to use, particularly for people who live in metropolitan areas who complain about not finding anyone they can date. If Armin Meiwes can place ads on the Internet looking for people to kill and eat and he had to sort through the list of applicants, then there’s someone within reach who is willing to be a decent partner. It’s just nonsensical to think that the list of people who could be decent partners could possibly be smaller than the list of people who are willing to respond to an ad on the Internet looking for people who were willing to be murdered and eaten (and not necessarily in that order!)

It’s also important for me to remember this when I catch myself being a jerk to my partners. I recognize that they aren’t with me because my body parts spray little showers of gold dust — they also have plenty of fish in the sea, plenty of people who would happily treat them well. That means that I don’t have them trapped — it means I have to step up my game to remain a good partner! No slacking off!

I figure if I’m a jerk, then one of these days, I’m going to come home to a house that’s empty of everything save a note reading “Fuck this shit, buster, we’re outta here!” And truthfully, I would know I deserved it.

On the surface, I suppose I could worry, because without that “lock-it-down” mentality, I could be dumped at any moment. It’s true! Relationships are absolutely consensus-based!

But my mettle is stronger than that. Plus, I’m smarter than the average bear. I look at it this way: If my partners know they can leave any time, and they still stick around, then I must be doing something right. That’s job satisfaction right there!

It’s a tremendously more empowering attitude than “I better lock that shit down so it can’t get away and so no one else can steal it!” I’ve seen people completely freak out when jealousy reared its ugly head. Yikes!

So, instead, it’s just going to be: There’s plenty of fish in the sea.

I think it’s something we all need to remember.